The deep secret mystery of faith lies in the fact that it is a ‘baptism’ in the death and sacrifice of Christ. We can only give ourselves to God when Christ, by His grace, ‘dies’ and rises spiritually within us.”—Thomas Merton
On many a sunny and crisp day over the years, people have sung along with Tom Petty, “And I’m free! … Free falling!” That chorus makes me feel, just a tad, like I’m running off the edge of a mountain ridge, strapped into a hang glider. Someday I’d like to experience the exhilaration of true flight.
Christian faith is also a “faith-fall” of sorts. The exact moment we submit our own will to that of the Father, through Christ, God’s invisible plan of love can lift us to perspectives we’ve never seen before. At the very place where we experience the death of self, new life grows. When God asks us to give him something in our lives, most of us have trouble releasing our grip completely; it can be tough letting go of the things that matter to us: our reputation, our finances, our marriage, our children, forthcoming test results, or our job security. Sometimes we even have problems letting go of things we know aren’t good for us: a habitual sin, an unhealthy relationship, or a jammed schedule.
Learning to detach from our preoccupation with having things our way, and letting God have things his way in our lives, doesn’t mean we will always get our way, but it does mean that we will rise in freedom. As we learn to lay these things on the altar (as Christ “dies and rises spiritually within us”) we fall in freedom from the cliff of our own controlling ways. This “faith-fall” is a reversal of the “first-fall” of Adam and Eve. It is a trust in the love of the Father and his provision for our needs, our hearts, and our happiness. It is a lived “work” of what we know by faith: Deus Providebit. God will provide!
Is there an area in your life that God is asking you to give to him in a kind of “faith-fall”? Pray about the issue this week, both at Mass and while meditating on your favorite mysteries of the Rosary. Ask Mary to help you follow her example, her “faith-fall fiat,” and help you to recognize and release the earthly things you are grasping so you can better hold onto the things of heaven.
At Mass this week, when receiving the Eucharist ask Jesus to allow his faithful embrace to become the strength you need to experience this “faith-fall,” so that your heart can soar with his. Then, pray in gratitude with St. Paul: “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
This blog post originally appeared on The Catholic Year of Faith blog in April 2013.