How often have you heard someone who is dealing with the loss of a loved one or some sort of life crisis say, “I can’t imagine going through this if I didn’t have my faith.” According to St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews 11.1:
“Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” So how is it that we have faith? How is it that we have come to a place where we are able to claim our faith in Jesus Christ and his Church? How is it that we are convinced of God with us and for us? Many people would say that faith was handed on to them from parents or grandparents in union with the Church as they assisted in educating children “in the faith.” But faith is certainly more than education. To have faith is to have hope and believe in things we have never witnessed. So again, where does it come from?
Lest we think that we have faith solely by our own will, we must remember the truth; that faith is first and foremost a gift from our loving and creative God! Do we then need only say we accept it? According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC):
“Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and makes it easy for us to accept and believe the truth.” CCC 153
Here is another example of why I love the Catechism of the Catholic Church, for it so beautifully articulates what we believe as Catholic Christians. Faith is indeed a gift; it is God engaging us through the Holy Spirit and the grace received in our baptism. With the Holy Spirit it is possible for us to open our hearts, our minds, our very being, to the truth that comes to us from the Father through his Son, Jesus Christ.
Faith is ever-changing, ever-deepening throughout our lives as we grow to know more about Jesus and his Church. Think back on your own faith development, when as a child you simply knew that God made you and the world we live in. How much more do you understand today as a teen or an adult? We develop faith in so many ways; prayer, hearing Scripture proclaimed, participating at Mass, in the receiving of the sacraments and in our service to one another. Faith is the lived experience of knowing and believing in Jesus Christ through the gift of grace from the Father. Let us continue to grow in faith with joy in our hearts for the love of God, who with complete wisdom and unconditional love gifts us with His grace that we might not only grow in faith, but reach out to others to share it.
In faith and awe,
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC