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What is faith?

First I will speak about what Faith is not.

When we think about our faith, many of us are quick to think of things like the scriptures, the Creed, the Mass etc – this is what we mean when we say THE faith. We see it as a noun. And sadly, many Catholics (and Christians) are content to stop there. But faith is also meant to be a response, something we do. Faith is not passive, it is meant to be something we live – and something that lives in us.
Faith is meant to live in us as we practice virtue – it’s meant to be a verb. Faith is meant to be alive and active, changing us as we pursue holiness.

Faith is not knowledge. We often think the more we read, the more faith we will have, or the more intelligent we are the more faith we have but it just doesn’t work that way. This is the heresy of Gnosticism – salvation through knowledge. Here’s the problem with this thinking: just because you know something, doesn’t mean you love it.

Let’s say there is a man. He has some knowledge but no faith. He believes that Jesus really existed and he is touched by the blood shed by the martyrs. He sees, but without really seeing. He has not yet met the Person of Christ. Then one day in prayer he suddenly drops to his knees, and a mystery is accomplished as he encounters the Person of Jesus. He falls in love and begins his own faith journey.

So then, what is faith?

Faith is meant to be a personal relationship – a response of a person to a Person. This is the only basic requirement for faith. We don’t have to know everything; we simply have to respond with love. When I think about my spouse, I didn’t know absolutely everything about her when I made the decision to marry her – I didn’t have to know everything to love her.

Faith is actually more certain than knowledge because knowledge is based on our own human capacity to figure things out. Faith isn’t based on our ability to figure things out ; it’s based on God revealing Himself to us, He who can not lie. The human mind is imperfect and can make mistakes, but God is infallible.

Faith is a relationship, it’s a Person.

This post is based on my notes from a series of talks by Michael Dopp at an Advent Mission at our parish. You can find all the posts here:

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This year in the Catholic Church has been declared the year of faith. To a lot of people this seems odd, unnecessary. Why would we as Catholics need a year of faith, don’t we already live that? It would be like if Tim Hortons declared, the year of coffee. We’d all be confused, I mean for them, isn’t every year the year of coffee?

We can say then, that it is a year for us to reach out with faith to others. But, before we can reach the world we HAVE to let God reach us.

Catholics, Christians, just stop and think for a moment, how different would your life be, if you didn’t have faith? How different would your life be, if you really lived and BELIEVED your faith?

Many people discover God’s great love for them, join a faith community and continue to attend, participating in the same manor each week and they are content, but they never go beyond that point. They believe, they hope, they pray, but they never grow. Love is meant to be dynamic. Would it be a good thing if we could say that every single married couple loved each other now with the exact same love they had on their wedding day, if they didn’t love any more or any less but with the exact same love? No! Love is meant to grow with time. And it’s the same in our walk with God.

Regardless of where you are in your walk with God, where you have been together, God has so much MORE He longs to give you.

In this year of faith, God has more. More for you. More for every person in this world.

This reflection is based on a series of talks by Michael Dopp at an Advent Mission at our parish.

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