Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr Dr Santhosh Sebastian Cheruvally

8/27/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Thus, the transmission of the faith, from the magisterium to the catechist, from parish priest to the parents in the family, from theologians to the teachers in the schools, is a dynamic missionary responsibility for everyone in the present time and in every context.

Lumen Fidei categorically states that faith illuminating life means Christ affecting our life and our convictions. Indeed a christification of our life and commitments, convictions and values are called for. It is in this sense, "Faith in Christ brings salvation because in him our lives become radically open to a love that precedes us, a love that transforms us from within, acting in us and through us." (Cf. Chapter 1, no. 20.) The encyclical is clear: What is communicated in the Church, what is handed down in her living Tradition, is the new light born of an encounter with the true God, a light which touches us at the core of our being and engages our minds, wills and emotions, opening us to relationships lived in communion

Fr Dr Santhosh Sebastian Cheruvally is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Gorakhpur in North India and is currently a  professor of Dogmatic Theology at St Joseph's Regional Seminary, Allahabad, India, affiliated with the Pontifical Urban University, Rome.

Fr Dr Santhosh Sebastian Cheruvally is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Gorakhpur in North India and is currently a professor of Dogmatic Theology at St Joseph's Regional Seminary, Allahabad, India, affiliated with the Pontifical Urban University, Rome.

Highlights

By Fr Dr Santhosh Sebastian Cheruvally

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/27/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Lumen Fidei, Light of Faith, growth, holiness, living faith, piety, Christian living, ALLAHABAD, India, Gorakhpur, St Joseph's Regional Seminary, Fr Dr Santhosh Sebastian Cheruvally


ALLAHABAD, India (Catholic Online) - Given in Rome, at Saint Peter's, on 29 June, the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, in the year 2013, the first encyclical letter of the pontificate of Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei - Light of Faith - serves as both a catechetical and missionary boost to Catholic Christian faith at a time when faith, church life, as well as church structures and authorities, - are being called into question. Sometimes, the questioning itself comes from the dichotomies each contains and carries as both a strength and a weakness.

One must not forget that this papal encyclical letter has a time reference and a context. That is,  some of the things apparently more negative (humanly speaking) which are happening around us, such as; the various church scandals and their aggressive highlighting by the media, the surprising exit of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of a new Pope. These are often greeted with cautious enthusiasm as well as anxiety etc. In fact, the heart of the message which Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith) communicates provides an assurance that both consoles and consolidates the faith community by calling its attention towards a genuine awareness of the gift of faith- who is Christ Jesus Himself.

Pope Francis humorously opined that this encyclical is a work of 'four hands'. This indicated that it contains content from the thoughts of his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI regarding the already set context of the golden jubilee of the Second Vatican Council and the Year of Faith which was already inaugurated. In addition, it has a serial and organic connection to the encyclicals of Benedict XVI - Deus Caritas est and Spe Salvi. In addition, the letter offers the characteristically down to earth teaching style of the present Pope Francis as he infuses the encyclical with his peculiar way of connecting the teaching to the heart of the people and not simply to the head of the people. Even though both are equally important!

The encyclical is brief in length. It has four chapters (Chapter I We have believed in love, cf. 1 Jn 4: 16, Chapter II Unless you believe, you will not receive, (cf. Is 7: 9) Chapter III:  I delivered to you what I also received, (cf 1 Cor 15: 3),  Chapter IV: God prepares a city for them, (cf Heb 11: 16) with a striking introduction that  draws from the sources of two diametrically opposed characters from history, as regards their convictions on faith- namely Justin Martyr and the german atheist philosopher Nietzsche. While the former stands for the apologetic acceptance of the faith- often represented by practicing Christians, the latter stands for the contemporary challenges and questions to the faith and to God.

This presentation, set against the bedrock of the gospel St John, is, for me, the most relevant way of shaking pious Christians out of their slumber in the context of the year of faith. By that, I refer to some who are often overjoyed when things go right in the Church and who become overanxious and, at times,even  self-righteous, when scandals mire the Church. The four titles of the chapters stand out as four four fundamental statements on faith as well as four directions and dimensions by which - and in which -  a Catholic Christian believer has to approach the matter of faith in his/her time and context. The encyclical answers, convincingly and candidly, the matter of faith. That is why I pointed out in the beginning its catechetical nature.  

