A Word in Season
Faith's Eyes See True Reality: Reflections from Chapter One of Lumen Fidei
Again the reality question is preached with verve defending those derided for their faith within modern culture! Lumen Fidei firmly declares that the light of faith is not irrational or fragile, but set on the surest and most powerful foundation: God.
Our culture has lost its sense of God's tangible presence and activity in our world. We think that God is to be found in the beyond, on another level of reality, far removed from our everyday relationships. But if this were the case, if God could not act in the world, his love would not be truly powerful, truly real, and thus not even true, a love capable of delivering the bliss that it promises. It would make no difference at all whether we believed in him or not. Christians, on the contrary, profess their faith in God's tangible and powerful love which really does act in history and determines its final destiny: a love that can be encountered, a love fully revealed in Christ's passion, death and resurrection. (LF 17)
Here the earlier theme delves deeper: It is not only this personal knowing of this God-become-Man in salvation history that grounds Christians, but the believing in him that also empowers them. They participate in the way God sees reality when they are united to Jesus Christ.
Faith does not merely gaze at Jesus, but sees things as Jesus himself sees them, with his own eyes: it is a participation in his way of seeing. In many areas in our lives we trust others who know more than we do. We trust the architect who builds our home, the pharmacist who gives us medicine for healing, the lawyer who defends us in court. We also need someone trustworthy and knowledgeable where God is concerned. Jesus, the Son of God, is the one who makes God known to us (cf. Jn. 1:18).
Far from divorcing us from reality, our faith in the Son of God made man in Jesus of Nazareth enables us to grasp reality's deepest meaning and to see how much God loves this world and is constantly guiding it towards himself. This leads us, as Christians, to live our lives in this world with ever greater commitment and intensity. (LF 18)
The gift of salvation by faith brings with it a most marvelous byproduct, that of seeing and knowing reality better—seeing as Jesus sees—knowing and believing in the power and presence of a triune God.
Seeing as Jesus sees is the faith to see God as our Father.
The phrase "Abba, Father," so characteristic of Jesus' own experience, now becomes the core of the Christian experience (cf. Rom. 8:15). The life of faith, as a filial existence, is the acknowledgment of a primordial and radical gift which upholds our lives. We see this clearly in Saint Paul's question to the Corinthians: "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7). (LF, 19)
Seeing as Jesus sees is the faith that salvation, and all things, are centered on him alone.
Christ came down to earth and rose from the dead; by his incarnation and resurrection, the Son of God embraced the whole of human life and history, and now dwells in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Faith knows that God has drawn close to us, that Christ has been given to us as a great gift which inwardly transforms us, dwells within us and thus bestows on us the light that illumines the origin and the end of life. (LF 20)
Pat Gohn is a Catholic writer, speaker, and the host of the Among Women Podcast and blog. Her book Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood is published by Ave Maria Press. Subscribe to “A Word in Season” via email or RSS.