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Mar 17, 2021 447 Emily Shaw, Australia
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5 Ways to Uncomplicated Faith

Tips to help you stay focused!

We had just arrived at the chapel attached to our local diocesan seminary. As I tried to encourage my pouty four-year-old to more appropriate behaviour, my two-year-old daughter quietly slipped out of our pew and wandered towards the altar.

She was almost at the foot of the altar before she turned back to look at me, pointing at the tabernacle and shouting: “Look Mum, it’s Jesus. Jesus is there.”

Of course she was absolutely correct. Jesus was there. In my haste to get the children seated and settled, I had neglected to remind myself of Jesus’s True Presence in that chapel. Instead I had entered the chapel on autopilot, guiding the children through their genuflection and unpacking and distributing a few books to keep them occupied.

These practical aspects of being a mother are certainly important. I was there, after all, to make use of the Sacrament of Confession and undertake spiritual direction afterwards. But I was distracted by the practical aspects of the morning that lay ahead of me.

Grasp the Infinite

When my daughter focused my attention on the Tabernacle I felt myself duly reprimanded. To be honest, I envied her simple faith. It is beautiful to watch my children engage with Jesus and our faith in their individual ways. One has a particular affinity for Saint Michael and his defeat of Satan. Another has a strong devotion and affection for Our Lady.

Above all, they seem to grasp the infinite, whilst I’m often preoccupied with the finite.

And I couldn’t help but reflect on Chapter 18 of Matthew’s Gospel:

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” (Matthew 18:1-5)

Unless you change and become like children… Easier said than done perhaps, but here are some starting points for all of us:

1. Practise humility

Children accept that they don’t know everything. They trust that the adults will have the answers to their questions, the wisdom to guide them in tricky situations, and an unconditional love that is endless. Accepting that we don’t have all the answers and trusting in God’s wisdom and mercy is essential.

2. Keep it simple

We can read a multitude of spiritual tomes, blogposts and articles, but unless that reading is followed by meditation and prayer to discern its personal application by God’s grace, we might make little progress in our spiritual lives. One of the best ways to really grow in holiness, to foster our childlike faith, is to sit in quiet and meditative prayer and call God’s presence to mind. Spending this prayer time in His True Presence is even better.

3. Call to mind His Presence

We can do this over the course of the day in our structured prayer times but also in the regular humdrum parts of our day. Hanging out the washing with increasing monotony? Peg each item with an accompanied “All for You Jesus, all for You.” Thank Him when we’re happy, confide in Him when we’re struggling. Short, simple and spontaneous, and straight from the heart.

4. Ask for help

If you’re finding life a bit rough at the moment, then approach a good, holy priest or religious for help and spiritual direction. Or trusted friends and family who share your faith might be able to offer support and guidance for whatever you might be struggling with. In fact, they might even admit to having experienced something similar. Hearing the tale of their battles to cope with adversity and reach a place of peace, may imbue you with the hope that this time of suffering will ease for you too.

5. Above all, trust in Him

If you’re like me, relinquishing control is not easy. But it is precisely when we accept and welcome God’s will into our lives that we make the most spiritual headway. Learning to put God’s will ahead of ours, or accepting it when it’s the complete opposite of what we want can feel excruciating. God knows what is best for us, and if we can let Him take the lead, who knows what we can achieve for Him?

May God give us all an increase in faith, trust and hope so that we might truly call ourselves His children and experience heaven, where we belong:

“Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” (Matthew 19:13-14)

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Emily Shaw

©Emily Shaw is a former Australasian Catholic Press Association award-winning editor turned blogger for australiancatholicmums.com and is a contributor to Catholic-Link. A wife and mother of seven, she resides on a farm in rural Australia and enjoys the spiritual support of her local Catholic community.

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