The gift of faith - Page 4


Above all, however, the Christian’s faith is deepened by trial or suffering.  It may be a long proving – a weary trial of one’s patience and fortitude with only faith in God to sustain one; like the long wait that Simeon had to undergo year after year before at last he held the Christ Child in his very arms.

Or it may be a sudden anguish which only a truly faithful soul could bear without losing its love and trust for God altogether.  It was thus with Mary, as old Simeon prophesied that day in the Temple.  “…a sword will pierce your own soul too” (NRSV, Luke 2:35).  And it is no accident that the word he used for sword referred to the brutal broad-bladed weapon of the barbarians of Thrace.

That prophecy was fulfilled indeed on the day when the Mother of Sorrows stood beneath the Cross; and she who had in the Temple cradled her Son as an Infant in her arms, now on Calvary held his body tortured to death by crucifixion.  But her faith in the goodness and the love of God was unshaken and unshakeable, and it was vindicated by the Resurrection of Jesus.

So the next glimpse we have of her in the New Testament is that which is given to us by St Luke: the Apostles “…were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus…” (NRSV, Acts 1:14).  Thus was the faith of even the Mother of God tried and proved.

May our faith survive its lesser trials and troubles, so that our devotion to God may likewise remain true and steadfast to the end.


St Thomas Aquinas (13th century) trans. Caswall, E. (1848) Now, my tongue, the mystery telling.  Available from: (Accessed 30 December 2010) (Internet).

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