Every Sunday morning my routine is the same: wake up, brush my teeth, fix my hair, put on a pretty dress, and head to 8:30AM Mass. But sometimes, when 9:30 rolls around, I realize I've completely missed it all. I missed the Creed, the readings, and even Jesus, Himself, coming down from Heaven onto the altar!
Now, I don't mean that I sometimes press the snooze button so many times that I end up missing Mass. I mean I physically show up, but too often I am still spiritually sleeping throughout the entire Mass.
Faith without Works is Dead
I'm sure you've all heard the Scripture verse from James, 'Faith without works is dead,' (James 2:26) and what a beautiful reminder that is for us to live good, Christian lives. It reminds us that we are called to live out our faith through good works (loving our neighbors, living moral lives, participating in the Holy Mass, etc).
However, if we simply have faith in the Lord but don't demonstrate it through our actions, then frankly, we’re no different than the demons, for they too believe in God (James 2:19).
Works without Faith are Dead
Too often though, we miss the point of our works; it becomes so easy to forget that works without faith are also dead. St. Francis Xavier once said,
'It is not the actual physical exertion that counts towards a one's progress, nor the nature of the task, but by the spirit of faith with which it is undertaken.'
It doesn't matter how good our actions are; if they aren't done through our faith in God, they are useless and dead. Just as Jesus' death on the cross would mean nothing if He didn't do it with faith in our Salvation; our actions mean nothing unless we do them through our faith in the Lord. No matter how many times I attend Mass, it means nothing unless I participate both physically and spiritually.
Open the Door
This October, Pope Benedict XVI declared the start of a Year of Faith for the Catholic Church. From October 11, 2012 until November 24, 2013, we (the Church) are called to re-open the 'door of faith' that was opened for us at our baptism (Acts 14:27). We’re called to rediscover our faith in the Lord and the teachings of His Church.
This year is the perfect time for us to find that middle ground between our faith and our works. Answer the call of our Holy Father; re-open your 'door of faith' and allow all of your actions flow through it.
A person who’s just going through the motions of the faith is missing out. There’s so much that God wants to offer us but our faith needs to be alive and alert to be able to receive it!