Faith is an immensely powerful emotion, a belief in something you trust not something you see. Faith is a personal journey filled with unwavering patience, humility, and acceptance. For Christians, faith is a spiritual journey through God, nurtured by trusting parents, praying to saints, singing hymns, listening to scripture and believing in miracles.
Jesus with His Disciples
In Matthew 15:22-28 of The Living Bible, is the story from the ancient regions of Tyre and Sidon of a woman from Canaan. A woman sees Jesus walking through the village with his disciples and goes to him. She asks Jesus for his mercy and for Jesus to rid her daughter of a demon. Jesus ignores the woman at first, but the Canaan woman persists and begs, “Sir, help me!”
Jesus then answers her by explaining that he is only in her town to help Jews, not dogs. To which the woman replies, “Even the puppies beneath the table are permitted to eat the crumbs that fall!”
Jesus answers, “Woman, your faith is large and your request is granted.” And so the woman’s daughter is healed.
Bible renditions of faith like these are rich in history and tradition
For many Christians, the story of faith begins with the story of the Virgin Mary and the visitation of the angel Gabriel, but for others, it simply begins with a Christmas wish.
It was a warm afternoon on the 5th day of December 1967 in the parish neighborhood of Saint Joseph’s Church, Newark, New Jersey. Maria and her older sister Mona were walking home after shopping for a very special dress. On their way, they saw Kate, a high school friend talking with a neighbor across the street. The girls waved to each other. Kate was a kind and welcoming girl, but not at all popular with the boys.
As the two sisters got halfway down the block, Maria glanced over her shoulder and whispered to Mona, “The Christmas dance is only two weeks away! Does Kate have a date?”
Mona’s eyes widened as she clung to her garment bag and muffled her answer, “No, but, I heard she bought a dress and is going to ask Jim to take her.
Maria smiled from ear to ear and said, “She’s had a crush on him for years!”
Two weeks later, one by one, young couples entered the high school gym. There were a glistening Christmas tree and a school photographer waiting to take each senior couple’s picture. When it was Kate’s turn, she slowly slid off her holiday coat, stood very still in her lovely dress and pin, and then turned her head sideways, away from the camera and gleamed at her escort, Jim.
The Power of faith
The power of faith likewise continues even when we are ridden with fear or skepticism, as demonstrated in the story of Martin Luther King and Mother Pollard. After a tension-packed week, when King was feeling fearful and depressed, he did his best to hide his feelings at a mass meeting. Mother Pollard, a supporter, and friend perceived something was wrong. She went over to Reverend King after he’d finish his speech and said these words to him. “I done told you we are with you all the way. But even if we ain’t with you, God’s gonna take care of you.”
King later said that those words came back to him, again and again, to give him “light and peace” when his soul felt troubled.
When Virginia O’Hanlon’s holiday faith was shaken because some children claimed there was no Santa Claus she got empathy from a stranger. On September 21, 1897, she wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Sun newspaper, Francis Pharcellus Church asking whether or not Santa really existed. Church wrote back and printed his reply in the newspaper along with these faithful words of distinction. “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.”
Catholic women would be surprised to know that the source of the story of Saint Anne comes not from Biblical history, but through legend and traditions, actually from hidden literature called, The Protoevangelium of James. In the complete story, St. Anne is in a childless marriage of over twenty years, but both Joaquim and Anne, husband and wife have great faith and ask God for a child. First one angel appears to Joaquim and then Ann’s prayer is answered by an angel. “Ann, the Lord has heard your prayer. You shall conceive a child whom the whole world will praise. Go to the Golden Gate in Jerusalem and meet your husband there.” So Ann went to the city gate and the couple met and embraced.
Regardless of the origins of the stories, faith to move mountains lives on, not as a result of reason, but as a result of associations, traditions, and personal experience.