Third Sunday of Easter (April 15, 2018)
In today’s Gospel we come to see how the Disciples’ faith is affirmed as they continue to experience Jesus’ presence among them. St. Francis de Sales tells us that God also continues to affirm our faith:
So loving is God’s hand as it handles our hearts! So skillful is God’s hand in bringing its strength to us without depriving us of freedom. God’s power gently gives us power as the Holy Spirit pours into our hearts the first rays of the divine light of faith.
These movements of the Spirit are the beginning of holy love. They are the first green buds that the soul, warmed by the Heavenly Sun, begins to put out in the springtime. Joyous, beautiful, and pleasing is this dawn of sacred love. Still it remains true that the dawn is not the day. These movements of divine love precede our act of faith. When God gives us faith, God enters into our being and speaks to us by way of inspiration.
Little by little our Lord strengthens the grace that comes to us from divine inspiration. So pleasantly does God propose to us what we must believe that we adhere to the light of truth with a gentle but powerful certitude: faith alone makes us love and believe in the truth of Christ’s love by diffusing a certitude in our mind. Faith is the best friend of our spirit. For step by step as it were, we are led back to God.
How gently Our Lord proceeds in hearts that consent to serve God throughout their life by keeping the Commandments. I believe that God would give us still more help if it were not because of our failure and the obstacles we place in the way. Therefore, let us be attentive to our progress in the love we owe to God, for then the love that God brings will never be wanting to us, and our faith in Christ will grow just as the Apostles’ faith did after the resurrection.
(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales, especially, Treatise on the Love of God.)