Day 23: We Believe (163-169)
Day 23: We Believe
Catechism Paragraphs 163-169
Our Michael Jordan day!! (He was better than Lebron ever will be so don’t @ me!!! 😜)
We have been following Article 1:I BELIEVE in The Response
Paragraphs 163-165 are the CONCLUSION
We will talk about Faith as the beginning of Eternal Life
WE KNOW THIS!!
Faith is an INCREDIBLE GIFT
We actually HAVE the One in whom we BELIEVE
We POSSESS the Lord
HE IS WITH US!!
We profess our FAITH in Him
WE HAVE HIM!!
HE GIVES HIMSELF TO US!!
AT THE SAME TIME…
WE WALK BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT
AT THE SAME TIME…
WE CONTINUE TO WALK IN A WORLD THAT IS BROKEN
IN A WORLD THAT IS STILL FULL OF DARKNESS
We will talk about that today
Then, we jump into Paragraph 166
That is Article 2: WE BELIEVE in The Response
IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT!!
Not only do we profess INDIVIDUAL FAITH
We profess a faith that has been HANDED ON TO US FOR GENERATIONS
We profess a faith that is DEEPLY PERSONAL
BUT IT IS NOT ISOLATED!!
Paragraph 166 says, “Faith is a personal act…But faith is not an isolated act.”
Yes, at times we say, “I BELIEVE”
THAT IS GREAT!!
THAT IS INCREDIBLE!!
There are other times we say “WE BELIEVE”
Every time we say, “I BELIEVE” what is implied is “WE BELIEVE”
Every time we say, “WE BELIEVE” what is implied is “I (PERSONALLY) BELIEVE”
We will talk about not only the faith that EXISTS IN US
The faith we place in the Lord Himself
Also the faith that has been HANDED ON TO US
The faith that WE are called to HAND ON TO OTHERS
THE PERSONAL BUT NOT ISOLATED ASPECT OF FAITH
THE PERSONAL BUT NOT PRIVATE ASPECT OF FAITH
And so let's open up with a prayer
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in heaven,we give you praise. We give you glory. We believe in you. And also as individuals, we can say and I believe in you, Father. We can say I trust you, Jesus. We can say I need you, Holy Spirit. And that's all true. Today we also say we believe, and we need, and we trust you because we're not alone. In fact, Father, this community of people who are listening to this Catechism and striving to learn more and more about you, striving to have faith that seeks understanding, we need your help. We need each other's prayers. And we cannot do this without you. Jesus we know that without you, we can do nothing. So come to our need, come to our weakness, come to our aid with your help. I make this prayer in your name, Jesus Christ. Amen”
So there we are!!
The conclusion of Article 1: I BELIEVE and the beginning of Article 2: WE BELIEVE
The Church highlights and spotlights that we have what we LONG FOR in faith
We POSSESS our Lord
He POSSESSES us
THAT IS SUCH A GREAT GIFT!!
IT IS SO GOOD!!
Paragraph 163 says, “Faith makes us taste in advance the light of the beatific vision, the goal of our journey here below. Then we shall see God ‘face to face’...”
Faith is the BEGINNING of Eternal Life
C.S. Lewis wrote in The Great Divorce
It is an imaginary telling of the DIFFERENCE between HEAVEN AND HELL
One of the characters says, “Those who are in Hell will look back on their whole lives and realize that they were always in Hell. And those who are in Heaven will look back on their whole lives and realize that they were always in Heaven.”
Obviously, we have the CHOICE
We get to CHOOSE Heaven or Hell
C.S. Lewis was trying to communicate that those who walk by faith ALREADY HAVE the beginning of Eternal Life in a certain sense
If we keep saying YES to the Lord then we ARE LIVING HEAVEN NOW
Even in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death…
Even in the midst of tears…
Those who are saying NO to God will find that they didn’t go to Hell at their deaths
They were choosing Hell WITH THEIR LIVES
Does that make sense?
It’s a C.S. Lewis thing
It’s not necessarily a formulation of the Catholic Church
It is a helpful image for what we are learning here
“Faith makes us taste in advance the light of the beatific vision…”
Paragraph 164 says, “Now, however, ‘we walk by faith, not by sight’’...Even though enlightened by Him in whom [we] believe, faith is often lived in darkness and can be put to the test.”
Isn’t that the case?
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US?
