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Lumen Fidei

Lumen Fidei

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Lumen Fidei

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  1. Lumen Fidei Two Popes, plus Paul and John try to explain why faith is important

  2. Paul says… • There are, in the end, three things that last: faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor 13:13

  3. Benedict’s Encyclicals • Deus Caritas Est/God is Love (2005) looks at “love” in the Greek “eros” and “agape;” then goes into “caritas,” going out of one’s self. • Spe Salve/Saved in Hope (2007) Response to the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution & Marxism, all of which offered hope but failed to deliver it; then looks at prayer, suffering & hope. Source: Lumen Fidei Study Guide by Jared Dees

  4. Benedict + Francis • Lumen Fidei/Light of Faith 2013 • Francis says Benedict left the first draft • “I have taken up his fine work and added a few contributions of my own.”

  5. Benedict-isms: • Response to modernity. • Response to Enlightenment & modern philosophers such as Nietzsche. • Frequent references to Church Fathers. • Scripture citations take into account a word’s meaning in the original Greek. Source: Lumen Fidei Study Guide by Jared Dees

  6. Francis-isms • Immediacy, such as use of the pronoun “I.” • Quotes from modern authors as well as ancient. • Emphasis on “proceed,” “build,” “confess” (from his first address to the Cardinals) modified to “journey,” “build,” “profess.” Source: Lumen Fidei Study Guide by Jared Dees

  7. Introduction: The Light of Faith • John 12:46: “I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” • 2 Cor 46: "I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness."  • Justin Martyr: "No one has ever been ready to die for his faith in the sun."

  8. Introduction • For a humanity come of age, proud of its rationality and anxious to explore the future in novel ways. Faith appears to some as an illusory light, preventing mankind from boldly setting out in quest of knowledge.  • Nietzsche: Belief is incompatible with seeking. Christianity diminishes the full meaning of human existence and stripping life of novelty and adventure. Faith is the illusion of light, an illusion which blocks the path of a liberated humanity to its future.

  9. Introduction • Slowly but surely, it became evident that the light of autonomous reason is not enough; the future remains shadowy and fraught with fear of the unknown. • Humanity renounced the search for a great light, Truth itself, in order to be content with smaller lights which illumine the fleeting moment yet prove incapable of showing the way. • Everything becomes confused.

  10. Introduction • There is an urgent need, then, to see once again that faith is a light, for once the flame of faith dies out, all other lights begin to dim.  • The light of faith is unique, since it is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence. • A light this powerful cannot come from ourselves, it must come from God. 

  11. Introduction • Faith is born of an encounter with the living God who calls us and reveals his love, a love which precedes us and upon which we can lean for security and for building our lives. • Faith, received from God as a supernatural gift, becomes a light for our way, guiding our journey through time.

  12. Introduction • Faith is a light coming from the past, the light of the foundational memory of the life of Jesus which revealed his perfectly trustworthy love, a love capable of triumphing over death. • Since the risen Christ draws us beyond death, faith is also a light coming from the future and opening before us vast horizons, guiding us beyond isolation to communion.  • Faith does not dwell in shadow and gloom; it is a light for our darkness.

  13. CHAPTER 1: WE HAVE BELIEVED IN LOVE • Abraham: The word spoken to Abraham contains both a call and a promise. • Israel: Faith becomes a summons to a lengthy journey leading to worship and inheritance.  • Jesus: The fullness of Christian faith

  14. Abraham • A call to leave his own land, a summons to a new life. • Faith "sees" to the extent that it journeys, to the extent that it chooses to enter into the horizons opened up by God’s word. 

  15. Abraham • It is a promise: Your descendants will be great in number, you will be the father of a great nation (cf. Gen 13:16; 15:5; 22:17). • Abraham’s faith would always be an act of remembrance. • This remembrance is not fixed on past events but, as the memory of a promise. • The promise is capable of opening up the future, shedding light on the path to be taken.

  16. Abraham • Faith understands that something so apparently ephemeral and fleeting as a word, when spoken by the God who is fidelity, becomes absolutely certain and unshakable, guaranteeing the continuity of our journey through history.  • God’s word, while bringing newness and surprise, is not at all alien to Abraham’s experience. 

  17. Israel • Israel’s confession of faith takes shape as an account of God’s deeds in setting his people free and acting as their guide (cf. Dt26:5-11), an account passed down from one generation to the next.  • Linked to concrete life-stories, to the grateful remembrance of God’s mighty deeds and the progressive fulfillment of His promises. • The history of Israel also shows us the temptation of unbelief. 