Hence, Lumen Fidei teaches: Christian faith is centred on Christ; it is the confession that Jesus is Lord and that God has raised him from the dead (cf. Rom 10:9), Cf. Chapter 1, no. 15. What does then love mean for a Christian? Again the encyclical declares: Christians, on the contrary, profess their faith in God's tangible and powerful love which really does act in history and determines its final destiny: a love that can be encountered, a love fully revealed in Christ's passion, death and resurrection. Thus the encyclical has an emphatic Christological centrality as regards faith and lover or charity.

This is the reason that Pope Benedict XVI had already taught that faith and charity go hand in hand. Charity is not thus an Italian dressing on a yummy, scrummy salad. Therefore, social systems and political values are all affected by and aided by Christian heritage and the Church and its structures, including the personal and family life of a Christian. All are challenged by the encyclical. It calls us all to an examination of conscience as to the existence of the dichotomy between faith and charity in our own lives.

The second Chapter, with a reference to the verse from Isaiah, offers a charismatic approach and orientation to faith. Without faith we cannot see God's acts and the power of God in our own life. It also has an opening to the hitherto existing political systems and rational and scientific achievements and searches happening in our age. It offers an uncanny, interreligious richness when it states: God is light and he can be found also by those who seek him with a sincere heart. (Cf chapter 2, no. 35.)

In other words, the Christian faith does not run away or retreat in the face of the political and scientific issues and challenges of the age. In fact, in terms of human welfare and the meaning of life, Christian faith is seen as the mystery of Christ Jesus's involvement in the creation and human pilgrimage of life and its destiny. Christian faith transformatively contributes to the secular goals set by rational and scientific systems and thought. It also daringly corrects them when they turn upon themselves as idols trying to take the place and plan of God. At the same time, the encyclical serves both as a warning and indicator to theologians to do their duty within the framework of enhancing the faith with respect and sensitivity shown to the faith community and to the teachings of the Church.

Moving further, faith is dealt with as dynamic, situating God and human beings, our hearing and our response. Tradition is not to be seen as a nostalgic remembrance of something outgone and outdated. Rather, it contains a living responsibility of passing itself on to another generation. At the same time, tradition should not become an escapist haven or the refuge of the obscurantist, never ready to respect the present time and its unique cries and challenge.

Hence the encyclical is clear: What is communicated in the Church, what is handed down in her living Tradition, is the new light born of an encounter with the true God, a light which touches us at the core of our being and engages our minds, wills and emotions, opening us to relationships lived in communion. (Cf. Chapter 3, no. 40).

Thus, the transmission of the faith, from the magisterium to the catechist, from parish priest to the parents in the family, from theologians to the teachers in the schools, is a dynamic missionary responsibility for everyone in the present time and in every context.

Characteristic of Pope Francis, the encyclical invites Christians to reflect on the natural end of their faith journey and life not just as heavenly city but also of "building in charity a city based on relationships in which the love of God is laid as a foundation."(Cf. chapter 4, no. 51).

Seen within the context of present day political and economic systems, which have also affected the structures and life style of the Church, the letter calls for making faith sensible and available to those outside of the mainstream of the society. Charity and justice, shown in favour of the suffering and the poor, are, in fact, the very essence of the Christian faith.

Francis offers two striking images and figures which the world and the church easily understand but often refuse to follow, because of the inherent "inconvenience" they present to one's own concept of safety in the world. However, Francis has the guts and authority to present them as challenging the stereotypes of faith which become institutionalized so often in formalism and create a 'culture of appointments' which can present hindrances to access rather than facilitate access to faith.

Lumen Fidei thus categorically states that faith illuminating life means Christ affecting our life and our convictions. Indeed a christification of our life and commitments, convictions and values are called for. It is in this sense, "Faith in Christ brings salvation because in him our lives become radically open to a love that precedes us, a love that transforms us from within, acting in us and through us." (Cf. Chapter 1, no. 20.)

