Virtue – Faith
Faith is our belief that God exists, that He is all-good and all-powerful, and we act according to the conviction that we must follow what He has taught us.
1. Understand Faith
What is Faith?
Faith is the most fundamental part of our relationship with God. Absolutely everything in our life depends on our conviction that God exists, and that He is good.
Through Baptism faith is given to us freely; at that moment God begins an eternal relationship with us. Faith is the bedrock upon which our life of grace is built. However, contrary to common opinion, our relationship with God isn’t based on a single moment of conversion, rather, since faith is about a relationship with an infinite being, our faith can always continue to grow!
We can learn to rely more on God, and He desires to develop a living and intimate relationship with each one of us. Faith pushes us to constantly grow in our knowledge of God and His plans for our lives and to live accordingly.
From the Catechism
CCC 1814: Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself. By faith “man freely commits his entire self to God.”(78) For this reason the believer seeks to know and do God’s will. “The righteous shall live by faith.” Living faith “work(s) through charity.”(79)
The Virtue Lived – St. Teresa of Calcutta
Originally from Albania, in 1928, at the age of 18, Saint Teresa joined the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland. For the next 17 years, she lived as a faithful nun serving as a teacher in India.
One day, during a train ride, God called her on a new mission—to serve the poor of India. Soon afterward, she founded a group of religious sisters called the “Missionaries of Charity.” A life of hardship, misunderstanding, and constant service began, and the devil tempted her to return to her easier life of teaching. Mother Teresa prayed: “Of free choice, my God, and out of love for you, I desire to remain and do whatever be your Holy will in my regard.”
Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta is known for responding with faith to God’s call on two different occasions. She lived by faith in the hardest of lifestyles, caring for the poor, the destitute, and the dying. And towards the end of her life, she revealed that she lived for years in spiritual darkness, guided only by her faith.
Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est, says of Saint Teresa: “time devoted to God in prayer not only does not detract from effective and loving service to our neighbor but is in fact the inexhaustible source of that service.”
2. Virtue In My Life
Questions geared towards self knowledge and personal growth
- Are there things about my religion that are hard to accept or to live by? What are those? Why do I find them hard?
- Is belonging to Christ something that I would be ashamed of in public, or even in front of my friends? Am I ever embarrassed to pray or to talk about spiritual things?
- Are there moments in my life where God has given me special graces to be confident of His presence in my life? DoI sometimes go back to reflect upon these moments or to thank God for them?
- What do I sincerely enjoy the most about God’s presence in my life?
- Am I aware that faith is God’s way of allowing me to make a free choice for him? Do I frequently renew my decision to follow God, even though I cannot see him?
- Who are the people in my life I can rely on to help me grow in my faith? Do I often talk to them about what’s on my heart?
- Are there parts of my faith that I do not understand, but that I have never invested the time to find answers to?
- Do I spend time regularly growing in my knowledge and love for God’s Word or the teachings of the catechism?
- Do I meditate often on the reasons why I believe that God exists?
- When faced with difficulties, do I bring my struggles to God with the confidence of a child?
- Do I often ask God to increase my faith? Do I make little acts of faith in Him, especially after Communion or when reading the Bible?
3. Growing In Virtue
A Prayer for Virtue
Lord, thank You for the gift of faith. I renew my confidence in Your goodness and plan for my life. Today, I decide again to follow You, not knowing where You may lead, but with faith that You are always with me. Amen.
St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta // Pray for us
Practical Tips for Living This Virtue
- Make a list of all the reasons why you believe in God, then another list of all the things you believe about God. Going over these in prayer regularly will help you strengthen your faith. For example:
- I believe in God, because of the beauty of creation.
- I believe about God, that He will take care of my needs.
- Find a good friend who is willing to listen to your questions and doubts about God and life and religion, and prioritize spending time in heartfelt conversation about the things that matter most in life.
- Join a group of like-minded believers either in the parish or with a mission-focused organization. Putting your faith into action and sharing it with others will help you grow stronger.
- Spend time reading good spiritual books. This will help challenge the way you think about the world.
4. Other Resources
CCC 1253: Baptism is the sacrament of faith.54 But faith needs the community of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe. The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop. The catechumen or the godparent is asked: “What do you ask of God’s Church?” The response is: “Faith!”
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. 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.
CCC 153: When St. Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus declared to him that this revelation did not come “from flesh and blood”, but from “my Father who is in heaven”.24 Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him. “Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have 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.'”25
CCC 154: Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit. But it is no less true that believing is an authentically human act. Trusting in God and cleaving to the truths he has revealed is contrary neither to human freedom nor to human reason. Even in human relations it is not contrary to our dignity to believe what other persons tell us about themselves and their intentions, or to trust their promises (for example, when a man and a woman marry) to share a communion of life with one another. If this is so, still less is it contrary to our dignity to “yield by faith the full submission of… intellect and will to God who reveals”,26 and to share in an interior communion with him.
Quotes From Saints
Faith is the ear of the soul. – Clement of Alexandria
God does not ask for our blood, but for our faith. – Cyprian of Carthage
Faith is the union of God with the soul. – John of the Cross
Faith is the proof of what cannot be seen. What is seen gives knowledge, not faith. – Pope Gregory the Great
Whoever does not trust the Lord in small matters is quite clearly an unbeliever in things of greater importance. – Basil the Great
Videos en Español
¡3 pasos para aumentar la fe! – P. Adolfo Güémez, LC
Meditaciones sobre la fe – Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
24 Mt 16:17; cf. Gal 1:15; Mt 11:25.
25 DV 5; cf. DS 377; 3010.
26 Dei Filius: 3: DS 3008.
54 Cf. Mk 16:16.
78 DV 5.
79 Rom 1:17; Gal 5:6.