Faith outline

This reading is in support of the St Thomas mission to support the Year of Faith and the Holy Father’s call for mission.

In the first third of the Pope’s letter PORTA FIDEI or Dorr of Faith is a description of the joys, blessings, and beauty of faith and the fulfillment that can be achieved through this internal process of renewal.

Benedict quotes Pope Paul the VI, who called for such a mission in 1967.  Paul VI thought of the mission as a solemn moment for the whole Church to make “an authentic and sincere profession of the same faith”; moreover, he wanted this to be confirmed in a way that was “individual and collective, free and conscious, inward and outward, humble and frank”.  He thought that in this way the whole Church could re-appropriate “exact knowledge of the faith, so as to reinvigorate it, purify it, confirm it, and confess it”

To further quote from the letter, the Pope states “Faith grows when it is lived as an experience of love received and when it is communicated as an experience of grace and joy. It makes us fruitful, because it expands our hearts in hope and enables us to bear life-giving witness: indeed, it opens the hearts and minds of those who listen to respond to the Lord’s invitation to adhere to his word and become his disciples.

Believers, so Saint Augustine tells us, “strengthen themselves by believing”.  The saintly Bishop of Hippo had good reason to express himself in this way. As we know, his life was a continual search for the beauty of the faith until such time as his heart would find rest in God.

Many of us, who proclaim faith still search.  Many are not yet aware that they desire to search.  Many of us fail to recognize the power and strength, which rises to comfort and protect us as we transition from “I believe” to “We believe”.  

In the bible we see many who demonstrate the absolute resolution of faith.  Benedict has outlined examples for us in his letter:

By faith, Mary accepted the Angel’s word and believed the message that she was to become the Mother of God in the obedience of her devotion

By faith, the Apostles left everything to follow their Master.

By faith, the disciples formed the first community, gathered around the teaching of the Apostles, in prayer, in celebration of the Eucharist, holding their possessions in common so as to meet the needs of the brethren

By faith, the martyrs gave their lives, bearing witness to the truth of the Gospel.

By faith, men and women have consecrated their lives to Christ, leaving all things behind so as to live obedience, poverty and chastity with Gospel simplicity.

By faith, across the centuries, men and women of all ages, whose names are written in the Book of Life (cf. Rev 7:9, 13:8), have confessed the beauty of following the Lord Jesus

Will your faith be visible to those around you? Have you put your faith away in a drawer to be taken out on Sundays and brought with you to church?

May we go forward in reflection on how we may strengthen our individual faith by sharing it with others. Letting it show in our daily lives and to those around us.

Thank you for your attention and we welcome your prayers and active participation in this mission. God Bless.