  18. Israel • Idolatry is the opposite of faith. • In place of faith in God, it is the work of our own hands. •  Idols are a pretext for setting ourselves at the centre of reality and worshiping the work of our own hands. • In refusing to await the time of promise, a life-story disintegrates into a myriad of unconnected instants.

  19. Israel • Idolatry = polytheism, an aimless passing from one lord to another. A plethora of paths leading nowhere. a vast labyrinth.  • Believing = entrusting yourself to a merciful love which always accepts, pardons, sustains and directs our lives.

  20. Israel • Faith consists in the willingness to let ourselves be constantly transformed and renewed by God’s call.  • Believing in a God who shows His power by His ability to make straight the crooked lines of our history. • In the faith of Israel we also encounter the figure of Moses, the mediator.

  21. Jesus • Christians confess that Jesus is Lord and Messiah (Christos, the anointed one promised to Israel) and that God has raised him from the dead. (Rom 10:9) • Augustine stated that the patriarchs were saved by faith, not faith in Christ who had come but in Christ who was yet to come. • The life of Jesus = God’s definitive intervention, the supreme manifestation of His love for us.

  22. The Nature of God’s Saving Action • Because of “the fall” it’s not natural to have an end in God. (Remember, the language and thought Paul uses are not normal for us.) • Q: Why does humanity need to be redeemed? (Redemption = right relationship between the Creator and all creatures.) • A: We need redemption because of sin. • Q: How does God restore this relationship? • A: Through the cross of Christ

  23. The Nature of God’s Saving Action • As we know, the cross is “a folly to the Gentiles and the stumbling block for Jews.” (Paul says this because of the response and questions to his preaching: “God would not allow this!” • For Jews: “Messiah” is related to the kingship of David and Solomon. (And land: 2 Sam. 7) • For Gentiles: “God wouldn’t allow Himself to be treated this way!”

  24. The Nature of God’s Saving Action • In response, from Christian Jews comes the Passion Apologetic, which goes back to the Old Testament sources and shows such a death is in accord with the will, purpose and providence of God. • From Gentiles comes the concept of the Divine Man, as in Achilles, etc.

  25. The Nature of God’s Saving Action • As times move on, acceptance of the cross increases and the emphasis shifts from an apologetic approach to better understanding of the meaning of the cross. • This is called soteriology = Significance of Jesus’ death. • For Paul, the cross represents a brand new relationship between man and God.

  26. The Nature of God’s Saving Action • The early Church is waiting for the Second Coming, anticipating the return of Jesus as an Apocalyptic Redeemer. • Apocalyptic (Literary form): I’m down and out but He’s coming back and He’s going to win and you’re going to lose and I’m going to laugh! • In Mark’s Gospel, every time Jesus is mentioned he is modified as the Son of Man, a title from Daniel’s Apocalyptic.

  27. The Nature of God’s Saving Action • For Mark, discipleship means take up your cross and following Jesus. • In His trial, Jesus says (paraphrasing) “I’m coming back as the Son of Man.” • Hence, the early Christian prayer: “Come, Lord Jesus.”

  28. The Nature of God’s Saving Action • Paul says, “It’s not what you expect.” Paul says, “What God has done He’s done in the past through the cross.” • It was (is) the expectation of many (including us, today) that through Apocalyptic fulfillment, salvation is in the future. • Paul says, “It’s already done; it’s in the past.”

  29. The Nature of God’s Saving Action • Paul knows you are saved already. • So for Paul, the question is, “How do I accept and appropriate this salvation?” (How do I get the power of the cross, which is my restoration to right relationship with God?)

  30. The Nature of God’s Saving Action • Paul starts with a general principle: We need salvation because of sin; there needs to be a saving action. This is the cross. • In Rom. 3:25 Paul uses the Greek word hilasterion = “means of expiation.” • Expiation, not propitiation –as it’s sometimes translated – because God cannot be angry with Himself.

  31. The Nature of God’s Saving Action • Hilasterionis the same word as the Hebrew “Mercy Seat” in the Holy of Holies. It is the seat of mercy where God’s mercy meets mankind’s sin. (See Lv. 16:1-2.) • Paul takes the cross and makes it the Mercy Seat.

  32. The Nature of God’s Saving Action • All men are doomed. • God affects a total change through the cross • How do I get this? The act of the Mercy Seat, expiation and, for me, propitiation is received through faith. • This act, the Mercy-Seat act, is effective in so far as each person responds through an act of faith.

