Excerpts from Lumen Fidei, The Light of Faith, Pope Francis’ First Encyclical (Part 1)

  • The Light of Faith: this is how the Church’s tradition speaks of the great gift brought by Jesus. (§1)
  • [Modern rationalists understood faith] either as a leap in the dark, to be taken in the absence of light, driven by blind emotion, or as a subjective light, capable perhaps of warming the heart and bringing personal consolation, but not something which could be proposed to others as an objective and shared light which points the way. …As a result, humanity renounced the search for a great light, Truth itself…. Yet in the absence of light everything becomes confused; it is impossible to tell good from evil, or the road to our destination from other roads which take us in endless circles, going nowhere. (§2)
  • There is an urgent need, then, to see once again that faith is a light, for once the flame of faith dies out, all other lights begin to dim. (§3)
  • Faith understands that… a word, when spoken by the God who is fidelity, becomes absolutely certain and unshakable…. Faith accepts this word as a solid rock upon which we can build, a straight highway on which we can travel. (§10)
  • The history of Jesus is the complete manifestation of God’s reliability. [T]he life of Jesus now appears as… the supreme manifestation of his love for us. … Christian faith is thus faith in a perfect love, in its decisive power, in its ability to transform the world and to unfold its history. (§15)
  • Our culture has lost its sense of God’s tangible presence and activity in our world. We think that God is to be found in the beyond, on another level of reality, far removed from our everyday relationships. But if this were the case… it would make no difference at all whether we believed in him or not. Christians, on the contrary, profess their faith in God’s tangible and powerful love which really does act in history and determines its final destiny: a love that can be encountered, a love fully revealed in Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. (§17)
  • Christian faith is faith in the incarnation of the Word and his bodily resurrection; it is faith in a God who is so close to us that he entered our human history. Far from divorcing us from reality, our faith in the Son of God made man in Jesus of Nazareth enables us to grasp reality’s deepest meaning and to see how much God loves this world and is constantly guiding it towards himself. (§18)
  • In many areas in our lives we trust others who know more than we do. We trust the architect who builds our home, the pharmacist who gives us medicine for healing, the lawyer who defends us in court. We also need someone trustworthy and knowledgeable where God is concerned. Jesus, the Son of God, is the one who makes God known to us. (§18)
  • In faith, Christ is not simply the one in whom we believe… he is also the one with whom we are united precisely in order to believe. Faith does not merely gaze at Jesus, but sees things as Jesus himself sees them, with his own eyes: it is a participation in his way of seeing. (§18)
  • Faith’s new way of seeing things is centered on Christ. Faith in Christ brings salvation because in him our lives become radically open to a love that precedes us, a love that transforms us from within, acting in us and through us. (§20)
  • We come to see the difference, then, which faith makes for us. Those who believe are transformed by the love to which they have opened their hearts in faith. By their openness to this offer of primordial love, their lives are enlarged and expanded. (§21)
  • …Christ is the mirror in which [those who believe] find their own image fully realized. And just as Christ gathers to himself all those who believe and makes them his body, so the Christian comes to see himself as a member of this body, in an essential relationship with all other believers. … Faith is necessarily ecclesial; it is professed from within the body of Christ as a concrete communion of believers…. Faith is not a private matter, a completely individualistic notion or a personal opinion: it comes from hearing, and it is meant to find expression in words and to be proclaimed.… [Faith] enables us to become part of the Church’s great pilgrimage through history until the end of the world. (§22)
  • For those who have been transformed in this way, a new way of seeing opens up, faith becomes light for their eyes. (§22)

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