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Faith

The foun­da­tion of all Chris­t­ian virtue and life is faith. Faith is the nat­ur­al pos­ses­sion of all men who are wise and vir­tu­ous. For if a per­son lacks faith in man’s abil­i­ty to know, to do good and to find mean­ing in life; if he does not believe that this is pos­si­ble, prof­itable and wor­thy of man’s efforts, then noth­ing wise or vir­tu­ous can be achieved. The strik­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic of all prophets of doom, apos­tles of despair and preach­ers of absur­di­ty is the absence of faith in man’s capa­bil­i­ties for good­ness and truth, and the absence of faith in the mean­ing and val­ue of life. It is also an absence of faith in God.

Faith in God is the fun­da­men­tal virtue of all the saints. (Cf. Hebrews I 1) The pro­to­type of the, believ­er in God is Abra­ham, the father of Israel.

The promise to Abra­ham and his descen­dents that they should inher­it the world did not come through the law, but through the right­eous­ness of faith.

That is why right­eous­ness depends on faith in order to guar­an­tee it to all his descen­dents… who share the faith of Abra­ham, for he is the father of us all … in the pres­ence of God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into exis­tence the things that do not exist.

No dis­trust made him waver con­cern­ing the promise of God, he grew strong in his faith as he gave glo­ry to God, ful­ly con­vinced that God was able to do what He had promised. That is why his faith was “reck­oned to him as right­eous­ness.” (Gen­e­sis 15:6) But the words “it was reck­oned to him,” were writ­ten not for his sake only, but for ours also. It will be reck­oned to us who believe in Him that raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was put to death for our tres­pass­es and raised for our jus­ti­fi­ca­tion. (Romans 4:13–25)

Faith in God is fun­da­men­tal for the spir­i­tu­al life. And to believe in God is to believe in His Son Jesus Christ as well.

Let not your hearts be trou­bled, you believe in God, believe also in me. (…) Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of my works them­selves. (John 14: 1–11)

Faith in Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the liv­ing God,” is the cen­ter of the Chris­t­ian life and the foun­da­tion of the Church. (Matthew 16:16) It is the source of all wis­dom, pow­er and virtue. It is the means by which man can know and do all things, for “all things are pos­si­ble to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23, Matthew 17:20)

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch can­not bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, nei­ther can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branch­es. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do noth­ing. (John 15:4–5)

Faith, first of all, is “the assur­ance of things hoped for, the con­vic­tion of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) It is con­fi­dence in the spir­i­tu­al capa­bil­i­ties of man and in the good­ness and pow­er of God. It is intel­lec­tu­al assent and exis­ten­tial every­day trust in the promis­es and gifts of God, giv­en to the world in cre­ation and in sal­va­tion in Christ and the Holy Spir­it. Faith itself is a “gift of God” giv­en to all and accept­ed by the poor in spir­it and the pure in heart, who are open to the activ­i­ty of God in their lives. (Eph­esians 2:8)

Gen­uine faith is not a blind leap in the dark, an irra­tional and unrea­son­able accep­tance of the unrea­son­able and the absurd. Gen­uine faith is emi­nent­ly rea­son­able; it is root­ed and ground­ed in man’s rea­son­able nature as made in the image of God. Not to believe, accord­ing to the scrip­tures and the saints, is the epit­o­me of absur­di­ty and fool­ish­ness.

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are cor­rupt, they do abom­inable deeds, there is none that does good.

The Lord looks down from heav­en upon the chil­dren of men, to see if there are any that act wise­ly that seek after God. (Psalm 14:1–2, 53:1–2)

Man was made to have faith in God. Not to believe in God is a per­ver­sion of human nature and the cause of all evils. The weak­ness and absence of faith in God is root­ed in sin, impu­ri­ty and pride. It is nev­er sim­ply the result of an intel­lec­tu­al mis­take or men­tal con­fu­sion. It is always the result of the sup­pres­sion of the truth through wicked­ness, the exchange of God’s truth for a lie, the refusal, con­scious­ly or uncon­scious­ly, to acknowl­edge God with hon­or and thanks­giv­ing. (Cf. Romans 1)

You shall indeed hear but nev­er under­stand, and you shall see, but nev­er per­ceive. For this people’s heart has drawn dull, and their ears are heavy of hear­ing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should per­ceive with their eyes and bear with their ears, under­stand with their heart, and turn to me to heal them. (Isa­iah 6:9–10, Matthew 13:14–15)

The spir­i­tu­al per­son lives “by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Him­self for me.” (Gala­tians 2:20) The spir­i­tu­al per­son is the one who, by the grace of God’s Spir­it, is faith­ful in all things.