Monthly Archives: July 2013

Salvation by Faith

19.  When we accept the gift of faith, we become a new being as a child of God.  This relationship with our “Abba, Father” Becomes the core of our experience.  When Paul debated the issue of salvation with the Pharisees, he rejects the attitude that we are justified by our own works.  When we live so as to not recognize that all goodness comes from God; when we want to be the source of our righteousness, we soon find ourselves cut-off from the Lord and from others.  “Once I think that by turning away from God I will find myself, my life begins to fall apart. . .Salvation by faith means recognizing the primacy of God’s gift of grace.”

20.  Faith gives us a new way of seeing things.  This way is centered on Christ.  In the Old Testament, Moses tells the Israelites in Dt. 30: 11-14 that God’s command is not too high and not too far away.  In Rom. 10: 6-7, St. Paul interprets the nearness of “God’s word in terms of Christ’s presence in the Christian. . .Faith knows that God has drawn close to use, that Christ has been given to us a great gift which inwardly transforms us, dwells within us, and thus bestows on us the light that illumines the origin and the end of life.”

21.  Those who believe are different because kthey have opened their hearts to a love that transforms.  As a Christian, we can see with Jesus’ eyes; we can share His mind; and we can share in His Sonship, because we share in His love which is the Holy Spirit.  “Without being conformed to Him in love, without the presence of the Spirit, it is impossible to confess Him as Lord.”

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The Fullness of Christian Faith

15.  St. Augustine stated that the Old Testament patriarchs like Abraham were saved by faith in Christ who was yet to come.  All Old Testament threads converge on Christ.  God guarantees His love by sending Christ to us thus Christian faith is faith in a perfect love; love that has the power to change the world.

16.  Christ died for our sake.  Because of this, Christ’s love for us is true and reliable.  By contemplating His death, our faith should grown stronger; receiving such a dazzling light that we can believe completely in His love.  His self-gift of embracing death for our salvation overcomes every suspicion I might have so that I can trust Him completely.

17. “Precisely because Jesus is the Son, because He is absolutely grounded in the Father, He was able to conquer death and make the fullness of life shine forth.  Our culture has lost its sense of God’s tangible presence and activity in our world.. . But, if God could not act in the world, His love would not be truly powerful, truly real. . .It would make no difference at all whether we believed in Him or not.”

18.  We need someone trustworthy and knowledgeable where God is concerned.  Christian faith turns to Christ as our authority.  Faith sees things as Jesus sees them.  Jesus IS the one Who makes God known to us.  St. John brings out the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus in order to truly know and trust God the Father.  We believe what Jesus tells us to be true.  We believe in Jesus when we welcome Him into our lives.  Christian faith is faith in the Word of God made man.  It is faith in a God who entered our human history.  He loves us completely and passionately and He love our world, so that He is constantly guiding it and us to Him.

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The Faith of Israel

12.  In the Book of Exodus, God promises to set His people free and Israel trusts in Him.  Their primordial faith leads them on a long journey and God is presented in the accounts of the journey as a Father.  Israel celebrates God’s mighty deeds by celebrating them and passing the account of them from generation to generation.

13.  The history of Israel shows us how we can be tempted to put our faith in idols.  I think Papa Francis’ own words are beautiful in this passage.  “Idols exist, we begin to see, as a pretext for setting ourselves at the centre of reality and worshiping the work of our hands. . . Idolatry, then is always polytheism, an aimless passing from one lord to another.  Idolatry does not offer a journey but rather a plethora of paths leading nowhere and forming a vast labyrinth.”  Believing in God and having a personal relationship with Him means “. . .entrusting oneself to a merciful love which always accepts and pardons, which sustains and directs our lives, and which shows its power by its ability to make straight the crooked lines of our history.”

14.  We encounter Moses in the faith of Israel.  Moses is the mediator between Israel and God.  He speaks to YHWH on the mountain and then tells others of God’s will.  God describes Israel as “My first-born son,” so that the whole community is seen as one.  Israel must learn to journey together as one.  They show us that through our encounter with other, “our gaze rises to a truth greater than ourselves.”  Accepting God’s free gift of faith calls for humility and courage; the courage to trust.

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We Have Believed In Love–Lumen Fidei–Chapter 1

Abraham, our father in faith

8.  Faith must be witnessed in the Old Testament if we want to understand it.  God reveals Himself to Abraham by speaking to him and calling his name.  Thus, faith takes on a very personal aspect.

9.  God speaks to Abraham a call and a promise.  Abraham’s faith is linked to his steps toward an unforeseen future.  Abraham’s faith is a response to God’s word.  Faith remembers the promise and is therefore bound up with hope.  Abraham doesn’t “see;” he hopes and believes.

