Frassati Reflection: Help My Unbelief

They brought the boy to him.
And when he saw him,
the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions.
As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around
and foam at the mouth.
Then he questioned his father,
“How long has this been happening to him?”
He replied, “Since childhood.
It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him.
But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Jesus said to him,
“‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.”
Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”
—Mark 9:20–24

I do believe, help my unbelief!

brooklyn_museum_-_le_possede_au_pied_du_thabor_the_possessed_boy_at_the_foot_of_mount_tabor_-_james_tissotThis man is bold in his humility: he acknowledges his imperfect faith, and he asks Jesus to strengthen it. Our human weaknesses cloud our vision and make it difficult for us to believe that God will really follow through on His promises; when we are surrounded by suffering, it is hard to believe that things will ever be different. But time and again, Jesus has proven His love for us; He has shown us that we are not alone when we bear our crosses. He has pointed our gaze toward the dawn of the resurrection. But we need to trust in His guidance to get there; we need to hand ourselves over to His care, to relinquish control and allow Him to take the reins.

We are often uncomfortable being dependent, and so we are reluctant to rely upon God. We still hear doubts and worries swirling through our heads, even when we so want to believe. The man in today’s Gospel gives us an example to follow when we find ourselves in that place: “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” If we declare our trust in Him and ask Him to fill in our weaknesses, He will show up. We need His help in everything—even in believing that He can help us.


Image: James Tissot, The Possessed Boy at the Foot of Mount Tabor / PD-US


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