By: Chad Beraud
Catholicism has a language of its own. As I began to find some community within the life of the Church, I started to hear many new words and phrases tossed around (“offer it up”, “blessings”, “sacramental graces”, “wrapped in Mary’s mantle”, etc.). Learning this language has been a slow process over the last 5 years of my conversion and, initially hesitant to adopt these words/phrases into my own vocabulary, I’ve continued to reflect on the true meanings of these words and phrases. “Growing in faith” is one such phrase.
Faith, at its root, seems to mean to put trust into something or someone. The word trust is a much less abstract word to us. To “trust in someone” presupposes that this person is trustworthy. Trustworthiness bases itself in worthily fulfilled expectations and needs. Therefore, it seems as though trust is built upon the notion that we have things that we cannot fulfill on our own (weaknesses), and we need others to fill them.
Trust, as we have established, is predicated upon a need for others to be strong and dependable where we are weak. Faith, therefore, is dependent upon our willingness to showcase our weaknesses, or our vulnerability. Vulnerability, coined as the birthplace of joy by Brené Brown, is evidence of our need for relationship both with God and neighbor.
I noticed this most plainly following my recent marriage. Unwilling to hide my embarrassing blunders, insecurities, and even odd delights, I chose to open up to my new bride. I found real joy, a deeper attraction, and a newfound trust in her. Our marriages flourish when we are deeply vulnerable, open, and honest. Vulnerability with our spouse breeds intimacy. So too does it breed intimacy with our God.
Faith requires vulnerability.
For our faith in God to grow, we must be willing to expose our weakness. By this, God proves His trustworthiness. He proves that He alone can satisfy our longings and desires. He proves that He will not fail to satisfy our needs.
In another of God’s paradoxes, by our weakness our faith is strengthened.