Faith is essential to our lives as Catholics. But the topic of faith is also something that can cause confusion. Those misconceptions about what this virtue is is can lead to spiritual stagnation.
Father Wojciech Giertych, OP, is the theologian for the Papal Household. Within the pages of his newest book, The Spark of Faith: Understanding the Power of Reaching Out to God, he corrects misunderstandings about what faith is, and instructs the faithful on how to expand their spiritual life.
“Father Giertych’s excellent book is a gift to all of us who seek a deeper relationship with God,” wrote Archbishop Charles Chaput. Here are three reasons that Father Giertych gives as to why this virtue is so central to our lives as Catholics:
1. Faith is an indispensable tool
Saint Paul’s letter to the Hebrews reveals that “Without faith . . . it is impossible to please God. Anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
Father Giertych writes that faith is the indispensable way that we encounter the Lord. “God is not a philosophical fact, known uniquely through an autonomous reason seeking after truth. He is a living God, a personal God, and so He awaits a personal human response,” he explains.
Without this gift, we cannot learn very much about God. “We cannot have a relationship with Him, or, for that matter, we cannot by ourselves develop a friendship with Him or become the recipients of His special, supernatural gifts. For this to happen, or, even more, for the friendly meeting and encounter with God to happen frequently, a kind of realignment needs to occur within us, and this can be accomplished only by God Himself,” Father Giertych writes.
2. Jesus intentionally formed the disciples’s faith
“As Jesus was forming his disciples,” writes Father Giertych, “there were many instances they remembered as a true initiation in the school of faith.”
One instance of Christ’s formation of the disciples can be found in the Gospel of Mark. A storm comes upon the disciples while Christ sleeps. When the disciples wake the Lord up, he calms the storm and a great silence envelops the disciples. “This scene demonstrates the power of faith,” Father Giertych explains. “Faith can calm waves and restless emotions and grants an interior order opening up to God.”
Christ placed a large emphasis on the formation of the disciples. This emphasis reveals the importance of the role of the virtue in our own lives today.
3. Faith ensures we remain in contact with God
“The virtue of faith is infused into the soul by God Himself so that contact between Him and the believe may take place,” Father Giertych writes. This happens initially in our souls during our baptism. But it also occurs in our souls each time we make an act of faith.
“Each time when an act of faith is made, directing oneself towards Christ, there is the touch that was experienced by the woman at Capernaum who suffered from a hemorrhage,” Father Giertych explains. “The power that comes from Jesus fills the soul in such an instance. In every moment of faith directed towards Christ, the outpouring of grace takes place, something that cannot be felt and recognized through conscious experience.”
Father Giertych’s writing brings the wisdom of the early church to today’s culture. He deftly discusses the relationship between faith and reason, and encourages his readers to deepen their prayer life. George Weigel is the Distinguished Senior Fellow and William Simon Chair in Catholic Studies, Ethics, and Public Policy Center. Weigel wrote: “The Spark of Faith is a retreat between two covers, to be savored, prayed over, then shared with friends.”
You can pick up a copy of The Spark of Faith at your local Catholic bookstore or online here.