Thought for the Day – 7 April – Easter Saturday, Seventh Day in the Octave of Easter
What is Faith? by Father Richard Frederick Clarke, SJ
Faith is that disposition of our minds which makes us ready to accept all that God has revealed simply because He has revealed it. It is an assent to that which comes to us with God’s authority because it comes with His authority and not because in itself it commends itself to our reason. It is quite satisfied that God has said that this or that is true and it gives its adherence to what He has said without any further question. It thus earns the benediction of those “who have not seen but have believed.” (John 20:29) Have I this simple, unquestioning faith?
Faith is never opposed to reason. It is above and beyond reason but never contrary to it. What God has spoken can never be in contradiction with what our reason tells us is true. It may contradict our ordinary experience, as in the case of miracles; it may seem to set aside the testimony of our senses, as in the case of the Blessed Eucharist; it may require our acceptance of what is beyond the power of reason to grasp, as the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity but it never requires us to believe in an absurdity. Thank God for your faith in the Catholic religion, since all others are ultimately in contradiction with reason.
Yet faith requires us to believe many things that are difficult of belief and that we cannot believe without the help of God. Faith is a gift of God. No amount of searching or inquiry will obtain it. I must humbly pray to God, “Give me a strong faith; increase my faith; make me loyal in my readiness to believe,” if I wish my faith to be that of a true child of the Catholic Church. (Beautiful Pearls of Catholic Truth-1897)
“Of course, this adherence to God is not without content; with it we are aware that God has shown Himself to us in Christ, He has made us see His face and has made Himself really close to each one of us. Indeed, God has revealed thatHhis love for man, for each one of us, is boundless: on the Cross, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God made man, shows us in the clearest possible way how far this love reaches, even to the gift of Himself, even to the supreme sacrifice. With the mystery of Christ’s death and Resurrection, God plumbs to the depths of our humanity to bring it back to Him, to uplift it to His heights. Faith is believing in this love of God that is never lacking in the face of human wickedness, in the face of evil and death but is capable of transforming every kind of slavery, giving us the possibility of salvation.
Having faith, then, is meeting this “You”, God, who supports me and grants me the promise of an indestructible love that not only aspires to eternity but gives it; it means entrusting myself to God with the attitude of a child, who knows well that all his difficulties, all his problems are understood in the “you” of his mother. And this possibility of salvation through faith is a gift that God offers all men and women. I think we should meditate more often — in our daily life, marked by problems and at times by dramatic situations — on the fact that believing in a Christian manner means my trusting abandonment to the profound meaning that sustains me and the world, that meaning that we are are unable to give to each other but can only receive as a gift and that is the foundation on which we can live without fear. And we must be able to proclaim this liberating and reassuring certainty of faith with words and show it by living our life as Christians.”
Pope Benedict XVI – General Audience “What is faith?” – 24 October 2012
“We speak, we cast the seed, we scatter the seed.
There are those who deride us,
those who reproach us,
those who mock at us.
If we fear them, we have nothing left to sow
and on the day of reaping, we will be left without a harvest.
Therefore, may the seed in the good soil sprout!”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church