FAITH

THE VIRTUE OF FAITH

FAITH is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that He has said and revealed to us: faith, refers to the body of saving truth, contained in the Scriptures, Creeds, conciliar definitions, teachings of the Magisterium and the writings of the doctors and saints of the Church. For this reason the believer seeks to know and do God's will. Together with hope and love, faith constitutes the operative side of the life of sanctifying grace in the human person. Just as the entire nature of the person is transformed by the gift of grace, so also are his particular spiritual capacities by faith, hope and love. The life of grace does not introduce additional faculties of intellect and will so that they can function at an entirely new level in knowing and loving God. Thus, the infused theological virtue of faith makes it possible to know God and all that He has revealed. Properly speaking, therefore, the disposition and acts of faith have God Himself as their primary object, and secondarily the various truths about Him that are taught in the Church. It is for this reason that Tradition has taught that we believe in revelation on the strength of God Himself revealing. Nothing less than the First truth itself -- revealed and revealing -- is the proper object of faith. Although primarily a disposition of the intellect, faith nevertheless involves an act of the will. For faith is not like the adoption of a conclusion on the basis of sufficiently compelling evidence and argument: the grace of God is active in moving the will to believe. For this reason, faith is never only intellectual, but also fiducial: One's whole being responds to the revealing God in obedience and trust. The disciple of Christ must not only keep the faith and live it, but also profess it, confidently bearing witness to it, and spreading it: "All however must be prepared to confess Christ... and to follow Him along the way of the Cross, amidst the persecutions which the Church never lacks." Service of and witness to the faith are necessary for salvation: "So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven."(Matt 10:32-33)