Praying Mentis

A Laymen's Journey into the Catholic faith.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Faith and the Impossible

We all have had that situation where we come face to face with the impossible. A great deal of us give up in these situations. That makes sense. I mean if you truly believe it is impossible to accomplish something, then you should give up. It is logical. As Yoda said, we only have two choices, "do or do not, there is no try." Either something is impossible or it isn't. So I am going to try and make another analogy, so bear with me. A general rule of thumb is, if it happened to Luke Skywalker during his quest, then it will happen to us in our journey. So here is a way awesome excerpt from Star Wars. 

Luke: You want the impossible.
Yoda: Raises ship from swamp
Luke: I can’t believe it!
Yoda: That is why you fail.

So why aren’t we all lifting, X-Wings left and right? Perhaps we think like Luke, and believe that, "Yoda" is asking us to do "the impossible." Maybe we believe overcoming our sins is impossible... and so we give up. When I went to confession on Saturday my priest told gave me some great advice "let go of the past" and focus on the first reading. For this lent season he suggested that I focus on God and what he desired for my life. I thought this was a strange thing to emphasize but then I turned to the first reading.

“You burdened me with your sins, and wearied me with your crimes. It is I, I, who wipe 

out, for my own sake, your offenses; your sins I remember no more.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

That's when it hit me, salvation is a progressive act! At times I think that we think that God won't help us if we fall, I know I fall into that kind of thinking alot. But that is not the case. It is actually alot like the gameplay in World of Warcraft. It is alot of work and it takes alot of time, but eventually, you will get to level 80.  And boy when you do, you will look back and laugh at the days when you were level 20. But even then you need to get new armor and face new challenges. 

God knows that we are trying to make it to level 80 and He just wishes that we would ask Him to power level us! If all of this analogy went over your head because you are not a complete nerd and used to dedicate your life to World of Warcraft... then let me just say that, even in our sin, God still reaches out to us... He never stops loving us even and offers His help. He only wants to help us in the most amazing ways. I think this is why my priest told me, to let go of the past. So many times Jesus calls us and says,

"I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home." (Mark 2:11)

Jesus makes His intentions for humanity known throughout all of scriptures. He reassures us that He loves us, and when He healed the paralytics sin and paralysis, He demonstrated that He can and will forgive us of our sins. However, whenever Jesus calls us to repentance He always says to us, rise go out into the world, or rise go home, or in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah leave and do not turn back or you will be turned to a pillar of salt. I don't know about you guys, but I really appreciate my human form-- and would really, really, prefer to not turn into a pillar of salt... even if it was ony in a symbolic way (whatever that entails.)

In the battle against Sin, it is in the moment we look back, that we fall again. We have to confess our sins and then fix our eyes on God. We have to have faith that God is doing, "something new!" in our lives! This makes the best kind of repentance! Isaiah reminds us that our salvation is in the future, not our past!

“Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new!”(Isaiah 43:25)

This is the Christian definition of hope and faith. If every time we fell, we looked up towards God and truly had faith and hope in His magnificent working in our lives, our conversion would be so much easier! I might make another post on this subject alone, but by getting rid of our sin God brings our soul to a point where, we can better understand the revelation of His love that He made clear to us with his redemptive acts. 

The supernatural character of the series of objective acts with which it formally identifies revelation, it recognizes an immediate action of God’s Spirit on the mind of man, preparing, fitting, and enabling him to apprehend and interpret aright the revelation made objectively in the redemptive acts. Warfield, B. B. (2008).

If we don't use that time to ponder His redemptive acts, then we will miss out on one of the greatest opportunities to grow closer to God. In order that you realize how much you would miss out on, lets just say that the only equivalent to not focusing on God after a repentance would be, if you created a time machine and went back in time to when Yahoo, Apple, or Google were first established... then after you arrived, you DID NOT purchase their stocks. Yes, it's that ridiculous. 

