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Weekly Paragraphs for the Holy Sacrament
By Austin Farrer
Dacre Press, Westminster

WHEN the disciples asked Christ to explain his departure and return, he did not explain the nature of these mysterious events, but he stated the principle or purpose of them.  No birth, he says, without the pains of travail, but the birth of the child is well worth the pains.  Unless we agonise at some time over the birth of faith, faith is not ours, it is not a personal possession, it is not the child of our own soul.  Christ leaves his disciples so far and so long as is required for the pains of their travail.  It is not an act of desertion on his part, but a merciful providence.  Darkness and uncertainty, loneliness and spiritual effort are necessary to us, and, taken right, they are the growth of faith.  They are as much the gifts of God as certainty and comfort.  A little while, he says, and I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice; your joy no man taketh from you.