Lumen Fidei: Claiming the Community


In paragraph 45 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis makes a point about the Profession of Faith that I hadn't previously considered: the Creed isn't simply a statement of abstract belief, to which we give assent. In it, we are making claims about God and claims about our relationship to Him and to other Christians; and we are truly claiming a place in that community:The creed does not only involve giving one’s assent to a body of abstract truths; rather, when it is recited the whole of life is d … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: The Gift of Baptism

Baptism of Christ

 In chapter 3 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis is talking about the role of the sacraments in the life of faith. In paragraphs 41 through 43, he talks specifically about the sacrament of baptism, and makes several salient points.First, baptism is a communal thing: it is how the faith is passed on: Baptism makes us see, then, that faith is not the achievement of isolated individuals; it is not an act which someone can perform on his own, but rather something which must be received by … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: The Crystallized Love of God

St. Thomas and the Eucharist

In paragraph 40 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis repeats something that cannot be too often said: that Christian faith is not simply assent to a doctrine, but rather knowledge of and trust in the Living God.Faith, in fact, needs a setting in which it can be witnessed to and communicated, a means which is suitable and proportionate to what is communicated. For transmitting a purely doctrinal content, an idea might suffice, or perhaps a book, or the repetition of a spoken message. But what is … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: It Ain’t A Game of Telephone


In last week's selection from Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis talked about how faith spreads from one person to another, as light spreads from one candle to another at the Easter Vigil mass. In paragraphs 38 and 39, he talks about this light spreads through time, from generation to generation:The transmission of the faith not only brings light to men and women in every place; it travels through time, passing from one generation to another. Because faith is born of an encounter which takes place … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: The Light That Spreads and Blazes


Chapter 3 of Lumen Fidei (yes, we've finally made it to Chapter 3!) is about the spread of the faith, which goes from person to person as light reflects from one surface to another.  Pope Francis describes it thus:It is a light reflected from one face to another, even as Moses himself bore a reflection of God’s glory after having spoken with him: "God… has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2 Cor 4:6). The light of Christ shines … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: The Humility of Theology

street light

Theology, everyone knows, is the study of things divine, or, at least, the study of things human beings have called divine. More cynically, one might say that theology is what is taught in the theology departments of large universities, or in other words, things that men have made up about God in order to get tenure.But Catholic theology, properly understood, is no such thing. In Catholic terms, theology is the study of the God who is, a God who isn't merely a subject to be studied but a … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: The Pursuit of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful

Church interior

Continuing with Paragraph 35 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis talks about those who seek God through the light of faith, even though they haven't yet found Him. He says,Because faith is a way, it also has to do with the lives of those men and women who, though not believers, nonetheless desire to believe and continue to seek. To the extent that they are open to love and set out with whatever light they can find, they are already, even without knowing it, on the path leading to faith..... … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: Mirroring God

Mirror face

In paragraph 35 of Lumen Fidei I find this interesting comment. Pope Francis is saying that the light of faith in Christ illuminates the path of all men who seek Him with a sincere heart. He says, speaking of the star that appeared to the Magi,The star is a sign of God's patience with our eyes which need to grow accustomed to his brightness. Religous man is a wayfarer; he must be ready to let himself be led, to come out of himself, and to find the God of perpetual surprises. This … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: Remounting My Hobby Horse

man watching galaxy

One of my hobby horses is the relationship between faith and reason in general, and between faith and science in particular. God is truth; the cosmos (the universe, the multiverse, the succession of Big Bangs and Big Crunches, or whatever else it turns out to be in its entirety) is God's creation; God's revelation and our observations of objective reality cannot, in the end, be in conflict. Our scientific theories are not perfect; there is always the possibility of going deeper, of … [Read more...]