Parents sometimes bronze a baby’s shoes as a memento, evoking a happy time. Fair enough. If we treat our faith in a similar way, however, the results will be disastrous. We bronze only baby shoes that are no longer needed!
When did you have the most faith? Many people respond, “When I made my first Communion,” or identify another long-past event. Yes, that was real faith—then. Because of life’s positive and negative moments, faith needs to work those in. The worldwide Year of Faith that Catholics began last month reminds us of this. A faith that fails to grow must become less central to that person’s life.
Christian faith is first a relationship with Jesus. Because genuine relationships cannot remain stagnant, they eventually lead us to know more about the other person: life experiences, interests, family, dreams, etc. The problem with seeing faith only as content (trying to verbalize what we believe) is that this approach fails to emphasize that everyone’s faith needs to grow. Knowing faith’s content can never replace a person’s age-appropriate relationship with Jesus. Our faith is in him— not in our necessary but very limited words about him.
May we always be grateful for God’s many gifts, including a faith that grows through our life experiences!