We are in the middle of the Year of Faith, but do we realize it? Here in Rome, there is a lot of Year of Faith “stuff” around – kiosks in parishes, conferences, etc. But I’m not sure how much is really happening elsewhere. At the risk of not sounding like a team player, I do wonder if these “theme years” have had their day…
Anyway, what is faith? Number 28 of the very handy Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
Faith is the supernatural virtue which is necessary for salvation. It is a free gift of God and is accessible to all who humbly seek it. The act of faith is a human act, that is, an act of the intellect of a person – prompted by the will moved by God – who freely assents to divine truth. Faith is also certain because it is founded on the Word of God; it works “through charity” (Galatians 5:6); and it continually grows through listening to the Word of God and through prayer. It is, even now, a foretaste of the joys of heaven. (boldfacing and underlining added by me, italics original)
I would like to focus especially on that second sentence: faith is a gift available to those who humbly seek it.
Do you ever pray for faith? Or do you tend to take it for granted?
Faith is not just the end result of an intellectual inquiry. It is not the sum of all of our reasoning, which finally arrives at a conviction about the existence of God and the truth of what he has revealed. Our reasoning supports our faith but it does not produce it.
Think of the man in the gospel: “Lord, I do believe. Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) That was a fine prayer. It is one that we could repeat each day, throughout the day.
We can never take our faith for granted. We must pray for an increase of faith each day – until the day we die. Only then will faith give way to sight and what we have firmly believed on throughout our life, without seeing it, will become visible to us in a most splendid way; so amazing that St. Paul said, “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned upon the heart of man, what God has prepared for those who love Him”. (1 Corinthians 2:9)
* * * * *
Let us pray.
Lord, I believe: I wish to believe in Thee.
Lord, let my faith be full and unreserved,
and let it penetrate my thought,
my way of judging Divine things and human things.
Lord, let my faith be joyful
and give peace and gladness to my spirit,
and dispose it for prayer with God
and conversation with men,
so that the inner bliss of its fortunate possession
may shine forth in sacred and secular conversation.
Lord, let my faith be humble and not presume
to be based on the experience of my thought
and of my feeling;
but let it surrender to the testimony of the Holy Spirit,
and not have any better guarantee than in docility to
Tradition and to the authority of the Magisterium of the Holy Church.