David Cameron came in for a deal of mockery for his comment that for him, faith was like a poor radio signal – it came in and out, and reception was often poor. But I wonder if he didn’t, in fact, speak for many? I don’t know the last time any of you tried to uproot a mountain by the exercise of your faith, but I can’t say I have ever found the attempt to do so successful. I think even the most literal interpreter of Scripture recognises that such passages are not to be taken literally – though our friend Bosco may want to differ. We are saved by faith in Christ, and we know that faith should produce good fruit, but beyond that we enter an area of great subjectivity. In the absence of any of us moving mountains, we cannot evidence that which is to save us, and the God who will judge us can, alone, know the secrets of our hearts.
We know from the lives of the Saints that many of them have gone through what St John of the Cross calls the ‘dark night of the soul. There was much press speculation when St Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s diaries were published and it was revealed that for many years she had felt cut off from God. I know many Christians who found them helpful, as they recognised what she described; if a saint like Mother Teresa could feel this, then it somehow made it easier for those who were not fit to loose the latchet on her sandals. Prayer is our conversation with God, and one of th complaints most often aired by people is that it is one way; but Mother Teresa kept on talking, and so should we.
What can we do to help, if not our faith, then at least our difficulties with it? We can read Scripture, prayerfully, and we can attend church regularly, and we can talk with our fellow Christians. We can try to create space in our day for prayer and Scripture- are we really so buy that we have not a spare few moments? I find habit helps here. If I pray the Rosary at ththe same time every day, I find myself looking forward to that quiet time, and it becomes a part of the day set aside for God. Each to his or her own, but one thing seems to me sure, which is that Faith resembles a muscle, the more we use it, the stronger it gets.