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A Program of Spiritual Formation for Candidates to the Priesthood

The Lay Monastic Community of Caryana







St. Augustine states: "The soul of thy soul is faith." The author of faith is the Holy Spirit who manages Christ's cause in the world and against the world. And what is the law of faith? It is being saved by grace, says St. John Chrysostom.


Everywhere, we have need of faith -- faith, the mother of blessings, the medicine of salvation, without which it is impossible to possess any one of the great doctrines.


Without faith, men are like to those who attempt to cross the open sea without a ship, who for a little while may hold out by swimming. . .but are quickly swamped by the waves. Such are the ones who trust in their own reasons.


Faith may live in a storm, but it will not suffer a storm to live in it. As faith rises, so the blustering wind of discontented troublesome thoughts go down. In the same proportion that there is faith in the heart, there is peace also. They are joined together.


Through faith, Christ removes both fear of death and weariness of life, states St. Hilary. Faith produces patience, calmness and thoughtfulness; and where the habit of quiet thoughts are deepest in the mind, the character is ever most gentle, pure and devout.


Christ decreed that the way to obtain the gift of faith from God is through a life of prayer, fasting and good works. Let us just see the first, prayer.


The habit of prayer builds up faith. St. Augustine says, and disposes us to trust in the Lord rather than in ourselves. And where there is no faith, there is no prayer. Who would pray for something he did not believe in: "But how can people call on him in whom they do not believe." Thus, prayer produces faith and faith improves prayer.  If and when we reach prayer with perfect faith, then "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."


We must believe, then, in order to pray; and we must pray that faith may not fail us. Faith gives rise to prayer and this prayer obtains an increase of faith. Faith gives rise to prayer and is in turn strengthened by prayer. It was to guard against their faith failing in times of temptation that the Lord told His disciples: "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation."


The importance of prayer for the acquiring, maintenance and preservation and perfection of faith was shown by Christ. But prayer is not enough; there must also be fasting and good works.







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