Dec 30, 2021


“When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Meanwhile the child grew to maturity, and he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him.”  Luke 2:36-40

I was a young student of theology when I first heard of stages of faith. Until this point I think I had focussed on keeping the rules and saying my prayers, reminded by well-intentioned people of the risk of asking too many big questions, and being encouraged by some of them to simply believe because it was the safest way to protect fragile faith.

My discomfort with this was that I did have big questions, and the more I read and the more I learned and the more I prayed, the more and mightier were my questions.

Perhaps I was losing my faith?

To learn that my questioning was a sign that I was ready to grow from good religious practices a more personal robust and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ was a breath of great hope and excitement for me since there is little adventure or vitality present when relationship with God is reduced to religious practice.

And so my journey of faith deepened. I realised that while methods and programmes can be helpful for a beginner, one who is truly seeking Christ will become restless with religious routines and seek to be led in their own unique human experience and environment directly and uniquely by Jesus.

In this confusion the maturation of faith really begins.

Forty years ago an Italian priest spoke of this in a powerful address calling Catholics to grow up to full maturity. He said:

“Perhaps it is useful to remember that in the life of those He calls, God never lets anything happen unless it serves for the growth and maturation of those He has called.” The Long March to Maturity, Luigi Giussani

St. Thomas is a great hero of mature faith for me. I call him the first adult Christian. It’s not the feast of Thomas today – that’s early in July, but  you might appreciate this three-minute reflection on experience and faith filmed a few years ago in the beautiful little church of Hanmer Springs: Thomas & Maturity.


  • These daily Advent / Christmas reflections will conclude on the Feast of the Epiphany this Sunday 2 January 2022.  You can adjust your email preferences signing up for specific FFF resources and emails at the SIGN UP page at this link.


  • Thank you to those who continue to provide financial support for this Food For Faith. If you would like to contribute we would love to hear from you at the SUPPORT FFF page at this link.


  1. At 66 yrs of age, I realise that my growing is not over, and that maturity is not measured by years but by the way I grow In Wisdom and Love!
    As this year comes to an end, I wish you Fr John and all of my FFF companions every blessing for 2022

  2. One of the lessons I learnt before making my First Communion at the age of 7 was to genuflect and pray, ‘ My Lord and my God’. And I think of Thomas saying this, it is a connection with the very beginning and a prayer to strengthen my faith. Was anyone else taught this ?


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts

the teenagers

the teenagers

A few years ago I discovered the wonderful way that God uses my imagination in my prayer.
Such openness to imagination when seeking God does not take us away from reality into fantasy but instead brings me into what is most real and inescapably personal and intimate.



A couple of thousand years ago, a young Jewish woman was going about her normal morning routines, perhaps with a mixture of house and garden work, chatting with parents and neighbours, aware of the local drought, the sickness of a neighbour and annoyed by the neighbourhood’s lack of sleep caused by the Romans’ noisy party the night before, when God broke into her routine and entered her life in a new and powerful way.

the real centre

the real centre

Over the last month I have had the opportunity to work with many people across Aotearoa and further afield. In every retreat and seminar I have been with committed and faith-filled people who often feel as though they are on the periphery of the Church

the adventure

the adventure

It’s easy to make the mistake of seeing life as a treadmill, day after day ups and downs, a movement through time from youth to old age, then death and beyond.
Too often if feels as if we are helplessly captive carried along by the momentum of all that is expected of us and demanded from us, and we risk falling into an existence mode, a daily rhythm of survival, enduring, coping and so the treadmill rolls on.

the bigger picture

the bigger picture

Over the years, and even in recent months, weeks and days, I’ve prayed many prayers which have not been answered as I had hoped.
You’ve probably had the same experience: praying and wondering if and when or how your prayer will be answered.