Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis’s first encyclical
Belief, trust, hope, surety. The refuge of the seeing man walking a road devoid of illumination; the bane of the blind man, guided wrongly by the voices of the wicked into stepping into a chasm. In one case, enlightenment; in the other, downfall.
This inherent ambiguity of faith and the succedent difficulty that the person of belief will certainly have in maintaining it is one of the greatest challenges that we face on the road to salvation. For “without faith it is impossible to please God” [Hebrews 11:6]. Yet how can we be assured that our faith is not misplaced? How is it possible to ascertain whether the voice which leads us through the moonless night is the voice of redemption or of damnation - or, whether that which impels us onward is not merely a phantasm, our own creation, deceiving us into belief in that which does not exist?
Such questions cannot be answered with certainty, and those who purport to do so, many of them Christians, are themselves dealing in lies. There can be no certainty in faith. This is the very nature of faith itself. Belief in that which is incontrovertibly proven requires no moral strength, no struggle, none of blind walks through dark places in the soul which bring us closer to the paradisaical state. No one deserves praise for maintaining belief that a helium atom has two protons. No, faith is inherently a science of uncertainty, the leap into the gap, the crazed hope that a net lies far beneath you as you tiptoe over the bottomless abyss.
What a hopeless concept: groping around in blindness, searching for the light switch that you have been assured lies somewhere in the pitch-black room you have been imprisoned inside.
Yet although this essential representation of faith is, indeed, accurate, there is more to faith than blind hope. True faith must be based on reason. This does not necessarily mean hard physical evidence, nor does it involve conclusions drawn from data, as the scientific method requires. We believe in the Divinity of Christ because it has been shown to us, or to others. We believe because Christianity and the doctrine of Salvation appeals to the human mind. Our faith is not blindess; indeed, how could it be, when Christ is the Light?
One only has to read the works of the great apologists, the dogmaticians, theologians, missionaries, to see the reason in our faith. One only has to listen to the testimonies of the thousands, millions of laypeople whose lives have been upended by the works of Christ. One only has to read the Scriptures to see the power which faith in Christ has worked in individual lives - and, thus, through the whole world, as the world is composed of a multitude of interconnected individuals.
Recall the Canaanite woman of the Gospel of Matthew, and the countless other examples of those healed by Jesus through their faith:
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me,
Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.”
But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”
He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”
He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”
She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”
Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.
Faith, we must realize, although never a fact, is always grounded.
And thus, we must realize the importance of our attitudes towards those who do not have faith.
I take issue with those, the unfortunately numerous in the Christian community of today, who have the avowed belief that the world today is somehow more cynical, more faithless than the world inhabited by our recent and distant forefathers. Perspective is sorely lacking from this viewpoint.
As Christians, we should be educated enough on the history of our own faith to know that heresies, atheism, and the propagation of other religions are trends that have existed throughout human history. It is not for us to alienate the current generation as lost, to condescend and to bemoan problems which have literally always plagued our creed. Faith has always been a difficult concept for humanity to embrace.
We cannot expect to win over those who have lost or who have never had faith by telling them that they are being unreasonable, or that they are the product of a flawed philosophy, a generation of souls born with a foot in the grave. What we must do is appeal to the innate reason which drives any strong, healthy faith. Engage in discussion, display faith in action. Use history and dogma as tools, not as ideals.
The future of the Christianity depends on the strength of our faith. It is up to us to make sure that it is visible to the world.
In a parable teaching, Jesus said, “…inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, my brethren, you did it to me.” We in Ground Zero Ministry take the love of Christ to the streets in Vancouver, BC’s Downtown Eastside area, which is a center of drug addiction, prostitution, poverty and homelessness. Ground Zero Healing Prayer Ministry welcomes anyone who would like to join us in this amazing ministry.
”Jesus Christ, I invite you into my heart to love me, heal me and show me the way and the truth.” These are the first and most important words that are spoken by us, which we ask our broken brothers and sisters to repeat, usually being said by them for the first time in their lives. We stress that we will do all the praying for them after they repeat this prayer, because most of them do not know how to pray or have never prayed at all. With this invitation of our Lord by the prayer recipient, the Holy Spirit will infuse or awaken them in the fire of His healing love.
The prayer team greets everyone on the streets with a joyful greeting, even the drug dealers. They, like any other person, need to be blessed and prayed for.
"Good morning, and God bless you. I’m Denis, a healing prayer minister. We want to help you by praying for you and your family. The Lord wants us to pray for you because He knows how much you are suffering, and He knows your need for His divine intervention and love to break the chains of addiction."
We tell them of the everlasting love that Christ our Savior has for them. We tell them, "Your miracle will happen. Just believe in the Lord and accept the hep that will be offered. You will rise above the negativity, darkness, evil and troubles. Our Lord keeps his promises, always."
Street ministry is pure spiritual warfare behind the enemy’s lines. Our primary purpose is to evangelize through healing prayer ministry and the charisms of the Holy Spirit by leading our physically, emotionally, and spiritually broken brothers and sisters into inviting and accepting the Divine Healer into their hearts; and in turn into receiving Christ’s healing power, strength, and Holy Spirit. If they accept the invitation before we say the last word of the prayer, the healing process has already begun.
Contrary to what many believe about street ministry being dangerous and depressing, we at Ground Zero Ministry find it to be one of the most rewarding and joyful experiences of our lives. Every day doing ministry on the streets, we are continually amazed at the power of our Lord Jesus Christ to heal and show His love to each so personally.