Memories of Faith: Weekly Reflection

By Patheos staff

I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. ~  2 Timothy 1: 5-7

Listen to this traditional setting of "Faith of Our Fathers" by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, thanks to YouTube!

"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit . . . AMEN!" 

As Mass began, I watched as a father gently taught his son to make the sign of the cross. The little boy watched with awe as his daddy took his little hand in his own and traced the sign of our glory over his own flesh and blood. It was a very sweet moment that brought a tear to my eye.

I was reminded of the faith of my own father, dead now for some thirty-five years, and how important it was for him to hand over that faith to his children, not only in word but also in deed.  I thought of my great aunt who would sit in the window for hours, praying the rosary or some novena or devotion. My great aunt could barely remember her name most days, but she could always juggle multiple novenas, never confusing which day she was in on which novena, and often in different languages! I remember with great love my music teachers who taught me to love music, and to find God in the rhythms of life and love and learning. I remember religion teachers and parish priests and youth ministers and family members and even strangers who encouraged me and sustained me and nurtured me in my own life of faith.

How did you come to faith? Where did you first learn about God?

Can you call to mind today those women and men who shared their love of God with you? Can you remember who first taught you to pray? Who first gave you an example of charity or forgiveness? How did you first hear about Jesus? From whom did you learn your favorite Bible stories? 

Where were your religious memories formed? Can you remember the church where you first encountered God's love or mercy? Can you smell the incense or the candle wax? Can you hear the music? Do you remember the stained glass windows?

Faith isn't just an intellectual pursuit. Faith is a lived experience of the divine reality of God in our world. Faith is "incarnate": enfleshed, in the person of Jesus Christ, and in His followers. God gifts us with faith, but then we "unwrap" the gift of faith through our experiences: through the love of another, through the mercy of our parents, through the beauty of a church building or a song. 

Remember today, all the ways that God has revealed God's self to you through other people and places and give thanks.

Now pray . . .