NGUYEN: Faith is the key
August 17, 2021
Have you ever met your great, great, great, great grandparents? Of course not, but we know and believe that they once lived and walked on this earth. We are certain because we have grandparents who gave birth to our parents. If we have grandparents, there must be great-grandparents, and so on.
In the same manner, we come to believe and have faith in God. Not only have we seen the existence of plants, animals and humans in this world, but, more importantly, we have witnessed faith in others when they shared personal stories illustrating how they strengthened their friendship with God, which, in turn, enriched their lives. In this article, we will rediscover the dimensions of faith and how we respond to them.
The two-fold dimension of faith
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, faith is both a gift from God (fides quae) and a human act (fides qua) (CCC# 150, 153). This distinction does not imply that there are two forms of faith, nor that each can exist without the other. On the contrary, they are like two sides of the same coin. One side depicts faith as a gift from God, which refers to Divine Revelation or the content of faith that has been handed down to us through the Church. The other side of the coin, a human act, reveals our response to God’s gift. As we respond to the Giver, we deepen our personal relationship with Him. This relationship is indeed necessary for our justification and salvation. St. James (2:26) declares this necessity: “For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”
Our response to God’s gift
So how might we respond to God’s great gift? True faith in God only comes by the grace of God, so let us:
- Recite the Act of Faith prayer daily. We need “the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth” (CCC#153).
- Reread and reflect on the Gospel passages that recount the many miracles intervened by faith; for example, the woman with the hemorrhage when Jesus said, “Daughter, your faith has healed you” (Mark 5:34); the blind man, “Your faith has healed you” (Mark 10:52); one of the 10 lepers who returned and thanked God, “Rise and go, your faith has healed you” (Luke 17:19); and the Canaanite woman whose daughter was tormented by a demon, “O woman, great is your faith!” (Mt. 15:28).
- Become a living, breathing disciple for Christ in our daily life. Decide how we can share our faith and love of the Gospel with people we know and strangers we meet.
- Pray for those who are serving in parish faith formation throughout our Archdiocese. Pray that their personal encounters with Christ are shared as they hand down the treasure of faith to others. Truly, the unicity of both the doctrine of faith and the personal act of faith is the key to our salvation.
Faith saves. This gift of grace is freely given to all, particularly demonstrated on the cross to the repentant thief when he expressed his personal act of faith to Jesus.
Jesus, in return, assured him, “Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:42-43). This assurance is also ours, as long as we give our assent of faith in God, accept His gracious gift and share it throughout our lives, as did our ancestors.
Sister Maria Goretti Thuy Nguyen, OP, is an associate director with the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.