Monday, November 29, 2010

"Only Say the Word ..." - Impressive Faith

Last Sunday, I wrote about the penitent thief: " 'Jesus, Remember Me, When You Come Into Your Kingdom' " (November 21, 2010). Not "if" - "when you come into your kingdom." Now that's faith.

Today's Gospel reading includes part of another of my favorite accounts in the Bible: and this one involves faith, too. You'll probably recognize this:
"4 When he entered Capernaum, 5 a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, 'Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.' He said to him, 'I will come and cure him.' The centurion said in reply, 6 'Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, "Go," and he goes; and to another, "Come here," and he comes; and to my slave, "Do this," and he does it.' When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, 'Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel 7 have I found such faith. I say to you, 8 many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.' And Jesus said to the centurion, 'You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.' And at that very hour (his) servant was healed."
(Matthew 8:5-13)
There's a stereotype I've run into, that folks who are 'religious' are just simply dripping with faith and spirituality. That's okay, as far as it goes.

Faith, and Wandering in a Daze

A problem, I think, is that symptoms of what many folks in America think is 'being religious' are nearly indistinguishable from those of being stoned.

I don't think cheap religious art helped any. There's this one particularly egregious example - probably intended to be a copy of Giuseppe Ghedine's "Assumption of the Virgin" - that set a sort of low-water mark.

This made-for-mass-production drawing was on a prayer card - a quite nice little aid for personal devotions. That picture, though! The Virgin Mary looked like she'd just been sapped, but hadn't fallen down yet. It was the eyes, chiefly. Mary's eyes were rolled up - and she was walleyed. I've written about that before. (August 9, 2010)

Don't get me wrong: Prayer cards can be a fine way to stay reminded of a particular prayer. I've used the things.

And there's nothing wrong with being a vague, dreamy, 'spiritual' person. If that's what the person actually is like. But it doesn't look like we're all supposed to 'spiritual' like that. I've written about unity, diversity, and being Catholic before. (August 26, 2010)

The dreamy types, who don't seem too well attached to the space-time continuum? They can be fine people. Although I think they do better if there's someone around to make sure they eat and sleep.

But, and this is important: religious faith isn't just for vague, dreamy types.

A Vague, Dreamy - Centurion?!

We don't hear about centurions much, these days, apart from a few Bible passages. A Wikipedia article says that a centurion in the Roman imperial army was an officer whose rank was roughly between today's captains and colonels. (Centurions, "Roman Legion," Wikipedia) Although I don't necessarily take assertions in Wikipedia articles at face value, this is one of the articles with citations. And the 'captain to colonel' assessment agrees approximately with what I've run into elsewhere.

Like Footnote 5 in that bit from Matthew:
"[5] A centurion: a military officer commanding a hundred men. He was probably in the service of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee; see the note on Matthew 14:1."
Bottom line? A Roman centurion was an officer in one of the best armies around at the time. He certainly didn't gain and hold his rank - and his life - by living in a vague 'spiritual' haze.

Look at the sort of faith he had. The centurion understood authority - and its implications. What's more, he recognized Jesus as someone with the sort of authority it takes to say 'be healed,' and have it be done: even if the person to be healed wasn't nearby.

Dreamy? No. Faith? Yes.

Not-entirely-unrelated posts:

2 comments:

Brigid said...

I like the centurion's approach to faith better than the hazy variety. It always creeped me out when people would have that sort of weird trance-but-not-a-trance expression.

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

Me, too, about the centurion. And 'really spiritual' folks.

Like it? Pin it, Plus it, - - -

Pinterest: My Stuff, and More

Advertisement

Unique, innovative candles


Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store

Popular Posts

Label Cloud

1277 abortion ADD ADHD-Inattentive Adoration Chapel Advent Afghanistan Africa America Amoris Laetitia angels animals annulment Annunciation anti-catholicism Antichrist apocalyptic ideas apparitions archaeology architecture Arianism art Asperger syndrome assumptions asteroid astronomy Australia authority balance and moderation baptism being Catholic beliefs bias Bible Bible and Catechism bioethics biology blogs brain Brazil business Canada capital punishment Caritas in Veritate Catechism Catholic Church Catholic counter-culture Catholicism change happens charisms charity Chile China Christianity Christmas citizenship climate change climatology cloning comets common good common sense Communion community compassion confirmation conscience conversion Corpus Christi cosmology creation credibility crime crucifix Crucifixion Cuba culture dance dark night of the soul death depression designer babies despair detachment devotion discipline disease diversity divination Divine Mercy divorce Docetism domestic church dualism duty Easter economics education elections emotions England entertainment environmental issues Epiphany Establishment Clause ethics ethnicity Eucharist eugenics Europe evangelizing evolution exobiology exoplanets exorcism extremophiles faith faith and works family Father's Day Faust Faustus fear of the Lord fiction Final Judgment First Amendment forgiveness Fortnight For Freedom free will freedom fun genetics genocide geoengineering geology getting a grip global Gnosticism God God's will good judgment government gratitude great commission guest post guilt Haiti Halloween happiness hate health Heaven Hell HHS hierarchy history holidays Holy Family Holy See Holy Spirit holy water home schooling hope humility humor hypocrisy idolatry image of God images Immaculate Conception immigrants in the news Incarnation Independence Day India information technology Internet Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jesus John Paul II joy just war justice Kansas Kenya Knights of Columbus knowledge Korea language Last Judgment last things law learning Lent Lenten Chaplet life issues love magi magic Magisterium Manichaeism marriage martyrs Mary Mass materialism media medicine meditation Memorial Day mercy meteor meteorology Mexico Minnesota miracles Missouri moderation modesty Monophysitism Mother Teresa of Calcutta Mother's Day movies music Muslims myth natural law neighbor Nestorianism New Year's Eve New Zealand news Nietzsche obedience Oceania organization original sin paleontology parish Parousia penance penitence Pentecost Philippines physical disability physics pilgrimage politics Pope Pope in Germany 2011 population growth positive law poverty prayer predestination presumption pride priests prophets prostitution Providence Purgatory purpose quantum entanglement quotes reason redemption reflections relics religion religious freedom repentance Resurrection robots Roman Missal Third Edition rosaries rules sacramentals Sacraments Saints salvation schools science secondary causes SETI sex shrines sin slavery social justice solar planets soul South Sudan space aliens space exploration Spain spirituality stem cell research stereotypes stewardship stories storm Sudan suicide Sunday obligation superstition symbols technology temptation terraforming the establishment the human condition tolerance Tradition traffic Transfiguration Transubstantiation travel Trinity trust truth uncertainty United Kingdom universal destination of goods vacation Vatican Vatican II veneration vengeance Veterans Day videos virtue vlog vocations voting war warp drive theory wealth weather wisdom within reason work worship writing

Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.