Paragraph 164 continues, “Our experiences of evil and suffering, injustice, and death, seem to contradict the Good News; they can shake our faith and become a temptation against it.”
You know what is also a reality?
Not just our experiences of evil and suffering, injustice, and death
BUT EVEN THE EXPERIENCES OF OUR OWN HEART!!
OUR OWN HEART that wants to run away
OUR OWN HEART that says, “No! My will not thy will be done!”
That’s the moment where we are reminded THAT is where we HAVE TO TURN
It is not JUST “I believe”
This is not JUST “My faith”
Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”
We have WITNESSES OF FAITH
We have Abraham and The Blessed Virgin Mary here
Hebrews Ch 11 goes through a pantheon of the Saints of the Old Testament/Old Covenant
Those people who BORE WITNESS to faith EVEN IN THE MIDST of a world FULL OF EVIL AND SUFFERING AND DEATH AND THEIR OWN BROKEN HEARTS
Even at the end of Article 1: I Believe, WE NEVER BELIEVE IN ISOLATION!!
At the beginning of Article 2: We Believe Paragraph 166 says, “Faith is a personal act-the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals Himself. But faith is not an isolated act. No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone.” 🤯
It is a COMPLETE GIFT
It is a PERSONAL ACT
It is NOT AN ISOLATED ACT
If you were to build a wooden chair on your own with no help from anyone whatsoever
That means you wouldn’t just go into the woods with your axe and saw
You would have to actually CREATE AN AXE FROM SCRATCH
You wouldn’t use a carving knife to whittle down the branches to form the legs of the chair
You would have to CREATE
You would have to mine for ore and find metal somewhere to make that axe
People believe that they could live ALONE
NONE OF US COULD REALLY TRULY LIVE ALONE AND THRIVE
Because even those of us who have so little and need so much help
Even those of us who are super strong are always relying on what other people have done
Whether that is in our current situation
Or those who have gone before us and left us a legacy
OR THE DISCOVERY OF FIRE!!
NO ONE CAN BELIEVE ALONE JUST LIKE NO ONE CAN LIVE ALONE
Paragraph 166 continues, “You have not given yourself faith just as you have not given yourself life.” 🤯
What we are called to do is not only RECEIVE the faith that has been handed on to us
What we are called to do is not only BELIEVE in the faith that has been handed on to us
What we are called to do is not only WALK in the faith that had been handed on to us
We are called to PASS ON THE FAITH
Christianity is NOT an individual sport
This is a TEAM EFFORT
This is a FAMILY ENDEAVOR
It is not MERELY I BELIEVE
It certainly IS because it is a PERSONAL ACT
It is ALSO WE BELIEVE
IT IS A COMMUNAL ACT
IT IS A COMMUNAL LIFE THAT WE LIVE
IT IS A COMMUNAL FAITH THAT WE PROFESS
The next thing is Paragraphs 168 and 169
How has faith been handed on to us?
Not by some nebulous idea of The Church
ACTUALLY BY THE CHURCH!!
BY THE CHURCH THAT JESUS HIMSELF HAS FOUNDED!!
We are given faith in BAPTISM
Paragraph 168 says, “It is through the Church that we receive faith and new life in Christ by Baptism.”
That is highlighted by the Baptismal Ritual
“What do you ask of God’s Church?”
“What does faith offer you?”
WE GET THAT THROUGH FAITH AND BAPTISM
SUCH AN INCREDIBLE GIFT!!
Because this gift comes through The Church, we can RIGHTLY SAY that the Church IS OUR MOTHER
God is the AUTHOR OF FAITH
God is the AUTHOR OF EVERYTHING
But since this Eternal Life comes through The Church in a real way, The Church gets to be OUR MOTHER
So we call The Church as HOLY MOTHER CHURCH
Which is a REALLY PROFOUND and REALLY FITTING WAY to describe The Church for us
The Church is both TEACHER (Magister- right? for Magisterium) and MOTHER (Mater)
The Church TEACHES US
The Church MOTHERS US
The Church GAVE BIRTH TO US
The Church FEEDS US
The Church RAISES US
That is one of the reasons why it is absolutely I BELIEVE
IT IS ALSO WE BELIEVE
This community going through Catechism in a Year is like a SUBSET OF THE CHURCH
“I’m a member of Holy Mother Church.”
“I’m a child of The Church.”
