Father Philip Articles
Major League Faith

Broth­ers and sis­ters in Christ. I have been going through a “test” of faith that I would regard as one of the most dif­fi­cult of my life. I am well and very happy as a priest. Thanks be to God I have never doubted or regret­ted being a priest. God has been so good! Please read by arti­cle for my 25th anniver­sary as a priest two years ago. This time (with­out get­ting into details) God has allowed for my good a new test; a trial that He has asked of me of which a friend and brother in Christ calls a trial of  “major league faith.”  It is a “faith” that is dark— no feel­ings– and the trial is long. I have been in this trial for three years. St. Peter tells us in his first epis­tle to (1 Peter 1:6) to rejoice when we face var­i­ous tri­als. All our tri­als are either God’s “pos­i­tive” will or His “per­mis­sive” will (allowed by Him for our ulti­mate good). God must develop this “major league” faith so that we will not rely on pleas­ant feel­ings to remain faith­ful. In such tri­als God asks us to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).  No mat­ter how bad we may feel at times, He is still God and in con­trol. Our under­stand­ing and feel­ings are so short sighted. We do not see well. So God asks of us to grow in “see­ing” and a  “know­ing”  that can only be devel­oped in and through tri­als that will bring us to a state where lit­tle can really shake us. I came to real­ize that in the midst of my trial. I can­not lose my joy, oth­er­wise, I have lost sight of God and the trial has been allowed to become big­ger than God.

What helps us to “keep things in per­spec­tive“ is con­tin­u­ally remain in spirit of thanks­giv­ing as St. Paul reminds us to do in his let­ter to the Philip­pi­ans (4:4–9). He wrote that let­ter from prison and yet he advices us to “rejoice in the Lord always” …and to offer prayers of thanks­giv­ing.  If the trial lasts for a long time God through “long suf­fer­ing” is prepar­ing us for a nec­es­sary prepa­ra­tion which will end in a great gift from God. Long suf­fer­ing can be excru­ci­at­ing and seems as if we are being crushed. It is dif­fi­cult to live in a state where one is not sure if he should go up or down, left or right.  Isa­iah 30:15, 18–21 gives us our plan of action.  A  “being still” and a “rest­ing”  in God that is full of HOPE. Hope is the virtue where we choose to make acts of trust that God is good and all will be well no mat­ter what is the final outcome.

It is impor­tant to remem­ber when we are filled with doubt and a sense of being utterly alone in this inte­rior suf­fer­ing, that what I feel is only my lim­ited per­spec­tive.  God is all know­ing and all lov­ing! He is still God no mat­ter what I am feel­ing. The devil would want us to believe that what I feel is the true state of affairs. This is a lie! God wants to bring a soul to con­tin­ual prayer of FIAT. We give God per­mis­sion to act through this trial and we allow Him free­dom to allow this trial to last the period of time He wishes. Why? God IS good (good­ness) and He alone knows what we really need. This trust is worked out in time by wait­ing. To “wait” upon the Lord is in fact an inte­rior mar­tyr­dom. It rips our inte­rior being to shreds but we must be brought to a place where we aban­don our­selves to Him, to His will alone. This work (of wait­ing) is good oth­er­wise He would not be allow­ing it. A friend in the sem­i­nary would tell me every time we were enter­ing a final exam week, “Philip, this will pass.”   So, let us tell our­selves that this trial will pass. May we remain faith­full to our lov­ing God who is always at work for our good . (Romans 8:28)