The courage of faith, faith in God’s courage

The courage of faith, faith in God’s courage

A reflection, within the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

by fr. Gerardo Francisco Timoner op

If we look at ourselves, to which kind of servant could we honestly relate with? Do we identify ourselves with the one who boldly invested the King’s money and earned ten times more? Or with the one who faithfully kept the King’s money and returned it exactly as he had received it? You have gathered to prepare for your general chapter, right? You are leaders of your Congregation and I would dare say that you dear Sisters are the kind of people who dare to dream dreams, who move the Canossian Congregation forward; you are the kind of people who are filled with strength, courage and ardor! (And of course you also complain that you are tired doing all these good things). You are the kind of Sisters who take risks and invest in new missions and ministries. St. Thomas Aquinas said:

“If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in the harbor forever.”

But the purpose of the ship is to set sail both where it would encounter the calm sea and where it would face stormy waters.. We could never reach new destinations if we remain safe in the harbor.

Thus we want to be the kind of servants in the parable who made ten or five times more than what were entrusted to them. But if we are to be realistic, we know that investments could go wrong. Huge gains could only come from big risks, and great risks sometimes lead to catastrophic failures. Thus, we also need to put our hope and trust in the Lord. Hope is not optimism, which is born out of a careful assessment of future prospects vis-à-vis our own capabilities and resources. Hope is not about a reversal of a miserable present into a miraculous future. Rather, hope is grounded on the certainty that God will never abandon us. Hope is about putting our meagre resources into the Hands of God. Five loaves and fish in our hands cannot feed a thousand people, but if we put them in the hands of Jesus, they could satisfy a hungry crowd. Jars of water are just that, but when placed before the gaze of the Lord, it could ‘blush’ and turn into red wine!

So, dear Sisters, I pray that your gathering will renew your commitment to let Canossian ships set sail. There will be storms but have courage for the real Captain of your ships are not at all the best among you, but the One Who can walk on the water and calm the stormy seas. One of the most beautiful definitions of hope that I ever encountered is the one from St. Catherine of Siena.

“Hope is the radical refusal to put limits to what God can do for us”.

When we hope, we refuse, in Faith and Love, that there is a limit to what God can do for us.