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Apr 05th
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Sunday, 12 July 2009 19:03
THE VIRTUE OF FAITHFULNESS Faithfulness - a virtue required by love and faith. Sacred Scripture often speaks to us about the virtue of faithfulness, of the need to keep our promises, to carry out undertakings freely contracted, to make the effort to finish off a mission to which one has committed oneself. The Lord said to Abraham: Bear yourself blameless in my presence. You shall maintain my Covenant, yourself and your descendants after you, generation after generation (First Reading, Year 1, Gen 17:1-9). The strength of the covenant with the Patriarch and his descendants would be a continual source of blessing and happiness. On the other hand, breaches of this pact by Israel would be the cause of its misfortune. God asks for faithfulness from men, from those whom he looks on with predilection, because He himself is always faithful, despite our weaknesses and shortcomings. Yahweh is the God of loyalty (Deut 3:4), who is rich in love and fidelity (Ex 34:6-7), faithful in every word of his(Ps 144:13), and his faithfulness remains forever (Ps 116:1-2). Those who are faithful are most pleasing to him (cf Prov 12:22) and He promises them the definitive reward: he who is faithful unto death will receive the crown of life (cf Rev 2:20). Throughout the Gospel Jesus speaks about this virtue. He offers us the example of the faithful and prudent servant, of the honourable administrator... The idea of faithfulness penetrates the life of a Christian so deeply that the term faithful is enough to describe the disciples of Christ(Acts 10:45). Saint Paul, who had repeatedly exhorted the first Christian generation to practise this virtue, entones a hymn to faithfulness which can be taken as summarising his life as he approaches the end of it: he writes to Timothy: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on the Day: and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his coming (2 Tim 4:7). Faithfulness consists in accomplishing what was promised, in making deeds conform to expressed intentions (cf St Thomas, Summa Theologiae, II-II, 110,3). We are faithful if we keep our word, if we hold firm, in spite of the obstacles and difficulties, to the commitments we have undertaken. Perseverance is intimately united to this virtue, and is often identified with it. Faithfulness applies to many areas: our relationship with God; between spouses, among friends ... It is an essential virtue. Without it social intercourse becomes impossible. As far as the spiritual life is concerned, it is closely related to love, faith and vocation. That passage of the Second Epistle to Timothy makes me shudder, where the Apostle laments that Demas has fallen in love with this present world and gone to Thessalonica. For a trifle, and for fear of persecution, this man, whom Saint Paul had quoted in other epistles as being among the saints, had betrayed the divine enterprise. I shudder when I realise how little I am: and it leads me to demand from myself faithfulness to the Lord even in events that might seem to be indifferent - for if they do not help me to be more united to him, I do not want them (J. Escrivá, Furrow, 343). What use are they to us if they do not lead us to Christ? Bear yourself blameless in my presence. You shall maintain my Covenant, God is continually telling us in the secret depths of our hearts. With permission from Scepter UK. Short excerpt from IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD by Francis Fernandez. Available at SinagTala or Totus Bookstore 723-4326 or at www.totusbookstore. com (info@totusbookstore .com) To subscribe or unsubscribe, please email info@defensoresfide The DEFENSORES FIDEI FOUNDATION actively spreads Ecclesial Information, Catechetical Instructions and Apologetics in pursuit of making good Catholics better Catholics. Any contribution to help this apostolate is heaven-sent and now TAX-DEDUCTIBLE (in USA). Please visit us at www.defensoresfidei .com.

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"The biggest cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid people are so sure about things and the intelligent folks are so full of doubts."~~Bertrand Russell