A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Fruits of the Holy Spirit: Faithfulness

by Maria Kennedy

by Maria Kennedy

True to one’s words, promises or vows; steady in allegianceDictionary.com

Roger has the gift of faith which he shares with his grandson Matthew. For Matthew’s faith to grow, he needs a practical demonstration. The Holy Spirit’s gift to Matthew lies in the timely appearance of Matthew’s Nana.

It seemed to Matthew that Grandad Roger was always reading the paper. Barbara, however, knew better. Roger, in his retirement, was a man of routine. He only read the paper at specific times - during breakfast with a second reading after lunch which took longer on a Saturday due to the extra volume he had to get through. Barbara was used to it. She could work her way around the reading times as comfortably as smoothed - over pebbles. Barbara simply found herself something else to do until he was done. It was a form of patience.

Matthew, however, found waiting around about as distasteful as eating cabbage. You didn’t do it except under pressure. From his side of the room Matthew could see the top of his grandad’s semi bald - head above the held-up, opened newspaper. Lunch was over and Matthew had a driving need to get on with what was agreed, to go out to the shops. He had money in his pocket and he wanted to spend it as promised.

“What are you reading Grandad?”

“The business section,” Roger replied.

“Anything interesting?”

Roger lowered the newspaper. “Do you really want to know?”

Matthew smiled and nodded. Roger sighed.

“There’s a bloke in here who has found out a way of recycling unwanted glass bottles into pavers. Instead of bottles filling up landfills, they get reused. He has built this bottle crushing machine and now he’s exporting it around the world.”

“We recycle paper at school. We have to put it in a different bin.”

“Come and look at the photo of the man who is helping our environment.”

Matthew sidled up to his Grandad on the couch and looked to where Roger was pointing.

“He’s old Grandad.  He’s as old as ...”

“Yep,” continued Roger, “he’s as old as me. That’s what you were going to say wasn’t it?”

Matthew nodded.

“It just goes to show, someone as old as me is still trying to make a difference. Now there’s a man faithful to his ideas. Nothing gets in his way; even old age doesn’t stop him.”

paper_readerMatthew watched hopefully as his Grandad closed the newspaper, folded it in half, then half again. But it was to no avail. Matthew’s Grandad was simply warming up to another of his favourite pastimes. Talking. “I bet that entrepreneur faced quite a few hurdles developing his bottle-crushing machine. Finance for one. Then there’s getting people to believe in his idea. But I think the worse thing is when the going gets tough and you have to be able to hang in there and carry on.”

Roger turned and looked at Matthew. “I bet there were times when he felt like giving up altogether. But a golden thread kept him attached to his idea and helped him over those difficult times.”

Matthew frowned. His Grandad had just said something unusual. “What’s a golden thread Grandad?”

“A golden thread Matthew is the grace of God. Even when we can no longer be faithful to ourselves, God is always faithful to us.”

“Even in that?” said Matthew pointing at the closed newspaper.

Roger nodded. “Even in making bottle crushing machines. Whenever I get stuck with a problem I always pray to God. It takes faith to believe God is there for you. Sometimes when you have prayed and prayed you wonder if God is there at all. But that’s when God is there more than ever. God always answers our prayers. God is always giving us golden threads in which to weave our lives. That’s my faith. That’s what I believe.”

As much as Matthew appreciated his Grandad sharing his faith what Matthew really needed was to experience faith. Up until now he had faith in his Nana and Grandad’s promise that they would go to the shops after lunch. Now he wasn’t sure. In fact, Matthew was starting to think, the way his Grandad was just sitting there, that they wouldn’t be going out to the shops at all.

Just then Matthew’s Nana came into the lounge from the kitchen. “I’m just going to powder my nose. Are you ready Matthew?”

Roger gave her a puzzled look.

“We’re going shopping in case you’ve forgotten.”Supermarket-shopping-cart

Matthew beamed. It was his Grandad’s turn to look out of sorts.

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