By DIEGO HOOD-SANCHEZ     2/20/2024

Faith. A power that is invisible to the eye yet is a power that can open the eyes.

By definition, faith is the complete and utter confidence in someone or something. As Catholics, we are called to have faith in one figure alone. That is God. He is the Maker of everything physical, metaphysical, emotional and spiritual. Although we know this truth, we all struggle to believe it at various times. Naturally, because we’re human.

Many people feel they don’t need faith in their lives to explain the world around them. Others believe they can live happy and meaningful lives without the belief of God. And ultimately thousands see the destruction of wars, famine and death that intoxicate our societies.

Our faith dwindles when we don’t feel His protection. It’s easy to announce being a Catholic but it’s a challenge to live and have faith as a Catholic. In my faithful journey, my Uncle Eric is the one who truly invokes me to grow in my faith and view Christ from a different perspective than most do.

One of the main themes he’s taught me in my faith is to not let my “professional” relationship with Jesus overpower my personal relationship with Him. To have a professional relationship with Jesus means we tend to view Jesus as a friend. With our friends we’re prone to conceal ourselves to avoid being judged or being seen as we truly are. Having a professional relationship with Jesus also means we view Him as a work boss. We fulfill our Catholic duties by going to Church, following His commandments and participating in good works.

As much as those things greatly boost our faith, at times we tend to go through those motions. Many Catholics “work” for Jesus but not many of us stop and try to build a relationship with Him.

How are we supposed to be best friends with Jesus then? We have to view Jesus not just as our boss, but as our best friend. He’s waiting for us to see that. On the other hand, having a personal relationship with Jesus means to express ourselves openly and honestly. For instance, we express ourselves openly and onestly to our close family members on a more personal level because we feel a bond of deep intimacy and security. We know our families will always accept us. The same is for Jesus. We must learn to have a relationship with Him where we view and accept Jesus as our best friend who will always accept us. We must express ourselves fully to Him, showing all our flaws, sins, and struggles. We can grow a personal relationship with Him by reading Scripture alone or simply talking to Him. We can talk to Him about our day, our thankfulness or our struggles. When my uncle preached that to me, it opened my eyes more. Now I saw how Jesus was still waiting for me to accept Him as my best friend and talk to Him on a deeper level. My faith had branched from my professional relationship with Him into a secure and personal one as well.
Another theme he’s preached to me is the gift of being reborn again.

Catholics live in an intoxicated world that discriminates and taunts our religion. Many tend to cower and hide our faith from society in hopes of securing jobs or being approved by peers. Others begin to fall to sin and develop addictions to material substances that lead to a painful disruption in their faith. Those sins are created by the devil who enjoys pulling people down to sin. But God gives us the choice of being reborn again.

My uncle explained that to be reborn again is to announce Jesus as Savior and let the Holy Spirit free you from all your sins. Once we are reborn, we are ready for the gates of Heaven. The Spirit also grants us knowledge and different gifts.

I continue to eagerly walk this lifelong journey in hopes of being reborn even when I fall to sin. With my uncle being a driving force, I’ve grown as a Catholic.

With my uncle’s teachings along with the teachings of Servite High School, I continue to strengthen my faith through daily prayer, scripture and acts of service. Ultimately, I always remember that Jesus will make His return again and I will be ready for Him.