10.  God is fidelity; so faith becomes “absolutely certain and unshakeable.”  God’s Word becomes a solid rock and a straight highway.  As St. Augustine explains: “Man is faithful when he believes in God and His promises; God is faithful when He grants to man what He has promised.”

11.  The God Who asks Abraham for complete trust reveals Himself to be the source of all life.  “Sarah your wife shall bear you a son and you shall name him Isaac” (Gen 17:19).  Faith in God helps Abraham realize that his life is NOT a chance happening.  Abraham is the fruit of the Creator; the Origin of all that is.  The Word could raise up a son to one who was barren.  And, so, the Word is a promise of a future beyond death.

Next time:  The faith of Israel

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Introduction to Lumen Fidei

In John’s Gospel, Christ says of Himself: “I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.”

1.  Unlike the Sun-worshippers of ancient times, we worship the Son “who rays bestow life.”  Church tradition speaks of the great gift given by Jesus as Lumen Fidei–the light of faith.

2.  Nietzsche developed his critique of Christianity by advancing the notion that faith is incompatible with seeking. To “modern” man, faith would become an illusion that stands in the way of a liberated humanity and its future.

3.  The light of reason could not penetrate wherever uncertainty was present.  Ultimately, the future “remained shadowy and fraught with fear of the unknown.”  So modern man gives up the search for Truth and is content with smaller truths that are incapable of illuminating good and evil.  The absence of this Light of Truth leads us nowhere.

4.  Lumen Fidei is unique.  It is powerful because it lights up the whole of human existence.  This powerful light come from God and is born from our encounter with a living God.  “Faith, received from God as a supernatural gift, becomes a light for our way, guiding our journey through time.”  It is this light of Faith that Pope Francis begins to consider.

5.  “Christ, on the eve of His passion, assured Peter.  ‘I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail'” (Luke 22: 32)  Presently, we are celebrating the Year of Faith.  Hopefully, this time of grace is helping to renew our joy as believers so we can profess our faith courageously and openly.  A faith centered on Christ and His grace releases power in us so that we could bear witness to Him to the end of our lives.

6.  “The Year of Faith was inaugurated on the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.  This is itself a clear indication that Vatican II was a Council on faith, inasmnuch as it asked us to restore the primacy of God in Christ to the centre of our lives, both as a Church and as individuals.”

7.  The supernatural virtues of faith, hope, and charity are the driving force of Christian life.  Then, Pope Francis asks us, “But what is it like, this road which faith opens up before us?  what is the origin of this powerful light which brightens the journey of a successful and fruitful life?”

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Lumen Fidei

Ok, so I’ve given up on St. James right now and am reading Pope Francis’ new Encyclical: Lumen Fidei.  Also, I have been very busy having a milestone birthday and a week long visit with my sister.  Now, my daughter is visiting for a few days, so I haven’t given much thought to my blog for a couple of weeks.

Only 3 more working days until I come home to retirement which promises to be busier than my non-retirement if the last couple of weeks has been any indication.

So today, to get us started on Lumen Fidei together, I have put together some links to other bloggers, writers, etc. so you can get the “flavor” of the encyclical just like I have.  Then on Monday, we will dive right in.  I want it to be a prayerful and spiritual experience, so you won’t find my “take” on whose writing is better or anything literary at all.  We will take the words for what they mean and hopefully be enriched because of it.  God bless us all!

Links to Others  Actual Encyclical  Summary of Lumen Fidei  Weigel on Lumen Fidei  Father Barron’s commentary  Top 15 quotes from Lumen Fidei according to  15 Easy points from Lumen Fidei from Dr. Taylor Marshall

Happy reading!

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Putting St. James Aside for a While

I’m not sure that I will be completing the study of St. James.  Now that Pope Francis has come out with his first encyclical, I think we might lay St. James aside for a while and read this encyclical.  Besides, with my approaching retirement at the end of the month and family visiting Atlanta this month for my birthday, the time slips away each and every day.  Writing on the blog is becoming a chore rather than a joy this summer.  I will keep on keeping on once I figure out what I mean to do on it.  In the meantime, please pray with me for our Holy Father.

Looking forward to my retirement, my husband (who has been retired for over 3 years) and I are planning things that we can do together and it seems that I will be busier than when I was working.  We are trying to get healthier together, but using the “Y” more and eating meatless.  We will also join the Barrow County Senior Center together.  We want to take advantage of some of their trips, but can only be invited if we attend the Center two days a week.  I will still be working for Georgia Right to Life 8 hours a week but doing it from home.  Praise the Lord.  That hour on the road each way is wearing me and my car out.

Finally, I do want to leave you with a prayer request for me and my husband as we embark on another season of our married life together.  No one has written a book yet on how to survive retirement with your spouse when you have been working your whole life like I have.  He says that as long as I “tone it down” we should get along fine.  My response was (in dramatic fashion) “What do you MEAN, tone it down?”  Enough said.

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