“Faith,” the Letter to the Hebrews tells us, “is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith needs no proof. Faith requires nothing more than itself. It is this faith that brings so many to our Lord with a request for healing, and it is this faith to which He responds so generously. One notable example is the royal official in the Gospel of St. John (John 4:46-53).
The royal official’s son is dying. He pleads with our Lord “to come down and heal his son” before he dies (John 4:47). Our Lord warns about working signs as proofs, and the father responds with this plea, “Sir, come down before my child dies” (John 4:48). The father’s faith is genuine. He truly believes that our Lord can cure his son. The faith of the father realizes “what is hoped for” and is “evidence of things not seen.” To emphasize this, St. John adds this comment: “The man believed what Jesus said to him and left” (John 4:50). The Lord grants the request and, to show His true power, does so at a distance without even traveling to the house of the royal official. Faith of this sort places us in the hands of our loving Father and what happens next is marvelous to behold.
As a priest, I have seen this so often in countless faithful and holy souls. Many years ago, I recall a visit to an elderly lady to give her the Sacraments of the Church, including the anointing of the sick. She was weak, bedridden, unable to move, but quite alert and able to speak. When I had concluded my visit, I said to her, “I will come back to visit you again later.” To which she answered with words I will never forget, “No, that will not happen here. Tonight, I will be with mother.” In fact, she passed away that night. Who was the “mother” about whom she spoke? Her earthly mother or her heavenly one? What trust! What faith!