A Word in Season
New Eyes to See: Reflecting on the Introduction of Francis's "Lumen Fidei"
Encounter—especially encountering the eternal One, Jesus Christ—is an overarching theme in the Gospel stories. Jesus, the face of the Invisible God, comes in search of us, to meet us... in relationship.
Once a person meets Christ, and accepts his invitation of love, they are "transformed by this love," gaining "fresh vision, new eyes to see." It is, indeed, a very personal faith, as well as a corporate one.
One verse from Scripture cited in Lumen Fidei struck me with unusual power, to see it with new eyes.
On the eve of his passion, Jesus assured Peter: "I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail" (Lk. 22:32).
What a momentous statement.
So often Christians think about the action of our prayers being made to God. Yet in this instance, the Lord and the Light of the World, offers an intentional and personal prayer for an arrogant and blundering fisherman in Peter. The gospels have numerous instances of Jesus at prayer. But in this short verse we get a vision of God who prays for us! Jesus has each of us in mind before we utter a word or thought of the heart.
In this clear intercession—I have prayed for you—Jesus pins hope on Peter's faith, but it is not fainthearted. Jesus backs it with his power and light. Jesus entrusts this faith, by turn, on the followers to come after Peter, as they too will be transformed by the light of faith.
I now imagine this word of God applying to me. I see Jesus praying for my faith, the virtue infused at my baptism. To assist me in not failing, Jesus has given me brothers and sisters in the church, along with the graces of the sacraments, to insure it. This, indeed, is the faith born of encounter with Jesus: it brightens one's path, and opens "vast horizons" that lead "beyond our isolated selves towards the breadth of communion." It is a faith that "enriches life in all its dimensions." (LF, par 6)
The gift of faith opens me to receive the light, live in it, and spread it. It leads me, as a driving force, toward communion with God, and with my neighbor, and with the church.
In God's gift of faith, a supernatural infused virtue, we realize that a great love has been offered us, a good word has been spoken to us, and that when we welcome that word, Jesus Christ the Word made flesh, the Holy Spirit transforms us, lights up our way to the future and enables us joyfully to advance along that way on wings of hope. Thus wonderfully interwoven, faith, hope and charity are the driving force of the Christian life as it advances towards full communion with God. (LF, par 7)
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.