Theology, with all its complexities, can be defined with the above three words. In baptism, we receive the gift of Faith along with Hope and Love (Charity) to begin the journey that is life in Christ. These three theological virtues comprise the foundation upon which the Kingdom of God is built on earth, and fully realized in Heaven. The following pericope illustrates the importance of putting faith first in all we do:
“Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Mt 17:20-21)
To paraphrase, a little faith goes a long way. If we utilize a small amount of faith, we can “move mountains”. If we place a large amount of natural understanding ahead of the faith we have already received, the yield will be little to none. It must be faith seeking understanding, not the other way around.
When the disciples approached Jesus to ask why they had not succeeded in their task, they were undoubtedly perplexed. They had “jumped the gun” by operating more in their own strength and less on the faith they had been given for discipleship and mission. To put faith first is to acknowledge our humility before God and petition our Heavenly Father for the grace to act in accordance with the dictates of faith. We can truly do “greater” works than Jesus did while he was on Earth by putting faith first in our lives. Jesus says as much in the Gospel of John:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)
Let us pray for the grace and strength to grow in the faith we received in Baptism, placing it first in all we do as we journey toward Heaven.