(CATECHESIS, WEDNESDAY GENERAL AUDIENCE, OCTOBER, 2012—FEBRUARY, 2013.)
THE YEAR OF FAITH. WHAT IS FAITH? (2)
OCTOBER 24, 2012
Faith is believing in this love of God that is never lacking in the face of human wickedness, in the face of evil and death, but is capable of transforming every kind of slavery, giving us the possibility of salvation…. And this possibility of salvation through faith is a gift that God offers all men and women. I think we should meditate more often … on the fact that believing in a Christian manner means my trusting abandonment to the profound meaning that sustains me and the world, that meaning that we are unable to give to each other but can only receive as a gift, and that is the foundation on which we can live without fear.
However, we see around us every day that many remain indifferent or refuse to accept this proclamation…. Rejection cannot discourage us. Our faith, even with our limitations, shows that good soil exists, where the seed of the Word of God produces abundant fruits of justice, peace and love, of new humanity, of salvation. And the whole history of the Church, with all the problems, also shows that good soil exists, that the good seed exists and bears fruit.
Yet, let us ask ourselves: where can man find that openness of heart and mind to believe in God who made himself visible in Jesus Christ who died and rose?… The answer: we can believe in God because he comes close to us and touches us, because the Holy Spirit, a gift of the Risen One, enables us to receive the living God. Thus faith is first of all a supernatural gift, a gift of God.
Our journey starts from Baptism, the sacrament that gives us the Holy Spirit…marks our entry into the community of faith, into the Church: one does not believe by oneself, without the prior intervention of the grace of the Holy Spirit, one does not believe alone, but together with one’s brethren.
Faith is a gift of God, but it is also a profoundly free and human act…. Believing means entrusting oneself in full freedom and joyfully to God’s providential plan for history, as did the Patriarch Abraham, as did Mary of Nazareth. Faith, then, is an assent with which our mind and our heart say their “yes” to God, confessing that Jesus is Lord.