4853 Princess Anne Rd Virginia Beach, VA 23462-4446

Responding to God's Invitation to Strengthen Your Faith

I love you and I am inviting you to strengthen your faith, love God

Scripture to ponder: 

And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. (Luke 17: 5-6)

…Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:20)

But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7: 50)

Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. (Ephesians 3: 14-17a)

Prayer

Dear God, even the disciples who walked with Jesus needed to strengthen their faith.  Jesus told them that if their faith were the size of a mustard seed, they could uproot trees and crumble 
mountains.  Lord, I want more faith like the disciples.  Increase my faith and make me a mover of mountains.  Grow my belief in You, so that

I am strong and ready to battle against the doubts and temptations that come my way.  Strengthen within my heart the faith you have given me, so that I can do Your will.

We proclaim that in this place, in this parish, Jesus is alive, welcoming the lost and leading us all to lives of merciful compassion.  We ask this through Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit as one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

Questions for Reflection:

What spiritual exercises have I been doing to strengthen my faith?

What gets in my way of strengthening your faith?

What is one thing I can do to strengthen my faith?

Thoughts for Reflection: 

Faith is the virtue by which we say “we believe”.  Faith is a gift from God. If we have faith- it’s because God has given it to us. But we, like the disciples, can ask God to “increase our faith”.  Faith is like a spiritual muscle. The more we engage in spiritual exercises the stronger our faith becomes. For the past 6 months God has invited us to:

  • Be MINDFUL of Him
  • GROW in our PRAYER life
  • ADVOCATE for JUSTICE and PEACE
  • COMMIT more fully to Him
  • LISTEN to His DREAMS and HOPES for us
  • SHARE His GOOD NEWS with others
  • GROW in our understanding of the HOLY SPIRIT

These are spiritual exercises of our faith. As we engage in them and reflect on where we encountered God, our faith will be strengthened.  Some additional spiritual exercises follow…

READING SCRIPTURE strengthens our faith. Through the Word, we encounter a cloud of faith witnesses. We can identify with the many characters in the Gospels who encountered Jesus. Often it is their faith that brought about a desired result. As we engage in these stories of scripture our faith is strengthened.

RECEIVING THE SACRAMENTS, especially EUCHARIST and RECONCILIATION, we encounter God’s presence in a most profound way.  Through RECONCILIATION we encounter God’s mercy and unconditional love.  Our faith is strengthened knowing we are loved by God and nothing we can do will make Him love us any less.

The EUCHARIST, the source and summit of our faith, is Jesus- Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity- present to us in the very simple elements of bread and wine. This is not like any other food for it is the Lord, Himself, present to us in such an intimate way.  This is the spiritual food that we need to grow in love and become more and more Christ-like. Our faith is strengthened through this nourishment!

The many TRIALS we face in a lifetime will ultimately test, exercise and strengthen our faith.  Sometimes these tragedies can cause us to question: “Where is God in all this we wonder?” Some may choose to turn away from God and “lose faith”. Yet we have a God who knows what it means to suffer. In our pain, we ask for faith and strength to see us through. We ask for the grace to trust that God’s mighty love will conquer. We may feel like we are hanging on by a thread. But we have faith that all will be well in the end.  “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” (Mark 9: 24).

Finally, being in COMMUNITY helps strengthen our faith. We need the witness of others to show us that God is present. We need a communities support when times are hard and we need to be that support to others when they are struggling. We all need a bigger COMMUNITY to worship with and a smaller COMMUNITY to share our triumphs and struggles with.  Are you part of a small faith group? Do you have a spiritual friend where you can share your spiritual ups and downs?

IDEAS: EXERCISE YOUR FAITH MUSCLES!

  • Go to Reconciliation (Saturday’s at 4:30pm)
  • Seek reconciliation from someone you are estranged from
  • Read Hebrews 11. What have you been able to do “by faith”?
  • Do you feel a nudging to step out of your comfort zone and help someone? Take that leap of faith!
  • If you are in a time of trial- pray and ask God for something to ease your pain
  • Watch “Indiana Jones step of faith” on You-Tube. When have you felt that way?
  • Go to lunch with a trusted friend and share your stories of faith