This experience of faith is important. We say we must seek God, go to him and ask forgiveness, but when we go, he is waiting for us, he is there first! In Spanish we have a word that explains this well: primerear — the Lord always gets there before us, he gets there first, he is waiting for us!
To find someone waiting for you is truly a great grace. You go to him as a sinner, but he is waiting to forgive you. This is the experience that the Prophets of Israel describe, comparing the Lord to the almond blossom, the first flower of spring (cf. Jer 1:11-12). Before any other flowers appear, he is there, waiting. The Lord is waiting for us. Moreover, when we seek him, we discover that he is waiting to welcome us, to offer us his love. And this fills your heart with such wonder that you can hardly believe it, and this is how your faith grows — through encounter with a Person, through encounter with the Lord…
You were also talking about the fragility of faith, about how to overcome it. The worst enemy of a fragile faith — curious, isn’t it? — is fear. Do not be afraid! We are frail and we know it, but he is stronger! If you walk with him there is no problem! A child is very frail — I have seen many children today — but if they’re with their father, with their mother, they are safe. With the Lord we are safe. Faith grows with the Lord, from the very hand of the Lord; this helps us grow and makes us strong. However if we think we can manage on our own.... Just think what happened to Peter: “Lord I will never fall away!” and then the cock crowed, and Peter had denied the Lord three times!
Think about it: when we are too self-confident, we are more fragile — much more fragile. Always with the Lord, with the Lord! And when we say “with the Lord”, we mean with the Eucharist, with the Bible, with prayer... but also with the family, with our mother, also with her, because she is the one who brings us to the Lord; she is the mother, she is the one who knows everything. So pray to Our Lady too and ask her, as a mother, to “make me strong”.
This is what I think about fragility, at least it has been my experience. One thing that makes me strong every day is praying the Rosary to Our Lady. I feel such great strength because I go to her and I feel strong.
Pope Francis, Pentecost Vigil with Ecclesial Movements, May 18, 2013
Reflection – There is such deep spiritual wisdom expressed here so simply I hardly feel the need for extensive commentary. It is worth highlighting, perhaps, just how radically at odds this is with what has been the prevailing ethos of North American society in the past century or so.
Modernity is based, at its root, on the presupposition that either there is no God (atheism), or that God is essentially passive in our regard (deism), or that in some fashion or other we human beings are ‘god’ and hence the real action of the Spirit lies with us alone (Hegelian idealism). Faith smiles at all these notions, and continually turns its face, gently but with tireless consistency, to the God who is waiting for us.
Modernity, because it is essentially rooted in the denial of this expectant faith, places great stress on technical mastery, intellectual dominance, and the socio-Darwinian survival of the fittest. Rather than placing our intellectual and physical abilities at the service of love and of goodness, we use them to seize a higher place in the hierarchy of society, or a larger share of the world’s goods.
The path of faith informs us that this world is passing away, and that the great and mighty of this age are not those of the age to come which does not pass away. And so faith is content to be little, to be childlike, to place all our hope and all our gifts and goods and talents at the feet of God, knowing that He will make best use of them and guide us in their use.
It really is radical, the divergence between the path of faith and the path of the world. And regardless of our station in life and the specific work and world God has put us into, we all have to choose, I guess. Is God real? Is He waiting upon us? Do we put all our trust in Him, or in ourselves or some other created finite reality? This is the basic choice all of us have to make each day of our lives.