‘Gotta Have Faith.’ What Is It?

‘Gotta Have Faith.’ What Is It? October 31, 2012

There’s is a catechetical reflection in the Year of Faith book Magnificat has out this week. This one in particular I am looking at from Tuesday reflects on this passage of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “With his whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer. Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God, the author of revelation, “the obedience of faith.”

But what is faith, anyway, as a Catholic matter?

“In coming to understand what the theological virtue of faith actually is, we first have to bracket the many meanings of “faith” we might encounter in our daily lives,” Father James M. Sullivan, O.P., writes.

He notes that faith can something supportive, a boost: “To some people “faith” seems to be a sort of confidence: ‘You can do it, I have faith in you.’”

It can be quite generic, even as a religious matter: “For others, it denotes a broad statement of belief such as, ‘I practice the Christian faith,’ forgetting any denominational reference,” the Dominican writes.

What it means as a theological matter is “quite different.” He explains:

What the theological virtue of faith is, however, is quite different from these two examples. Faith, simply put, is our being obedient to what God has revealed to us to be true. Faith unites us to God through what he has chosen to reveal to us, what is necessary for our salvation. We give assent of intellect and will, from our head and our heart, to God, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. The obedience of faith is our hearing God speak to us personally and our freely surrendering to him and to his revelation. We believe in what is spoken to us not because of ourselves but simply because of who it is that is speaking, namely, God himself.

Why is their a Year of Faith in the Catholic Church this year when everyday should be a day of faith? Every year should be a year of faith? Because in other for that to happen — day by day and year by year — we have to know what exactly it is we’re talking about. What is faith? That’s a good way to start getting back to basics. And so here we are. Renewing. Rebuilding. Reconciling out lives with who we say we are. Knowing just who it is we are called to be.

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