Thus, among the many talents
and faculties of the human spirit, faith is the most precious of the Divine
gifts. Faith broadens man's horizons and gives him a proper outlook, reveals to
him the purpose of his life, encourages him during hard times and gladdens his
heart, empowers his prayer and gives him access to a multitude of God's treasures and mercies.
Sadly, however, our life of plenty and well-being weakens our faith, and
God's goodness gets forgotten. As faith grows dim, a man's inner condition
becomes increasingly disordered: he loses clarity of thought and purpose of
life, his spiritual strength leaves him, emptiness and despondency firmly set
into his heart, he becomes irritable and dissatisfied with everything. After
all, the soul cannot live without faith, just as a plant cannot live without
light and moisture. No matter how intelligent and talented he might be, with faith
extinguished a person descends to the level of a cunning animal, or even a
In order to escape such a "shipwreck of faith" (1 Tim. ), one must seriously concern oneself with
the renewal of his soul. But how? We know that
all talents require exercise: to preserve a sharp mind, it must be engaged in
mental work; so that fingers maintain their flexibility, it is necessary to
practice on a musical instrument; to have the body remain limber, it is
necessary to do gymnastic exercises; and so on. If people expend so much energy
and money to develop and preserve their physical abilities, should not we
Christians strive to strengthen our spiritual capabilities?
Specifically: to strengthen our faith, we must live spiritually. This
includes regular reading of the Holy Scripture, meditation about God and the
purpose of our life, fasting and prayer. When praying, one must make an effort
to concentrate on the meaning of the words and feel the presence of God.
It is also important to repent sincerely for one's sins, go to Confession and
take Communion on a regular basis. Finally, one must try to live not for
oneself alone but for the good of one's neighbor and one's church. The heart of
one who loves is warmed by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Of course, in trying
to lead a Christian life one cannot avoid battles, trials and difficulties. At
times it may seem that the whole world is armed against us. These are unwanted
but precious periods in which we are given the opportunity to grow spiritually
and become better Christians.
In striving to strengthen our faith, let us always remember that ultimately
faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul testified to this:
"The fruit of the Spirit is: joy, love, peace, long-suffering, gentleness,
kindness, faith" (Gal. ).
Let us, therefore, ask God for faith, that great spiritual treasure. As
Jesus Christ has promised: "Ask, and it shall
be given unto you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto
you" (Matt. 7:7). And as faith grows, it will bring with it peace of
mind, joy, and a foretaste of final triumph over all evil. "This is the
victory that has overcome the world — our faith" (1 John 5:4).
*** *** ***
Poems on Faith
Oh, wondrous holy Faith,
You are a miracle streaming current,
You are the door of the soul to the abode of Paradise,
You are the dawn of the future life!
Burn in me, lamp of Faith,
Burn more clearly, do not go out,
Be everywhere a faithful campanion to me
And enlighten the path of life for me!
K. R. (1852-1915)
Oh, my God! I give thanks
For Thine having given my eyes
To see the world – Thine eternal temple –
And the earth, the sky and the dawn. . .
Let torments threaten me, -
I give thanks for this moment,
For everything which I understood with my heart,
Of which the stars speak to me. . .
Everywhere I sense, everwhere
Thee, Lord: in the night silence,
And in the most remote star,
And in the depth of my soul.
I wish my life to be
Unceasing praise to Thee;
and the dawn!
For life and death – I thank!
D. S. Merezhkovsky (1866-1941)
Blessed is he who with holy faith
Raises, inspires his spirit,
And strengthens his heart as with steel armor
From the storms of life.
For him trials are not terrible,
Nor is remoteness, nor the depth of the sea;
Grief and sufferings are not terrible,
Nor is the power of death terrible.
Poems translated from the Russian by Dimitry J. Hicks Hloboschin 30/XI/1998