Of course, we are children of God the Father
“I’m also a member of this class, this subset of this group of people.”
“Father in Heaven, continue to reveal yourself to me as you have revealed yourself to generations.”
Others who have gone before you and I…
THEY LEARNED THIS!!
THEY WROTE THIS!!
THEY PASSED THIS ON TO US!!
NOW IT IS OUR TURN!!
IT IS OUR TURN TO LEARN!!
IT IS OUR TURN TO GROW IN THIS!!
IT IS OUR TURN TO LIVE THIS!!
IT IS OUR TURN TO PASS THIS ON TO OTHERS!!
THIS IS SO GOOD!!
It is important to recognize that even when we say WE BELIEVE we are also saying THIS IS WHAT I BELIEVE
When we are praying The Rosary and The Apostle’s Creed and say “I Believe” we realize WE ARE NOT ALONE!!
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!
Scripture References & Reflections
- compiled by Andrew Adamany
Bible Translation - RSVCE
CCC 163 "Faith makes us taste in advance the light of the beatific vision, the goal of our journey here below. Then we shall see God "face to face", "as he is". So faith is already the beginning of eternal life"
1 Corinthians 13:12–13
"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
1 John 3:2–3
"Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure."
1 John 5:13
"I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life."
CCC 164 "Now, however, "we walk by faith, not by sight";49 we perceive God as "in a mirror, dimly" and only "in part".50
2 Corinthians 5:6–9
"So we are always of good courage; we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. We are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him."
"Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
"Even though enlightened by him in whom it believes, faith is often lived in darkness and can be put to the test. The world we live in often seems very far from the one promised us by faith. Our experiences of evil and suffering, injustice and death, seem to contradict the Good News; they can shake our faith and become a temptation against it."
"Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
1 Peter 1:6–9
"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls."
"Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who conquers shall not be hurt by the second death.’
CCC 165 "It is then we must turn to the witnesses of faith: to Abraham, who "in hope. . . believed against hope"
"That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants—not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham, for he is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations; as he had been told, “So shall your descendants be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but 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.”
"to the Virgin Mary, who, in "her pilgrimage of faith", walked into the "night of faith" in sharing the darkness of her son's suffering and death;
"And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel,
and for a sign that is spoken against
(and a sword will pierce through your own soul also),
that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”
and to so many others: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith."
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
CCC 166 "Faith is a personal act - the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself. But faith is not an isolated act. No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone. You have not given yourself faith as you have not given yourself life."
"But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God— not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
"The believer has received faith from others and should hand it on to others. Our love for Jesus and for our neighbor impels us to speak to others about our faith. Each believer is thus a link in the great chain of believers. I cannot believe without being carried by the faith of others, and by my faith I help support others in the faith."
"I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may promote the knowledge of all the good that is ours in Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you."
2 Timothy 2:1–2
"You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."
CCC 167 ""I believe" (Apostles' Creed) is the faith of the Church professed personally by each believer, principally during Baptism. "We believe" (Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed) is the faith of the Church confessed by the bishops assembled in council or more generally by the liturgical assembly of believers. "I believe" is also the Church, our mother, responding to God by faith as she teaches us to say both "I believe" and "We believe."
"And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
2 Corinthians 4:13
"Since we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we too believe, and so we speak"
CCC 168 "It is the Church that believes first, and so bears, nourishes and sustains my faith. Everywhere, it is the Church that first confesses the Lord: "Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you", as we sing in the hymn "Te Deum"; with her and in her, we are won over and brought to confess: "I believe", "We believe".
1 Timothy 3:16
"Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion:
He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated in the Spirit,
seen by angels,
preached among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory."
1 Thessalonians 2:13
"And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers."
"It is through the Church that we receive faith and new life in Christ by Baptism. In the Rituale Romanum, the minister of Baptism asks the catechumen: "What do you ask of God's Church?" And the answer is: "Faith." "What does faith offer you?" "Eternal life."
"Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life."
CCC 169 "Salvation comes from God alone; but because we receive the life of faith through the Church, she is our mother: "We believe the Church as the mother of our new birth, and not in the Church as if she were the author of our salvation." Because she is our mother, she is also our teacher in the faith."
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “He who through faith is righteous shall live.”
"After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!”
"She followed Paul and us, crying, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.”
1 Timothy 3:14–15
"I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth."