Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Pope Benedict XVI

1/24/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Christian should not be afraid to go against the grain to live his or her faith, resisting the temptation to conform.

It is the blessed world of faith to which we are all called, to walk without fear following the Lord Jesus Christ. And sometimes it is difficult journey, one that even knows trial and death, but one that is open to life, in a radical transformation of reality that only the eyes of faith can see and enjoy in abundance.

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

Highlights

By Pope Benedict XVI

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/24/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Faith, Abraham, living by faith, counterculture, holiness, year of faith, Pope Benedict XVI


VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - We present the official Vatican Translation of Pope Benedict's Wednesday Catechetical teaching to the Pilgrims who gathered in St. Peter's Square in its entirety below:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In this Year of the faith, I would like to start today to reflect with you on the Creed, the solemn profession of faith which accompanies our lives as believers. The Creed begins, "I believe in God." It is a fundamental affirmation, deceptively simple in its essence, but which opens the infinite world of our relationship with the Lord and with His mystery.

Believing in God implies attachment to him, welcoming his Word and joyful obedience to His revelation. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us, "Faith is a personal act - the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself" (n. 166).

Being able to say that we believe in God is therefore both a gift and a commitment, it is divine grace and human responsibility, in an experience of dialogue with God who, out of love, "speaks to men as friends" (Dei Verbum, 2), speaks to us so that, in faith and with faith, we enter into communion with Him.

Where can we hear God speaking to us? Holy Scripture is fundamental, in which the Word of God becomes audible for us and nourishes our life as "friends" of God. The entire Bible recounts God's revelation to humanity, the entire Bible speaks of faith and teaches us faith by telling a story in which God carries out His plan of redemption and makes Himself close to man, through many luminous figures of people who believe in Him and trust Him, to the fullness of the revelation of the Lord Jesus.

In this regard, chapter 11 of the Letter to the Hebrews is most beautiful, which speaks of faith and highlights the great biblical figures who lived and became a model for all believers: "Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen"(11.1). The eyes of faith are thus able to see the unseen and the heart of the believer can hope beyond all hope, just as Abraham, who Paul says in Romans "believed, hoping against hope" (4.18 ).

In fact I would like to focus my attention on Abraham, because he is the first major reference point when speaking about faith in God, the great patriarch Abraham, role model, father of all believers (cf. Rom 4.11 to 12 ). The Letter to the Hebrews presents him as follows:

"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was to go. By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise; for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and maker is God"(11.8 to 10).

The author of Hebrews refers here to the call of Abraham, narrated in the Book of Genesis. What does God ask of this great patriarch? He asks him to leave, abandoning his country and to go to the country that He will show him, "Go forth from your land, your relatives, and from your father's house to a land that I will show you" (Gen 12:1). How would we respond to an invitation like that? It is, in fact, a departure in the dark, not knowing where God will lead him, it is a journey that calls for obedience and radical trust, which only faith can access.

But the darkness of the unknown is illuminated by the light of a promise: God adds a reassuring word to His command that opens a future of life in its fullness to Abraham: "I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great; ... All the families of the earth will find blessing in you"(Gen 12,2.3).

The blessing in Holy Scripture, is related primarily to the gift of life that comes from God, and manifests itself primarily in fertility, in a life that is multiplied, passing from generation to generation. And the blessing is also connected to the experience of owning a land, a stable place to live and grow in freedom and security, fearing God and building a society of men loyal to the Alliance, "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (cf. Ex 19:6).

So Abraham, in the divine plan, is destined to become the "father of a multitude of nations" (Gen 17.5; cf. Rom 4:17-18) and to enter into a new land to live. But Sara, his wife, is sterile, unable to have children, and the country to which God leads him far from his native land, is already inhabited by other peoples, and will never really belong to them. The biblical narrator emphasizes this, although very discreetly: When Abraham arrived in the place of God's promise: "the Canaanites were then in the land" (Gen 12:6).

The land that God gives to Abraham does not belong to him, he is a stranger and will remain so forever, with all that this entails: having no intentions of possession, always averting their poverty, seeing everything as a gift. This is also the spiritual condition of those who agree to follow the Lord, who decide to leave, accepting His call, under the sign of His invisible but powerful blessing. And Abraham, the "father of believers," accepted this call, in the faith.

St. Paul writes in his Letter to the Romans: "He believed, hoping against hope, that he would become "the father of many nations," according to what was said, "Thus shall your descendants be." He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body as [already] dead (for he was almost a hundred years old) and the dead womb of Sarah. 20He did not doubt God's promise in unbelief; rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God 21and was fully convinced that what he had promised he was also able to do"(Rom 4.18 to 21).

Faith leads Abraham to on a paradoxical journey. He will be blessed, but without the visible signs of blessing: he is promised he will become a great nation, but with a life marked by the barrenness of Sarah his wife; he is brought to a new home but will have to live there as a foreigner, and the only possession of the land that he will be allowed will be that of a piece of land in which to bury Sarah (cf. Gen 23.1 to 20). Abraham was blessed because, in faith, he was able to discern the divine blessing going beyond appearances, trusting in God's presence even when His ways appear mysterious to him.

What does this mean for us? When we say, "I believe in God," we say, like Abraham: "I trust you, I entrust myself to You, Lord," but not as Someone to run to only in times of difficulty or to whom to dedicate a few moments of the day or of the week. Saying "I believe in God" means grounding my life in Him, letting His Word guide each day, in the concrete choices without fear of losing something of myself.

When, in the Rite of Baptism, we are asked three times: "Do you believe?" In God, in Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church and the other truths of faith, the triple response is in the singular: "I believe," because it is my personal existence that reaches a turning point with the gift of faith, it is my life that must change, convert. Each time we participate in a Baptism we should ask ourselves how we live the great gift of faith every day.

Abraham, the believer, teaches us faith, and, as a stranger on earth, shows us the true homeland. Faith makes us pilgrims on earth, inserted into the world and history, but on the way to the heavenly homeland. Believing in God makes us carries of values which often do not coincide with the prevailing fashion and opinion, it requires us to adopt criteria and a conduct which do not belong to the common way of thinking.

The Christian should not be afraid to go "against the grain" to live his or her faith, resisting the temptation to "conform". In many societies God has become the "great absentee" and there are many and diverse idols now in His place, above all possesion. And also the significant and positive progress in science and technology have created in humans an illusion of omnipotence and self-sufficiency, and a growing self-centeredness, which has created many imbalances within relationships and social behaviours.

And yet, the thirst for God (cf. Ps 63.2) has not been extinguished and the Gospel message continues to resonate through the words and deeds of many men and women of faith. Abraham, the father of believers, continues to be the father of many children who are willing to walk in his footsteps and set out in obedience to the divine call, trusting in the benevolent presence of the Lord and accepting His blessing to be a blessing for all.

It is the blessed world of faith to which we are all called, to walk without fear following the Lord Jesus Christ. And sometimes it is difficult journey, one that even knows trial and death, but one that is open to life, in a radical transformation of reality that only the eyes of faith can see and enjoy in abundance.

Saying "I believe in God" leads us, then, to set out, to continually go beyond ourselves, just as Abraham, to bring the certainty that comes from faith: the certainty into our daily reality, that is, the presence of God in history, even today, a presence that brings life and salvation, and opens us to a future with Him for a fullness of life without sunset.

---


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


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


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


Comments


More Europe

Putting best face forward, Krakow, Poland busies itself to host World Youth Day in 2016 Watch

Image of Excitement is in the air in Krakow, Poland. The metropolis is readying itself to host World Youth Day in 2016.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Excitement is in the air in Krakow, Poland. The metropolis is readying itself to host World Youth Day in 2016. As part of the renovations to host the over two million people who are expected to attend, the city has a new airport, improved road and rail links, a ... continue reading


Did a broken heart lead to mass slaughter? Germanwings co-pilot said to be 'depressed' and 'stressed' Watch

Image of Remembered as a friendly and funny personality, Andreas Lubitz had a life-long obsession to become a pilot. There is speculation that he feared his flying license - due to expire in just three months time would not have been renewed on medical grounds.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The willful destruction of himself - along with 149 other, innocent human beings, has the world scrambling for answers. Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who slammed his plane into mountainside earlier this week. Killing everyone onboard, remains a ... continue reading


DEADLY SECRET: Co-pilot of doomed Germanwings flight hid medical condition, authorities say Watch

Image of A terrible tragedy that left 150 people dead may have been the result of a frightened, insecure man hiding a medical condition. Investigators say that Germanwings copilot Andreas Lubitz was keeping an unspecified medical condition secret from others.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A terrible tragedy that left 150 people dead may have been the result of a frightened, insecure man hiding a medical condition. Investigators say that Germanwings copilot Andreas Lubitz was keeping an unspecified medical condition secret from others and had a ... continue reading


CO-PILOT LOCKED CAPTAIN OUT OF COCKPIT: Chilling last minutes of Germanwings Airbus crash revealed Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Investigators have recovered key information from the French Alps wrecked Germanwings Airbus A320's black box and voice recorder. The co-pilot, 28-year-old German, Andreas Lubitz, intentionally locked the captain out of the cockpit and deliberately crashed into a ... continue reading


STANDING FIRM: Nearly 500 British priests urge synod to stand firm on Communion for the remarried Watch

Image of An extraordinary synod last year provoked heated debate on the question of whether remarried Catholics should be permitted to receive Holy Communion, which was a proposal presented by retired German Cardinal Walter Kasper.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Nearly 500 British priests have signed a letter urging those attending this year's family synod to issue a "clear and firm proclamation" upholding Church teaching on marriage. An extraordinary synod last year provoked heated debate on the question of whether ... continue reading


Pope Francis sends message to families of victims in Germanwings' French Alps crash, as black box and cockpit recorder recovered Watch

Image of Families are hit with grief as the search for bodies continues.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

150 people were killed in the tragic Germanwings A320 Airbus crash in the snowy French Alps earlier this week. Pope Francis has come forward with some words of comfort for all those involved in the horrific accident. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis ... continue reading


GAS ATTACK FEARED: Islamist State may launch attack on London's Underground subway system Watch

Image of The 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway killed 13 people. Experts now fear that Islamist State agents returning to the United Kingdom will launch similar offenses.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Islamic State militants returning to the United Kingdom could attack London Underground trains or football matches with chlorine gas. That is the frightening estimation from chemical weapons expert Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a retired head of chemical and ... continue reading


Plane crash in French Alps: All 150 feared dead Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An airplane carrying 150 people crashed Tuesday in the French Alps. All 144 passengers and six crew members are presumed dead. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) A Germanwings Airbus A320 was traveling from Barcelona, Spain to Dusseldorf  Germany. During mid ... continue reading


Spanish priest performs 13 exorcisms on anorexic girl Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Spanish priest and official exorcist of Valladolid, Jesus Hernandez Sahagun was arrested and is now facing charges of gender violence, causing injury and mistreatment, according to the Daily Mail. The priest has allegedly performed 13 exorcisms on the girl, who was ... continue reading


Pope Francis mobbed by cloistered nuns during Naples trip Watch

Image of The prison visit formed part of a very busy day for Pope Francis in the city 150 miles south of Rome.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Mobbed by a group of excited nuns during his visit to Naples Cathedral, a cardinal exclaimed, "They are going to eat him!" Usually observing the rules of "papal enclosure" and rarely allowed to leave their nunneries, the sisters let out of their convents for ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 42:1-7
1 Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14
1 [Of David] Yahweh is my light and my salvation, ... Read More

Gospel, John 12:1-11
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 30th, 2015 Image

St. Peter Regulatus
March 30: Also Peter Regalado, Franciscan reformer. Peter was born at ... 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