Connecting Faith with Love

Ervin TanReflections

Faith is very much related to and involving something else that also isn’t physically quantifiable and tangible – love, explains Father Luke Fong. Photo: Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

Connecting Faith with Love

Are you struggling in your faith? Father Luke Fong reflects that once faith is connected to love, our faith can grow and strengthen if we consciously apply ourselves to it.

Very often, I hear penitents coming to confess their struggles with faith, believing that their struggles somehow displease God.

Faith is supernatural

First of all, let us be very clear that faith, by the very fact that it is not visible to the human eye, is always going to be something that is both challenging and supernatural (beyond or above nature) to attain. This fact means that it is going to take more than just natural efforts to tend to it and to help it to grow.

If faith were something worldly, tangible and even quantifiable, we can just apply our efforts at it and find success, like the way that many people apply themselves, their resources, energies and sheer willpower to reach their goals in life, be it an academic degree or the mastery of some skill or talent.

Faith doesn’t work the same way. Faith is very much related to and involving something else that also isn’t physically quantifiable and tangible – love.

Believing that God wants us to flourish

Many people who say they lack faith or have a weak faith relate to me that this is because they see their prayers go unanswered. Does God always answer our prayers? He definitely does. But does He always answer our prayers in the way that we formulate these answers in our heads? Not necessarily, and perhaps not even most of the time.

When we have faith, we also express that we have faith that God has our greatest interest at heart, and He wants us to flourish as His children. This flourishing must not be imaged as only having a comfortable, healthy and successful life. Our definition of a flourishing life is perhaps too conditioned and shaped by a world that only defines happiness very narrowly.

But when we have faith in a loving and providential God, we will be able to say with confidence that, even though I am not successful, or have to suffer in various ways, these do not necessarily mean that I am not loved by our loving God.

Faith must connect with love

Our faith in God, if it is not connected closely and associated with the love of God and the love for God, will be even more nebulous and abstract.

Love is only seen in its effects, in the way a child looks at his parents, in a husband’s actions to show affection and devotion to his wife, and in the way a nurse cares tenderly for a geriatric and frail patient. Otherwise, love is just a concept, and not relatable to life as we live it. Faith is something that needs a similar expression.

When faith is connected with love, then we need to apply to faith the very same things that we apply to love. We must will it to happen, the way we will our love to happen. We make efforts to be demonstrative of our love, inconvenience ourselves and put focus and attention on those we are loving. Our world, in some ways, begins to revolve and centre around the beloved. It is no longer about ourselves but about giving of ourselves and carrying out loving actions. Anything that comes back is then a bonus. And if nothing comes back, it really is okay.

When we apply these principles to faith, however, something else does happen to us. That is because faith applied with effort and zeal will always benefit the person applying that faith, because one’s belief is strengthened the more one applies it. A purposefully applied faith to love God and a faith in a loving God necessarily result in a stronger faith, not just in His existence, but in His providence.

Tending to our faith daily

Admittedly, this kind of faith isn’t nurtured overnight. It is something that we have to tend to with great care, not unlike the way a gardener is careful to tend to the saplings he plants in his nursery. Our daily prayer life that sees us loving God as a non-negotiable part of our 24-hour day shows this commitment lived out.

Is not having strong faith in God a sin? No, because it isn’t something that anyone sets out to do with a purpose and intention. But seeing how weak our love for God is and not doing anything about this would be something that is slothful and detrimental to our faith.

With the Holy Spirit working in and through my words, I pray that you will grow and come to a much stronger and vivid faith life.

Share this post with family and friends