The Christian faith is not a conditioned, intrigued attitude. The centurion had submitted his servants’ relationship to God: Lord if I’ll say to one of them “Go!” and he goes, if I say (to another) “Do this!” then, he does it. (cf. Mt. 8: 5-13) So even more he entrusted that, when the Lord commended the (evil) spirit to: “Free” (the man)! the spirit will free him, or if Christ will say: “Do not enter this man again!” the spirit will no longer enter.
The centurion had great faith before any miracle was been fulfilled.
Quite often we are guided by facts. We hear, (for instance), that an image of the Mother of God had appeared some-where in the sky. We go there to see it, and maybe we’ll believe. And we do not know what our faith is about….
I was in Chicago (some years ago) to see a weeping icon of the Holy Mother of God. It was in 1987. We were three (Romanian) priests and served the Divine Liturgy for the Romanian nation. During the Liturgy, the Holy Mother of God shed three times tears from her icon. Her garment was soaked in tears. I saw people who came there to see that. And we also saw. Then we forgot. For the faith that rests only on miracles, is weak.
If God strikes you now, for certain you’ll cry out, “Lord!”
If some earthquake or a war will occur now, you’ll cry: “God, save me!” But after the earthquake passes, you’ll forget (God) again.
Apart from this is the faith based on a close spiritual relationship with Christ when you know that you’re nothing without Him and that everything lays in His hands; that He can lay you down or lift you up; He can heal you or else let you perish, He can free you from tragedy or let you be pounded by it.
The teaching is this: do not establish or base your faith on wonders (miracles)! Many times, our Savior appealed to His word, and the sick was healed. The centurion did not need our Lord to first commit a miracle in order that he may believe. Indeed, he only needed Christ to confirm that his servant will be healed. He came to Christ as to One Who he knew will cure his servant, to someone Whom he truly believed in, although he was not a Jew, but a novel Samaritan, a Roman.
When you’re longing for a miracle to happen, you might be saying: “Lord, if You exist, perform this miracle!” And God does not hear you. Or perhaps He will, if your soul really needs it. More so, believe in God before any miracle is to occur! Do not expect miracles, the deepest relationship with Christ is spiritual. Pray to the Lord and be in His presence, have Him abide in you! And God will answer you with His unseen wonders, through the strength of your spirit, rousing your greater understanding of His judgments. Not as we (tend to) understand historically and rationally, but in a deeper spiritual sense, when you see the hand of God in everything.
There are many Great Fathers who have lived a highly elevated spiritual life and God rewarded them with great gifts. They were performing many wonders, but when someone would come to thank them for the miracle, they answered: “It is not me, but Christ Who made it happen. Give thanks to the Lord.”
And Christ was elevating them in His light: either by a halo around their heads, (as Father Benedict Ghius from Cernica had – a great elder from Cernica Monastery now with the Lord – translator note) or that they would (be able) to fly, or move with great speed from one place to another: they were in one place, and within minutes they were many kilometers away. All these were miracles that Christ performed through them and for them, because they had with Christ a (personal) relationship of deep spirituality.
It is that filial relationship when you offer your soul to Christ and He sends you the Holy Spirit, Which works within you. This is beyond any earthly reward.
Your spiritual relationship with Christ, Who deeply dwells in the Christian soul, and the presence of the Holy Spirit in your heart makes you gentle, forgiving, to neither bring anger against your neighbour, but nor to hold it within you; to be a beacon of light for all.
Preserve your relationship with Christ as did the centurion and you’ll receive Godly rewards. Think rightness, and do not allow the evil spirit to win over you. Do not tempt God, but as the centurion cry out ”Lord, say only with Your word and my heart will be healed.” Amen!
By Father George Calciu (taken from “To serve Christ means suffering”, translation by EC)