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Friday, February 17, 2006

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Founders of the Servites

James 2:14-24, 26
Psalm 112
Mark 8:34—9:1

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stepping out

"Faith was both assisting his works and implemented by his works." —James 2:22

Do you want to have more faith? Then step out in faith! Faith doesn't grow by sitting still and waiting for God to supply more faith. Rather, faith is implemented (Jas 2:22) by stepping out, following in Jesus' footsteps in answer to His call (Mk 8:34).

If you never step out until you have everything you need, that's not faith at all. That's self-reliance, not faith, and is "thoroughly lifeless" (Jas 2:17). Jesus intentionally sent His disciples out on mission without sufficient supplies (Mt 10:9ff). Jesus was focused on raising their faith. Later, Jesus asked them if they ever were "in need of anything" when he sent them out with faith alone. " 'Not a thing,' they replied" (Lk 22:35). If we have faith in our Lord, we have all we need.

Are you waiting to have another child until you have more money, energy, or vacation? Are you waiting until you are no longer ashamed of Jesus (cf Mk 8:38) before you start witnessing to others about Him? Many people put off tithing, evangelizing, ministry, speaking out against injustice, performing acts of charity, and many other things because they realize they are lacking in strength, skill, courage, etc. In following Jesus, we often get what we lack as we step out, not before.

Use the faith you have to step out for Jesus, even if it's just "faith the size of a [tiny] mustard seed" (Mt 17:20). That little faith will assist your works (Jas 2:22). Then your faith will flourish ever more (2 Thes 1:3, RNAB), because you stepped out.

Prayer:  Lord, increase our obedient faith (Lk 17:5; Rm 1:5).

Promise:  "Whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will preserve it." —Mk 8:35

Praise:  The seven Founders of the Servites stepped out in faith by forsaking their prosperity to lead a life of prayer and penance.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 16, 2005

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