FAITHFULNESS - FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT (9 OF 12)
Latin translation is fides. Faithfulness hinges upon what we value as important combined with commitment. Humans have a powerful tendency to be faithful to what they think is truly important, be it a family name, spouse, friendship, employer, school, athletic team or even certain things like a make of automobile.
This tendency was an issue when the disciples decided to follow Peter's lead and return to their fishing trade after Jesus' death and resurrection.
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In John 21:15-17, Jesus pointedly asks Peter three times whether he loved Him: "15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He then said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” [Jesus] said to him, “Feed my sheep."
The first time, Jesus asks whether Peter loved Him "more than these," referring either to his fellow apostles or the tools of his fishing trade. The inference is inescapable: Jesus wanted Peter to hold Him of greater importance than anything on Earth. Considering Peter's weighty responsibility, he could not be faithful to Jesus without the staunchest commitment to Him as most important of all in his life (see agape Love above).
The meaning to us is clear. We must love Christ supremely, or we do not love Him much, if at all. If we are not willing to give up all earthly possessions, forsake all earthly friends, and obey Him above all others—including our own carnal desires—to be faithful to Him, our attachment to Him is tenuous at best. Is such a proposition too much?
Holding true to the course God has laid before us is difficult amid this world's many alluring distractions clamoring for our time and attention. This world is attractive to human nature and bids us to expend our energies in self-satisfaction. Jesus warns all who take up their cross that the way is difficult and narrow, requiring a great deal of vision and discipline to be faithful to His cause. Some have completed the course. Those who held God and His way in the highest esteem in their lives are awaiting those of us traveling the path now. Will we be faithful as they were?
The Love that Jesus has for each one of us is spelled out in Lamentations 3:22-23: "22 The LORD’s acts of mercy are not exhausted, his compassion is not spent; 23 They are renewed each morning—great is your faithfulness!"
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
There are 21 references to FAITHFULNESS in the CCC. Please click HERE to review them (available on line only).
Those listed below are taken from the Index: