As you read this, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame are in the last couple of weeks of preparing for their first game against Michigan on September 1. I am a diehard fan. I attended ND, and my older brother is a graduate. Over the years, I have always ‘kept the faith,’ through the great and not-so-great seasons. As the motto goes, God, Country, and Notre Dame!
Keeping the Faith is all about continuing to believe in someone or something especially when it is difficult to do so.
Faith is our spiritual theme for August. We begin this month by celebrating the Transfiguration of Our Lord. We will conclude the month by marking the feast days of St. Augustine (8-28) and St. Monica (8-27). Not only do the Transfiguration, St. Augustine, and St. Monica provide us with examples of what ‘keeping the faith’ is all about, but they also should encourage our belief in God.
The Transfiguration of Our Lord – August 6
While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white…This is my chosen Son; listen to him(cf. Luke 9: 28, 35).
It was in this moment that the spiritual glory of Jesus became visible to Peter, James, and John. In Latin, trans means across and figura means form or shape. His appearance changed and became glorious!
The Catechism of the Catholic Church reveals to us how this inspired the three Apostles to keep the faith: Christ’s Transfiguration aims at strengthening the apostle’s faith in anticipation of his Passion: the ascent onto the ‘high mountain’ (Mt. Tabor) prepares for the ascent to Calvary (CCC 568).
Aside from preparing the three for what was to come, the Transfiguration also connected them to God…that was God’s voice in the cloud. Sometimes God gives us similar special experiences of his grace to strengthen our faith. These moments are intended to sustain us when we face the challenges of life.
Lessons from Another Mother and Son
On the one hand St. Monica is the epitome of not only keeping the faith, but never losing it. Despite the licentious and adventuresome youth of St. Augustine, his mother St. Monica never wavered in her constant and persistent prayer for him. The example of St. Monica should offer each of us hope, encouragement, and inspiration, when it comes to maintaining our faith and trust in God, when faced with what appear to be hopeless causes.
On his road to conversion, St. Augustine asked all the big questions, like who is God, and who am I? Throughout his early life Augustine struggled with family, friends, meaning, and purpose. Sound familiar? What he discovered is that the Christian life is a journey that we walk by faith.
St. Augustine once said, our whole business therefore in this life is to restore to health the eye of the heart whereby God may be seen.
Because of St. Monica’s prayers, God moved in St. Augustine’s life. God is moving – always – in our own journeys as well. Sometimes we don’t realize it, but we are all on the journey to God – one in mind and heart.
Since the beginning of the 20thCentury, the faith in Notre Dame – the University and the football team – has been so strong that it has created a mystique that is palpable. I’ll never forget the first time I stepped onto the campus at age 12…it was as if the air was charged with electricity.
Faith and belief in God can be quite powerful, we just need to let it flow!
Answering Christ’s call, we guide people to encounter him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.