Fr Paul’s 8 tips to feed your faith

Faith is like a seedling; without food, water, and protection it will always struggle to grow to maturity. It is not a rigid, solid, never-changing thing; Faith is fragile and precious.

For those who are unsure who God is, and what faith might mean to them, it can be a daunting task to begin their journey of discovery. Without nourishment, even those with years of faith experience may find themselves searching in a spiritual desert.

Christ knew this and he gave us examples throughout his life of ways we can nourish our own faith, especially in times of great challenge or difficulty.

In today’s busy world, here are some tips for anyone who wants to feed their faith:

1. Prayer – have a conversation with God; express your gratitude for what you have; ask for help; give the Lord permission to be with you as you go about your day. Jesus did this often; no matter what he was doing Jesus recognised the need to spend time with his Father and found time and a place to be in His divine presence. Many Gospels stories end with words to the effect that ‘Jesus went off to a quiet place to pray’.

2. Eucharist – join others and be nourished by the celebration of the Eucharist at Mass; Jesus gave us this sacrament through the Last Supper and often broke bread and shared communal meals with those he ministered to (think of the 5 loaves and 2 fish feeding five thousand people).

3. Read – read from scripture or something spiritual; Jesus read from scripture in the synagogue and temple and he talked about issues of faith with learned men (the Pharisees) of the time

4. Be creative – journal, draw, paint, build something, garden, fish; Jesus told stories in contemporary settings that his audience understood (think parables such as the Good Samaritan, the Mustard Seed and the Prodigal Son)

5. Family and friends – spend quality time with those you care about; Jesus spent time with not only with the disciples but often visited friends like Martha, Mary and Lazarus.

6. Contemplation – take time to be alone, to just sit and be silent; Jesus withdrew to quiet places, on purpose, to give himself time to think, reflect and pray. (Consider, his time in the desert and in the Garden of Gethsemane before his betrayal)

7. Service – do something to help others – at home, at the beach, at church, in your everyday life; Jesus cooked fish by the lakeside for his friends; he took time with outcasts (lepers, tax collectors, the condemned); he listened to others and heard their need.

8. Get ‘Appy’ onlinethere are a plethora of things to nourish your faith online, in our own time, in your own way (for example Hallow, Laudate, rosary etc). 

Apart from number 8, Christ did all of these things to strengthen his Spirit, to draw close to his Father, to show his unconditional love for others, and to prepare himself to face the future with courage and humility.

Do any of these things, conscious that God walks with you as you do so, and slowly but surely your faith will flourish.

God bless!

By Fr Paul Gooley – Parish Priest, St Agnes’ Catholic Parish & Vicar General, Diocese of Lismore

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