Faith you can rely on

It is generally understood and accepted as truth that the average distance between the Sun and the Earth is about 92,935,700 miles. For all those who accept the veracity of this statement one might ask this simple question: How do you know it to be true? It is highly improbable that anyone who believes it to be true has actually stretched a tape measure from here to there yet somehow someone has determined the method for doing just that in such a way and with sufficient certitude and probity that it is considered a proven fact. And thus we accept and believe it to be true.

How Far?

How Far?

What we believe to be true based not on our own authority but on the authority of another who has been deemed competent and veracious is an act of faith. Faith comes in many sizes and flavors but is normatively based on two words: trust and belief. The Old Testament meaning of faith essentially evokes a sense of steadfastness and faithfulness, whether of God towards man or of man towards God. The modern definition describes faith as either 1) confidence or trust in a person or thing, 2) belief that is not based on proof, 3) belief in God or in the doctrines or teaching of religion, 4) belief in anything, or 5) a system of religious belief.

What might readily be surmised from this prescription is that a form of faith is an essential element of everyday life. Throughout our daily lives we both consciously and unconsciously accept and believe as true (have faith in) facts not directly evidenced by our physical senses. What we can also conclude is that the source for what we believe comes from either a human or a divine authority. Human authority is fallible, prone to error, and thus may be refuted or contradicted by subsequent discovery and authority.

Divine authority is infallible because God is perfect truth and Divine faith, derived from Divine authority, can be relied upon with absolute certitude. The Second Vatican Council tells us that “we believe that revelation is true, not indeed because the intrinsic truth of the mysteries is clearly seen by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Who reveals them, for He can neither deceive nor be deceived.”

Saint Paul tells us that “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God, so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.”[1] Paul later writes “But without faith it is impossible to please him, for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”[2]

Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God. At the same time, and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed.”[3] Most importantly, faith is a supernatural gift from God, made “possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit”[4] or as Saint Thomas Aquinas tells us “Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace.”[5]

 

[1] Heb 11:1, 3.

[2] Heb 11:6.

[3] CCC 150.

[4] CCC 154.

[5] Saint Thomas Aquinas, Dei Filius 3.

Deacon Chuck

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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