  33. The Nature of God’s Saving Action • Faith = belief in, trust in and obedience to SOMEONE. (NOT some THING.) • It must start with, “I believe IN…” • It does not start with, “I believe that…”

  34. The Nature of God’s Saving Action • Protestants emphasize the “personal relationship with Christ” rather than put emphasis on THINGS. (Especially the laws of the Roman Catholic Church.) • In the 450+ years since Luther, we Catholics have been stuck on resisting the idea that belief “in” Jesus has priority over obedience “to” Jesus’ acts, preaching and the (derived) laws.

  35. The Nature of God’s Saving Action • I believe in  Jesus • I trust in  Jesus • I am obedient to  Jesus’ acts, preaching, teaching, etc. These are THINGS. I am obedient to those “things” because they come from Jesus, someone in whom I trust.

  36. FAITH • For Paul, faith has two parts: • Jesus  gives totally of Himself to God  by accepting the necessity of the cross. • Human beings give totally to God IN CHRIST  by appropriating the effects of the cross.

  37. Faith is a response to someone, not some thing • The effects of the cross are: • 1) Right relationship with God. • 2) A grace-filled state. (For Paul, grace is the transformative power of God in our lives.) • 3) Forgiveness of sins. • 4) Salvation.

  38. JUSTIFICATION • God gives to Jews, the Law. • God gives  to Gentiles, conscience. • We are judged “justified” according to the appropriate standard. • If we found to be righteous we are justified. (Justification by Conscience is how the Catholic Church still understands justification of the non-Baptized.)

  39. JUSTIFICATION • PAUL’S MODEL • Human Being  through faith in Jesus  comes to God  is justified, righteous. • This is why Paul sees no value in the Law. The Law only points out sin. The Law is just a “thing,” it is not an end in itself. • The only universal norm that can be applied is faith in Jesus. Therefore: No salvation outside the Church.

  40. JUSTIFICATION • Even though the truth “subsists” in Catholicism (LG 8) it does not mean the Church uses that truth correctly. • All the elements Christ intended for salvation are present in the Church. • There is no salvation DIRECTLY through competing redeemers.

  41. JUSTIFICATION • “What is the pathway to salvation?” • Protestantism misses the point that TRUTH can apply to everyone. • For Paul, once saved is always saved. We cannot take away what already has happened. • If I appropriate salvation through faith, then I also appropriate what the result of faith in Jesus is all about: Acts.

  42. JUSTIFICATION • The only means of salvation is faith in Christ. (As opposed to the Law.) But Catholics have a broader viewpoint: • There is no other redeemer than Christ. • Salvation only comes for Christ and his Church. • Jesus does not establish the institutional model of the Roman Catholic Church. (Although he did establish a hierarchical model, see Paul’s structure in 1 Cor 12. • Does not mean the Spirit is not at work in other denominations. We as church are superior in that we have the fullness of revelation.

  43. Jesus • Christians confess that Jesus is Lord and Messiah (Christos, the anointed one promised to Israel) and that God has raised him from the dead. (Rom 10:9) • Augustine stated that the patriarchs were saved by faith, not faith in Christ who had come but in Christ who was yet to come. • The life of Jesus = God’s definitive intervention, the supreme manifestation of His love for us.

  44. Jesus • Christ’s death discloses the utter reliability of God’s love above all in the light of His resurrection.  • "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile" (1 Cor15:17).

  45. Jesus • Our culture has lost its sense of God’s tangible presence and activity in our world. • We think that God is to be found in the beyond, on another level of reality, far removed from our everyday relationships.

  46. Jesus • Christians, on the contrary, profess their faith in God’s tangible and powerful love which really does act in history and determines its final destiny. • A love that can be encountered, a love fully revealed in Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.

  47. Jesus • Faith does not merely gaze at Jesus, but sees things as Jesus himself sees them, with His own eyes: it is a participation in His way of seeing.  • We "believe" Jesus when we accept his word, his testimony, because he is truthful. • We "believe in" Jesus when we personally welcome him into our lives and journey towards him, clinging to him in love and following in his footsteps along the way.

  48. Jesus • The self-awareness of the believer now expands because of the presence of another; it now lives in this other and thus, in love, life takes on a whole new breadth. • Here we see the Holy Spirit at work. • The Christian can see with the eyes of Jesus and share in his mind because he or she shares in his love, which is the Spirit. 

  49. The Church • The life of the believer becomes an ecclesial existence, a life lived in the Church.  • The Christian comes to see himself as a member of this body, in relationship with all other believers. • Romano Guardini: The Church "is the bearer within history of the plenary gaze of Christ on the world."

  50. The Church • Faith enables us to become part of the Church’s great pilgrimage through history until the end of the world. • For those who have been transformed in this way, a new way of seeing opens up, faith becomes light for their eyes.