Faith: A Way of Knowing
Dear Sisters & Brothers in Christ,
This week the readings invite us to ponder faith. We often say, “have faith!” But what do we mean by faith?
First off, faith is a grace, a gift from God, that makes it possible to gain some understanding of all that God has revealed to us, including His desire for our salvation as well as the mysteries of faith. The grace of faith “opens the eyes of our hearts” (Eph 1:18).
But faith is also a human act, a response to God’s gift. What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe because of the authority of God Himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. If we believe when a T.V. weatherman tells us that a bad storm is coming, how much more should we trust in what God Himself has revealed.
St. Anselm said, “Faith seeks understanding.” “Thus, faith demands that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what God has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love” (CCC, no. 158).
Faith is a way of knowing, just as reason is. “Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth” (CCC, no. 159).
Faith is necessary for salvation. “Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation” (CCC, no. 161). Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned” (CCC, no. 183, citing Mk 16:16).
“To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; it must be ‘working through charity,’ abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church” (CCC, no. 162). So, we pray as the apostles did, Lord, “increase our faith.”
Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life,