(SIde Note:Did I already say that the last mass was the best mass ever? I mean when I got out I felt like I just watched the entire Star Wars series for the frist time! I mean do you know just about every quote I used in this post has been from mass?!?!-- Sorry back to my point)

What determines how long our conversion lasts is, do we turn our gaze towards our sins and say to God as Luke said to Yoda, “you want the impossible!” Or do we turn towards God and look towards His redemptive acts on the cross and have faith in God during the impossible battles we face?

I think its time now for, yes, yes it is. That's right, it's time for yet ANOTHER reference to last Sunday's Mass. 

Collect: Grant, we pray, almighty God, that, always pondering spiritual things, we may carry out in both word and deed that which is pleasing to you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

It is by pondering spiritual things, God, Jesus, His unconditional love for us, that we trust in God and thus become Dragon Warriors able to accomplish the impossible. It is then that we overcome our sins! As I write this, I am undergoing one of the largest conversions of my life. A shift in the very way I look at life. I wrote about it briefly in my last blog, but let me just say that God's forgiveness, mercy, and love is almost too much. Before I was worried how I would balance doing what God wanted for my life while still embracing my role as a Christian man in society--Then I heard this reading about 3 or 4 weeks ago:

"An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. " (1 Corinthians 7:34)

I began to throw a fit. I wanted an active role in Catholic society where I could contribute someway and forward the grace of God that has bestowed upon me in my own life. But when I read this, I started thinking, "Ok, thanks for stating the obvious and amplifying the feeling that that had been eating away at my soul..." and went into my "kid temper tantrum mode." (This is a mode that I go into when I either I can't understand scriptures or I can't understand God's will for my life) 
Slowly, and very slowly at that, I realized that the passage also had the solution the this paradox. St. Paul did not want us to worry, he instead states explicitly,

"17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them...Keeping God’s commands is what counts.20 Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. ( 1 Corinthians 7:34)

That passage helped me change my life. I repeated the words over and over, live as a believer. Live as a believer. Live as a believer. I kinda wanna say it again... live as a believer! Ok. I am done, for now. A believer has faith and trusts in God. A believer keeps God's Commandments and if he falls, he seeks forgiveness and tries again. It is then necessary as believers after we fall, that we make the big leaps of faith like Tobit, Tobia, Abraham, and become followers of Christ like the apostles who left everything behind for Jesus. If we take leaps of faith without a worry in our heart, then we can trust in God with the little things too. Ironically, this is also how we conquer sin. =0 

Perhaps we still have lingering doubts. Perhaps we think that God will not forgive us and will abandon us for our past sins... But this is not the message of last sunday's readings!

Once I said, "O LORD, have pity on me; heal me, though I have sinned against you."But because of my integrity you sustain me and let me stand before you forever. Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from all eternity. Amen. Amen. (Re sponsorial from Psalm 41) 

Jesus takes the time to forget our sins for our integrity---

"You burdened me with your sins, and wearied me with your crimes. It is I, I, who wipe out, for my own sake, your offenses; your sins I remember no more. (Isaiah 43:24-25) 

So, let's take the opportunity of lent to ponder spiritual things. Let's ponder the profound forgiveness Jesus offers us, and ask ourselves, "what does God desire for my life?" Yes repent of your sins, but, don't just lament about the past, embrace what God calls you to now in the present! Have faith that God is working in your life! The new feeling of letting go of your past sins and placing trust and faith in God will completely change your life in unimaginable ways. Who knows you may even come to find that the impossible is entirely all too possible.

For Citation Purposes:   Warfield, B. B. (2008). The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, Volume 1: Revelation and Inspiration (6). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.


  1. I really like your stuff, David. I'd prefer to hear it from you in person, of course, but this is definitely the next best thing. Please don't stop.

  2. This is wonderful. I feel spiritually refreshed like I usually do in church. Pls do not hesitate to keep up the good job. God bless u david....