The former President of the United States, Republican George Bush, once referred to an old memory of his trips to Moscow. “I want to tell you an anecdote I witnessed many years ago, when I was attending the funeral for Soviet leader Brezhnev. The ceremony was being conducted with such military precision that there was a sense of emptiness and coldness. Marching soldiers, metal helmets and the usual Marxist rhetoric; no prayers or hymns of consolation, no reference to the name of God.
The Soviet leaders had taken their places on the Kremlin ramparts, while the family of the deceased silently escorted the coffin to its final resting place. From my seat, I could see Mrs. Brezhnev approach the coffin to say her last farewell and, there, in the cold and gray heart of that totalitarian state, she then placed a crucifix on her husband’s chest. I was impressed. That simple gesture made me understand that decades or centuries of anti-religious laws can never destroy the faith and inner strength in the hearts of all men.”
This story has a very important lesson for us. Many times, we think that faith is a matter of believing or not believing, or that faith is something “fixed” so to speak. But in reality, faith is something alive. That faith is something alive means that it can grow or it can decrease. Hence, the teaching that this story leaves us with is that we must work so that our faith grows constantly.
I wanted to point out some things we can do to increase our faith:
– First of all, we must take care of it, particularly by protecting it from the worldly spirit. Taking care of it means not playing with our faith, since faith is a grace and if we play with it, we can lose it.
– Secondly, we must live coherently with our faith, because he who does not live as he thinks ends up thinking as he lives. If we do not live as our faith tells us we have to live, we will lose our faith because we will end up thinking as we live.
– Thirdly, we must nourish it. It is nourished through prayer and the reception of the sacraments; particularly the frequent reception of the Eucharist and Confession.