-----

Fr Dr Santhosh Sebastian Cheruvally is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Gorakhpur in North India and is currently a  professor of Dogmatic Theology at St Joseph's Regional Seminary, Allahabad, India, affiliated with the Pontifical Urban University, Rome.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Asia Pacific

Same-sex unions by Filipinos abroad will go unrecognized in Philippines Watch

Image of Representatives of the Filipino Catholic Church say they will not discriminate against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Filipinos who marry members of the same sex while abroad will not see the perceived legal benefits in their native Philippines, a government representative says. "Our laws are clear. The Family Code only recognizes the marriage between a man and a woman," ... continue reading


Successor to Mother Teresa dies at 81 Watch

Image of The second among 11 children of a Nepalese Hindu family, who settled in Bihar state of India, Sister Nirmala was born on July 23, 1934. She later graduated from Patna Women's College, managed by Apostolic Carmel nuns.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The successor to Mother Theresa, Sister Nirmala Joshi has died at the age of 81. People all over the world remember her for her selfless dedication to helping the poorest of the poor, as the leader of Missionaries of Charity, or MC, for two consecutive terms. ... continue reading


China's Yulin Dog Meat Festival continues despite global outrage Watch

Image of CFP

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The annual dog meat festival in Yulin, China went on despite a major online campaign to put a stop to the highly controversial event. Protesters campaigning against the event outside a government office, Monday, were disbanded forcibly by unknown men. According to ... continue reading


Sexual inequity in India leads girls to suffer the worst from malnutrition Watch

Image of Those lucky enough to survive, grow up without enough energy, protein, vitamins and minerals, causing their brains and bodies to be stunted which means they cannot fulfill their physical, academic or economic potential.

By Ruhi Kandhari, Thomson Reuters Foundation

When Palak was found barely breathing buried under a mound of soil in an impoverished village in eastern India, doctors who treated the abandoned newborn girl knew that nursing her back to health would not be easy. DHARBHANGA, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - ... continue reading


CHAOS IN THE STREETS: Dozens of zoo animals run wild in the streets after devastating flood in Tbilisi, Georgia Watch

Image of [Photo by: Tinatin Kiguradze]

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Lions, bears, wolves, birds and a hippo were only some of the animals that escaped a zoo after a heavy flooding in Tbilisi, Georgia. The flooding completely destroyed the protective enclosures in the city's zoo. As a result, the capital of Georgia was placed on ... continue reading


19-year-old GIANT TORTOISE takes a stroll through the streets of Tokyo Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bon-chan, a giant tortoise, slowly strolled through Tokyo's streets, to the delight of the many Japanese people he met along his very slow journey. The  3-feet-long, 70 kilograms (150 pounds), male African spurred tortoise, is owned by Hisao Mitani. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


CHILD BRIDE CRISIS: Unprepared young girls forced to marry, have children, undermining nation's future Watch

Image of Densely populated Bangladesh suffers frequent flooding and other natural disasters. The rights group said floods, cyclones and river erosion exacerbate child marriage by pushing families into greater poverty.

By Emma Batha, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Bangladesh must ramp up efforts to tackle its "epidemic" of child marriage -- a problem fueled by the country's repeated natural disasters, rights campaigners said on Tuesday. LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Human Rights Watch (HRW) also called on the ... continue reading


Journalist set on fire in India for controversial Facebook posts Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Police claim journalist, Jagendra Singh, set himself on fire before they arrived to arrest him for posting allegations against Ram Murti Verma, a cabinet minister on Uttar Pradesh's legislative assembly on Facebook. However, according Singh's relatives, he was actually ... continue reading


Straight from the Bible: Resembling the words of Exodus, thousands of real-life toads swarm the roads after storm Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Thousands of toads swarmed an area at Liaoning Province, China after a heavy downpour, hopping out of a lake nearby. The toads were filmed as they populated a certain area on the of Ganjingzi Qu, Liaoning Sheng with a reminiscent view of a Biblical plague written in ... continue reading


Chinese scenic national park to feature world's largest glass-bottom bridge Watch

Image of It is yet another sensational construction on the part of China, but it is definitely not recommended for those with an abiding fear of heights.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is yet another sensational construction on the part of China, but it is definitely not recommended for those with an abiding fear of heights. The scenic national park Zhangjiajie, in the country's Hunan province, is set to open the world's longest and ... continue reading


All Asia Pacific News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 21:5, 8-20
5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 34:7-8, 10-11, 12-13
7 The angel of Yahweh encamps around those who fear ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 8:28-34
28 When he reached the territory of the Gadarenes on ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 1st, 2015 Image

Bl. Junipero Serra
July 1: Miguel Jose Serra was born on the island of Majorca on November ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter