Path #11: Faith and Hope
It’s hard to believe we’ve been through the first 10 steps to the heart of a missionary and I’ve yet to mention Faith and Hope. To be sure, a deep faith in God and a confident hope in the resurrection and eternal life after death are indispensable to the missionary heart.
The question is, how do you grow in faith and hope?
A good start is the previous step: humility. Because the reality is we can’t create faith and hope out of nothing—they are gifts to us from our Father, implanted in our souls by God. Faith and hope are the seeds, if you will, of the heart of a missionary.
But once a seed is planted, it needs to be encouraged, watered, fertilized, cared for. That’s where we come in. Indeed, it is up to us, through continuous prayer and good stewardship of the grace given to us by God, to allow His seed of faith to grow within us.
Too often, we forget about the seed of faith we are meant to care for, either assuming it’s there and doesn’t need watering, or simply finding ourselves distracted by the more tangible, present, and attractive things of the world around us. In my own case, at least, I’ve found that my faith in God and hope in the Resurrection have grown and deepened practicing steps 1 through 10, continuously, leading to stronger faith, leading then to improved prayer life, a greater willingness to answer the call, etc.
The whole process creates a kind of virtuous and continuous feedback loop.
What I’ve come to understand with time is that Faith is not an endpoint at all, a place you get to and then “possess.” Rather, it is a journey, a process, consisting of both hills and valleys, spiritual high points and then low moments.
And here is the really wonderful part of all this: the more we cooperate with the Father, answering His call through mission, the more opportunities we have to witness His abundant generosity in our own lives and the lives of others. And the more we witness Him, the deeper our faith grows and the more earnestly we hope in an eternal Heaven with Him. Faith and Hope deepen within our hearts, drawing us closer and closer to the Heart of Jesus.
And when that happens, we have love. Next week’s topic.
Jules Bastien-Lepage, "Joan of Arc"