Sunday, August 28, 2016

Met Georges Khodr on Faith

Arabic original here.


The coming of the man who was born ill to the Lord was the starting-point of Christ's teaching about faith. The young man was mad, sometimes throwing himself into fire and sometimes into water. The disciples could not expel the evil spirit that was in him. Then Jesus said to them, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move."

My intent here is not to give you a teaching about faith.  We cannot know faith by talking about it, by thinking about it, or by intellectual pondering. Sometimes a person thinks that he is faithful when he is the furthest person from faith. Some say, "I believe but I don't pray. I believe, but I don't fast. I don't abstain from anything. I don't refrain from committing sin. I do what I want. I defile myself, but I'm a believer." This is far from faith. 

I think that one cannot really know faith, even though there are succinct words about it in holy scripture. The Apostle Paul said, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). That is, we trust in things that are invisible as though they were visible and in things to come as though they were present. But how do we trust and how do we come to faith?

Then when His disciples asked Him why they were unable to expel the demon themselves, the Lord said of the evil spirit that possessed the youth, "This kind does not go out except with prayer and fasting." And really, not only that specific kind. The truth is that every demon, every evil in man is not eradicated except through prayer and fasting. It is as though Christ wants us to know that faith is the result of this.

Faith is that you are close to God, that you find solace in His face, and that you are at ease with His words. If you are able to become chaste in this world from the things that are in it, then you are faithful, because if you are faithful then your words are from scripture and what you say is what God says. If you say what displeases God, no matter how much what He says tears at you, then you are not faithful.

There are two kinds of people: the faithful who know themselves to be weak in faith and the unfaithful who think they are faithful. This is why the Lord said that if you pray and stand before God at all times, then you pray in humility and brokenness of heart and at that point faith sprouts up. From your prayer faith comes to you, from a heart that is being purified God receives it. If you pray today, then your faith is better than it was yesterday and if you pray tomorrow with brokenness of heart and poverty before God, then your faith tomorrow will be better than it was yesterday. The more you proceed along the ladder of prayer, the closer you are to God.

What is faith? How do you move mountains? The Lord did not give an answer to this but He said to go pray and fast so that you will become faithful. Man was not created faithful, but he becomes faithful through action, with the power to bring him closer to the Lord, not through his work, but in his prayer.

No comments: