"Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe." -- Saint Augustine
My life verse is Hebrews 11:1. The Douay-Rheims translation of this reads, "Now faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not." It is rather fitting that this post should contain both citations, for the former comes from the great saint of the Church on whose feast day God brought forth my soul into this world and the latter is the wisdom that has, from henceforth, conducted its being.
From the time I was a little girl, I wondered at a great many things. When I was three years of age, I remember being deeply troubled by how we could, really and truly, know there is a God. I would lie awake at night in my bed and wonder. Asking my mother this question which tugged at my soul was to no avail-- she basically said that if I did not quiet down and go to sleep, I would soon meet Him. And so, I shut my mouth and continued to ponder deep mysteries in the silence of my heart.
Being a curious child leant to being an inquisitive teenager. This mostly succeeded in getting me into trouble. My father not-so-gently rebuked me once, saying that being "too smart" would only cause me ruin. I suppose, in a way, he was right. My life forever changed the day on which it occurred to me to ask, as a student in a non-denominational Christian secondary school, that if we students and teachers alike all professed Christ and believed essentially the same things, why did the names above our church doors vary? Why were there Baptists and Pentecostals, Lutherans and Methodists? Where had we all come from? And, who had we been originally?
I began to study the early Church Fathers. The writings of Saints Justin Martyr, Clement, Polycarp, Irenaeus, and others became my spiritual bread. The Didache instructed me. I began to read Sacred Scripture anew, without the coloured spectacles of my denomination's particular tint. Therein, I found Christ. Always, I had heard that one must have a personal relationship with Him, but this profound reality for which I had longed had alluded me since girlhood. Again, the words of Saint Augustine come to mind. "I found thee not, O Lord, without, because I erred in seeking thee without what wert within." Although the journey to become Catholic stretched for three long and turbulent years, the Easter Vigil at which I was baptised, confirmed, and able to receive Our Lord truly present in the Holy Eucharist was the most beautiful night of my life.
Ironically, my father's warning had come true, but not in the particular way in which he had intended it. My former self, and indeed my former life, truly did lie in ruins-- and a new creature in Christ had emerged!
Augustine reminds us, "Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation."
Tomorrow is my twenty-eighth birthday. This thought both thrills me and terrifies me at the same time. In my fear, I admit to feeling quite old. Why is it that we spend our childhood seeking to grow older, only to spend the rest of our adulthood trying to stay back time? Along with looks and a few other petty things, I desperately wish that I could be the person I am today, just with a few calendar years knocked backward. As both a woman of God and a traditional wife striving to grow in grace, I wish that I had known then what I know now. The important thing, however, is that I am who I am now. That I live as I do now. And that in each new "tomorrow" I will, God-willing, become a better, more humble and obedient soul.
As I begin this new year of my life, I choose to trust. Wholly. Entirely. Without reserve. May my life be utterly abandoned to the will of God, and may be there be no other will but His. May my life continue to be shaped and transformed as so it pleases Him to do. In all things, may my soul echo the words of Mary: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word."