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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, January 8, 2018
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala

Rock & Refuge

Difficulties should
fire up our faith

This is the precious lesson we can learn from the story of the blind man Bartimaeus. (cfrLk 18,35-43) Our difficulties and problems, including our failures and sins, can be good occasions to get close to God and to draw his mercy and grace to keep us moving on with renewed spirit.

God is always with us. He continues to guide us all throughout our life. As creator and savior, he is actually shaping our life. Anything that happens in our life, including the negative ones, serves some purpose in God's loving providence over us.

Our reaction when we are faced with big problems and difficulties, including those that seem to be a lifelong predicament, should be like that of Bartimaeus—full of faith even if certain conditions appear to hinder and cool down that faith.

In the end, Bartimaeus got back his sight, and Christ told him clearly that it was his strong faith that did that. “Receive your sight,” Christ told him, “your faith has saved you.” (Lk 18,42)

We have to do everything to strengthen our faith and to keep it burning always, especially in moments of difficulties and trials. Our reaction when faced with unavoidable trials is to fire up our faith instead of wavering in it.

Like Bartimaeus, let us always be humble and simple, acknowledging our impotence in the face of all the difficulties, andrun directly to God. Let's not waste time delaying and hesitating in this reaction, held hostage by some fears, doubts or a misplaced sense of shame.

Instead, we should use our weaknesses, our difficulties and mistakes as reasons and urges to go to Christ, so we can echo what St. Paul once said: “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor12,11)

Let's remember that Christ's delight is to forgive and to help us in any way. He is not scandalized by any of our sins, no matter how grave they are. In fact, in a sense, he is more attracted to us when we are into some predicament. Our sins, difficulties and trials are like magnets to Christ's precious attention and help. He is all too willing to bear them for us.

Of course, we are human, and we cannot deny that we will always have our weaknesses. In spite of our desire to have faith, we may still struggle to make that faith alive and operative. That's when we should repeat what the father of a possessed boy told Christ: “I believe, but help my unbelief.” (Mk 9,24)

Yes, there are moments and even extended periods of darkness and dryness in our life of faith. These should not surprise us. They go with the territory. But they are no reason for us to doubt God's love for us. We just have to learn how to hold on.

We have to help one another in living our faith to the fullest. When we see someone waver in his faith, let us be quick in helping him by word and example. We have to pray and offer sacrifices for him.

If we have the chance, let's be generous in giving catechesis especially to the young ones. We have to do this with moredetermination since we cannot deny the fact that today, the young ones are bombarded with many distracting elements that undermine their faith.

We have to reach out in a more aggressive but constructive manner, knowing how to adapt ourselves to the way the young ones are these days. This is a chance for us to be creative!*

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