By David M. Carollo –
A Visit to The Holy Land
Again, I am writing from a historic place – the Holy Land, where the foundation of our Faith is found. God chose this land to bring about the true understanding of Divine Law lost by the actions of our first parents and the subsequent acts of defiance of those who followed the path of our fallen nature. This is where He chose to bring about the promise of Redemption. I have traveled here many times over the years and each time, it is a new experience.
How could anyone ever pray at the spot of the Crucifixion, reach down, and touch the spot where the Cross stood in the ground or venerate the anointing stone where Jesus was laid after His death and feel anything but awe? Praying in the Chapel of Adam, directly below the site of the Crucifixion, the place where it is believed Melchizedek brought and buried the skull of Adam, it is hard not to understand the gravity of sin and the price that was paid for this.
Trust in God
Like most Catholics, we sit in the same spot at every Mass we attend at our parish. Our spot is on the right side in the third pew. What creatures of habit we are! From that spot, I look up at the mural on the opposite wall in the sanctuary. It depicts Abraham offering a lamb to God on an altar, with his son Isaac standing attentively watching. The story behind this scene defines obedience and trust in God. His faith is difficult to understand, especially in this age of skepticism. Abraham had faith in God, standing ready to give back to God the greatest gift, his son Isaac. In his pain, he knew that his act of obedience gave way to hope that God’s plan was being fulfilled. In charity, he followed the command of the Lord, knowing that his obedience to the Divine Will would lead to greater good. One could only imagine the relief he felt when the Angel stopped him from fulfilling the command. The Holy Land is a place where many emulated the faith of Abraham.
The Greatest Test of Faith
Jesus presented the great test of faith when He stated that His Body and Blood would be consumed by His followers in the Eucharist. This concept was so difficult for some to accept that He lost many on that day. More accurately, they lost Him. Today when so many doubt the Real Presence, are we not experiencing what Our Lord did when He presented this reality in the synagogue in Capernaum? Yes, He is losing many of those who do not possess the faith to believe or find it inconvenient in this world where only tangibles seem to be believed. The pain of this rejection became a gateway for the further rejection of what would be further revealed and ultimately led to the Crucifixion. Believing in the Incarnation and His birth by supernatural means is necessary for believing in the Resurrection. Believing in the Resurrection brings us to the understanding that He would be with us always until the end of time in the Eucharist. We hope that in this time of the Eucharistic Revival, a renewed belief in the real presence is the fruit.
Faithful belief in these things is what we must have as Catholics. When the woman came behind Our Lord and touched His garment, she was cured of a difficult disease. She knew that He had the power to heal, but His statement to her, “Your faith has healed you,” explains why she was granted this favor. The centurion who told Jesus that he was unworthy for Him to enter his home when He offered to come and heal his servant is perhaps the best-known story of belief. We pray his words at each Mass before we receive Holy Communion: “Lord I am not worthy that you would enter under my roof. Speak only the word and my soul shall be healed.”
The Virtues of Faith
The theological virtues of faith, hope and charity are the foundation of Catholicism. These virtues are inseparable, with faith necessary for us to accept the other ones. Faith leads us to hope, hope leads us to act with charity and charity defines what Christians are called to exhibit. As promoters of Our Lady’s message at Fatima, we are called to an even greater understanding of this. The young Fatima seers accepted what was put in front of them without reservation, just as Abraham followed the command of God.
We look to Abraham as our father in faith. His faith led to a hope that the promise made to him by God would be fulfilled, even if his beloved son was taken from him in an act of obedience. Like Almighty God Himself, he offered his beloved son. In charity he made this offering in contrast to so many of us who avoid the opportunities to stand up for our faith. How could we expect to make major statements of faith if we are unwilling to stand up and be counted every day in this atmosphere of ever-increasing hostility for our beliefs? What beautiful words we hope to hear when judged, your “faith has saved you.”
God bless you and Mary keep you in her Immaculate Heart.
David M. Carollo is the Executive Director of the World Apostolate of Fatima USA/National Blue Army Shrine. He wrote this for his Voice of Fatima column.