Monday, August 1, 2016

A Quiet Faith

St. Francis of Assisi wrote, "Preach the Gospel to every living creature. And if you must, use words."

This reminds me of a story of a Catholic Hispanic man I used to work with at Home Depot. He was always friendly, quiet and hard working. He always had a smile on his face. He never told me about his beliefs or asked me about mine. However, one day, I saw a picture of the Virgin Mary on his locker as he was closing it. His quiet style spoke loudly to me, and I remember his example to this day.

Christianity has a heritage of quiet and reverent believers. For example, for thousands of years, Jews translating the Bible would write "Lord" instead of God's name, "Yahweh", in order to show respect for God. They chose quiet reverence over flashy displays. Similarly, Jesus encouraged a quiet prayer life over extravagant, braggadocios displays of faith.

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward. But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (Matthew 6:5-6).

Jesus also recommended a humble style of fasting instead of bragging about it.

"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full" (Matthew 6:16).

I like this humble style of faith, a faith that is more personal than proud. A faith that is evident through actions rather than words. A faith that is alive and well today in people who are quietly changing the world.

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