Last week before I left for work, I knelt down, made the sign of the Cross, had a few seconds of silence & opened up my prayer book. I gave a quick glance to Jesus, Mary & the crucifix, rambled through an Act of Contrition, a Morning Offering & a few other short "canned" prayers. I made sure to finish with some reverential silence & the sign of the Cross before going on with my day. I thought "So this is faith?". I felt like I was just reading the words out of the book...which felt kind of stupid. I didn't have the words to say either for or against the "defense" of my spirit that day and I hoped God would at least acknowledge my heart for trying.
Growing up, I was told that God won't acknowledge our prayers if we're not sincere. I was told I could even drive the Holy Spirit away if I harboured sin in my heart- He will flee because He can't stand the filth of my wickedness. But didn't Jesus say He wouldn't leave me orphaned or forsake me? Or was He just speaking to His disciples before His ascension?
Jesus ate & drank with "sinners" routinely. Am I any better or
worse than them? The Bible says my body is a temple & I'm not to
grieve the Holy Spirit, but I don't recall it saying anywhere that the
Holy Spirit will abandon someone just for grieving Him. Didn't Jesus say
its the sick who need a doctor? He never shied away from those who came
to Him. Didn't the prodigal son demand His inheritance, squander it & come crawling back? And didn't the Father run to meet him when he returned? Is the Holy Spirit really any different?
I began to think about these things in relation to my faith now & realized its silly to believe that the Holy Spirit would just up & leave because of my sin. The Holy Spirit is a Comforter, a Counselor. What comforter or counselor who experiences crisis (big or small) would choose to abandon the situation? If the Holy Spirit truly "flew" away from us every time we sinned... what kind of help would that be? I'm inclined to believe He remains with us through thick & thin because that's precisely when we need Him most.
So yes, "this" is faith... for me, anyway. Its a moment by moment, struggling, doubting, hoping, doing-it-anyway kind of faith. It routinely finds new ways to soil itself & ends up falling helpless into unseen arms... over & over again. It may mean praying words out of a book, or kneeling silently pondering why I'm kneeling silently... But ultimately, it always means turning back toward the One Who never leaves.