Blog # 282 The Year of Faith ( 2012 - 2013 ) - 4
An important insight into the nature of faith, is the realization that faith is a gift. As gift, faith cannot be bought earned or created through study or desire. Faith must be received. One person or another, or the same person at different stages of his or her life with different circumstances present may be better or less well prepared to receive the gift, but the gift of faith comes to us in no other way than as a gift
I don't think we always realize the importance of defining faith as a gift and consequently do not emphasize this identity of faith strongly and clearly enough in our religious eduction efforts. As a consequence we miss out on some important elements that go along with the process or experience of believing. For example the very word gift implies love, loving and being loved, on the part of both the gift giver and the one receiving the gift. Here is a significant difference from seeing and responding to faith, falsely, as if it were ours under labels such a salary, earnings, an accomplishment , or a reward.
Along with our definition of faith as a gift comes a personal relationhip between the giver and the receiver. The process of believing God should not be treated as a process such as discovering the number of jelly beans in a jar by counting them one by one. In this process the 'revealer' of the information we were seeking is ourselves with no other person required to be present in the room. In the mysterious process of a person coming to a conscious act of faith in God, God, the giver through creation of every creature that exists, always and everywhere present in some way whether we realize this or not, is now present by faith and known as in love with that person, uniquely and by name.
What you have just read is true of course not only with regard to a certain persons's first conscious act of faith but of every genuine conscious act of faith throughout a person's life. How appropriate valuable and joyful it is therefore to maintain a habit of praying the prayer we call an act of faith and which those of us who attended Catholic grade schools and CCD pograms of religious education learned as children. "O my God, I firmly believe that Thou are one God in three Divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I believe that Thy Divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, who canst neither deceive nor be deceived. Amen."
There are other insights with regard to faith that could prove useful in our efforts to make this year a Year of Faith so hang on for Blog # 283 - 5.