Making the impossible possible

When we read the Gospels and study the life of Jesus we quickly discover just how much he enjoyed the use of metaphor, allegory, idiom, and parable to teach his disciples. He was often addressed as rabbi, master, or teacher and was generally granted the deference due to one so titled. What might surprise is how seldom Jesus spoke with any degree of literal exactitude, which begs the question: Why not?

The Visible Power of God

The Visible Power of God

We live in an age where comprehending the cosmos seems comfortable, where the everyday person commands a greater understanding of the laws of nature than anyone living a mere century before. Consider that Calculus is now a normal course of study in every high school, yet was unknown until founded by Isaac Newton and Gottfried Liebniz in the 17th century or consider that today no one would take seriously the notion that the earth is the center of the universe and that the sun and stars revolve around it. We all know better.

Yet even with all the knowledge accumulated through perception and deduction, we find ourselves uncertain in matters that pertain to God. Saint Paul says, “we walk by faith, not by sight[1] whenever we attempt to understand the truth concerning the unknowable and the divine. Our faith is often tested and found lacking because we allow our perceptions of what is real and true to override our faith in God’s truth. What we cannot see, feel, taste, or smell may raise the specter of uncertainty and doubt within our minds. What we cannot perceive and didactically discern demands more than we are willing to believe or trust. Quite succinctly, we place far greater trust in perceptive and cognitive realities than our faith in the truth of God.

Saint Paul tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please him, for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”[2] This is the essential element upon which our faith must rest: “that he exists.” If we believe fully and completely that God exists then our faith is at least the size of a mustard seed and Jesus has told us that with faith so small we can move mountains.

Does Jesus really intend for us to believe that we can literally move mountains? No. He is clearly using a metaphor to describe accomplishing a task that appears to be impossible. Perhaps we can better understand with a couple of examples.

  • On Good Friday, April 9, 1982, when a 1964 Chevy Impala collapsed on her teenage son, Angela Cavallo (a 5’ 8” woman in her 50s) grabbed the side of the car and raised it enough to allow him to be pulled to safety.
  • On September 16, 2010, Bonnie Engstrom gave birth to a stillborn baby boy. A medical team worked for 61 minutes until he began to breathe on his own. The parents prayed and asked Venerable Fulton J. Sheen to intercede for them.

When our faith falters it is because we fail to believe in the power of God. Jesus told his disciples that “for God all things are possible[3] which tells us that if we have faith in God the impossible will always be possible.

[1] 2 Cor 5:7.

[2] Heb 11:6.

[3] Mt 19:26.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

1 Comment

  1. A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. I do believe that you should write
    more on this subject, it may not be a taboo matter
    but generally people do not speak about these issues.
    To the next! Kind regards!!

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