Thursday, July 21, 2011

What is faith?

" For by grace you are saved through faith,and that not of yourselves,for it is the gift of God."(Ephesians2:8)

There is no way to understand Christianity than by beginning to understand the concept of faith.Faith is a
supernatural virtue,and a gift from God,freely given and freely to be received (or rejected)by man.By faith,
man completely submits his intellect and his will to God.Sacred scripture calls this human response to God
"the obedience of Faith,"Faith enables us to believe the truths revealed by God about himself that are contained
in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. We could never know this truths about God on our own, since they
transcend the power of reason.

Though faith is above human 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.Faith,therefore,presupposes reason.Faith is related to reason as a telescope to the eye,which does not destroy vision,but opens new worlds hitherto closed to it.Let two minds with exactly the same education,one without and the other with faith,look on a peace of unleavened bread in a monstrance. One sees bread, the other adores the Eucharistic Lord.One sees more than the other because he has a light which the other lacks- the light of faith.

How does faith come about? God puts the desire supernaturally in our hearts at Baptism. In order to believed,man needs the interior help of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit awakens faith,he not only gives
of the Word of God, but through the sacraments also makes present the 'wonders" of God which is proclaims. By submitting to God's truth, the mind is enlightened and the will is strengthened. God gives his
Spirit to help us say: "I believe", and then to use us to bear witness to him in every corner of the world.

According to the Gospel of St. Mark,'Jesus final instruction to his disciples presents faith and Baptism together as the only way to salvation : "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned"(Mk 16:16). But , the faith which brings salvation must be seen in every aspect
of our lives,in the way we think and in the way we act.St. Paul sums this up by saying: "Without faith it is impossible to please God." (Heb 11:6).

The challenge we face everyday is how to live our faith more fully.It is then that we must turn to the witnesses
of faith: to Abraham,who " in hope believed against hope";to the Virgin Mary, who walk in " her pilgrimage of
faith"; and to so many others,such as the saints. The truth is that only by walking in faith, can we be more deeply immersed in it; only by offering it up through prayer,sacrifice,love,and good works can God continue to fill us with his heavenly life.

St. Paul said, " Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith "
"Hebrews 12:1-2).