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If Lost, Hurry to do Five Things

Lk 17:5-10

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."

The Lord replied,

"If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,

you would say to this mulberry tree,

'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.

"Who among you would say to your servant

who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,

'Come here immediately and take your place at table'?

Would he not rather say to him,

'Prepare something for me to eat.

Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.

You may eat and drink when I am finished'?

Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?

So should it be with you.

When you have done all you have been commanded,

say, 'We are unprofitable servants;

we have done what we were obliged to do.'"

Sometimes we wish that we could just "believe" and our entire lives would change. But this does not seem to be the case. Imagine you are lost in the forest. Closing your eyes and "believing" is not going to do anything, even though God wants more than anyone for you to be found. You have to activate your faith and then take concrete action.

The world in which Jesus lives seems static in comparison to our modern world. People had their stations in life and did not expect change. This comes out in the relationship between the master and the servant. Each one has his role and is content.

We live in a world that is constantly evolving. It can feel hard to keep our bearings. We often have to start over. How do we do this within a context of faith? Even not so long ago, it was normal to take a job that would last until retirement. Now, the average person can expect to have 12 to 15 jobs over the course of a lifetime. We have to get good at starting over.

We are called to a life of active service. So when we fall into inaction, we have to know how to begin again. Our faith challenges us to look at violence and injustice. Why? Because we are made to act. We are called to have great faith and then to move into action quickly, yet prudently.

Know where you stand

We should know where we are before we plot out a new route. When you are hiking, it is good to have a road or a stream that you can head for if you are disoriented. In our lives, we also have to see where we stand. Take a piece of paper and write down all your successes. You could look at your life, at the last year, or even just today. If you have gone to Mass today, that is a big win. Write it down. Figure out what resources you have at your disposal. All of this helps to know where you stand and prepare to take action.

Dream with your eyes wide open

We should dream. We should think about the future with a lot of hope. We should be excited about our future opportunities. But we should keep our eyes open. The problem with building castles in the clouds is that they often stay there. We never make them real. So we have to learn how to make our dreams realistic, by keeping an eye on our current situation and seeing real possibilities. St. Teresa of Avila says that "we shouldn’t build castles in the air. [God] doesn’t look so much at the greatness of our works as at the love with which they are done." (St. Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle)

Determine your goals

It is good to have ambitious goals in life. In the Gospel story from today, it seems that everybody is content. But they still had goals, even if it was as simple as plowing the fields or feeding the sheep. When you look at your goals, make sure to include a great spirit of faith. God wants you to do great things, with simplicity and love. St. Therese of Lisieux shares that "while for a soul whose faith equals but a tiny grain of mustard seed, He works miracles, in order that this faith which is so weak may be fortified; yet for His intimate friends, for His Mother, He did not work miracles until He had put their faith to test." (St. Therese of Lisieiux, Story of a Soul)

Get a prayer partner

It is not good for us to be alone. We should look for others who can accompany us and keep us honest in our journey of faith. Even Jesus wanted to be with the disciples as He was carrying out His mission in this world.

Go for it

Act. The greatest thing you can do is to actually take action. So often, we make resolutions but do not follow through. Sometimes, it is better to act and fail than to remain stagnant forever. "Faith requires obedience, and not curiosity; and when God commands, one ought to be obedient, not curious." (St. John Chrysostom, (Homily 27 on Romans)

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