From a Creighton Student's Perspective
December 15th, 2007
Junior, Accounting Major
Throughout my career at Creighton, I have tried several "habits" to keep my faith alive amidst the hectic lifestyle---a nightly rosary with a friend, Candlelight Mass on Sunday evenings, and now another friend and I have taken up Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises. Last night, as we were discussing the reading from Ignatius's autobiography, I mentioned a complaint (for lack of a better word) that I have with the faith. The saints I am most familiar with--St. Ignatius, St. Paul, St. Augustine, and St. Francis of Assisi--all had a life of wealth, womanizing, and scandal but then one day, had an epiphany by a river and now are model citizens of our faith. Where is the sign for the average folk like us - followers who have always been of faith and known God yet still fail to know God in the way these men were able to? Where is our sign to keep fighting our fight and to do the best we can with what we have in our daily lives?
Unfortunately, today's readings are not exceptions to this rule. Elijah was prophesized to be a man of great faith and had a fiery chariot to show his followers he was the great one they spoke of. Despite these witnesses and the records of this occurrence, the disciples had to ask Jesus about Elijah in today's Gospel. The same happened for Jesus -- He has an entire half of the Bible dedicated to His works and we still question His purpose and meaning for us. What is that saying when we question? Does it mean we are not accepting these great signs of faith God is sending us like he did for St. Ignatius and Elijah? Are they really signs at all and if so, how do they apply to my life?
For some reason, I cannot find the inspiration I need to really get my faith in gear in these men and women who completely turned their lives around. I would like to think I am a decent enough human being who makes mistakes but overall, treats people with the respect they deserve. So today, I may have found my inspiration. When Jesus told the disciples that what happened to Elijah [he was not recognized by his own people and they did to him what they pleased] will happen to the Son of Man, the disciples accepted what Jesus said. They might have asked questions of themselves, each other, or of Jesus but in the end they accepted it. And ultimately they acted on it. These men (and women) started the communal practices of our faith and it is something that lives on today. Most of them did not have a great sign immediately after Jesus' death, yet they continued on. This is faith: the trust in ourselves that we are able to respond to God's will and the trust that God will reveal Himself to us.
Maybe someday, near the Sea of Galilee, the "Book of Joe" will be found and will tell the story of an early Christian who did not have a major revelation of faith but was still able to do great things that inspired others in their journey. Or maybe this "book" already exists. It is up to each of us to make that decision for ourselves but there is hope, especially in this stressful time of year. It is in our friendship with Christ and our daily interactions with Him, whatever they may be, that should be our inspiration just as it was for St. Ignatius, St. Paul, St. Augustine, and St. Francis of Assisi.
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