My Highlights and Notes from Lumen Fidei (Part 1)

I finished reading Lumen Fidei a couple days ago and I really enjoyed it.  Pope Francis’ and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s encyclical was a well-articulated diagnosis of the state of faith in the world, today.  Maybe at some point I will write more about it, but for now I will just put down my highlights and notes (in bold & italics) as I read through the 80-page encyclical:

Lumen Fidei and Pope Francis
Lumen Fidei and Pope Francis

… humanity renounced the search for a great light, Truth itself, in order to be content with smaller lights… (LF 3)

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 but from a more primordial source: in a word, it must come from God. (LF 4)

… [a dialogue between] the Roman prefect Rusticus and a Christian named Hierax: “‘Where are your parents?’, the judge asked the martyr.  He replied: ‘Our true father is Christ, and our mother is faith in him'”.  (LF 5)

The Church never takes faith for granted, but knows that this gift of God needs to be nourished and reinforced so that it can continue to guide her pilgrim way.  (LF 6) [My note: That is why the Sacraments are needed.]

Faith is linked to hearing. (LF 8)

God is not the god of a particular place, or a deity linked to specific sacred time, but the God of a person, the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, capable of interacting with man and establishing a covenant with him. (LF 8) [My note: if God is the God of a person, then faith needs to be transmitted by persons.]

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.  (LF 10)  [My note: I can trust in God’s word.]

God ties his promise to that aspect of human life which has always appeared most “full of promise”, namely, parenthood…  (LF 11)

… his [Abraham’s] life is not the product of non-being or chance, but the fruit of a personal call and a personal love.  (LF 11)  [My note: This is true of our lives as well.]

Faith becomes a summons to a lengthy journey.  (LF 12)

God’s love is seen to be like that of a father who carries his child along the way (cf. Dt 1:31).  (LF 12)

… the light of faith is linked to concrete life-stories, to the grateful remembrance of God’s mighty deeds and the progressive fulfilment of his promises.  (LF 12)  [My note: Much like God fulfilling the prayers in my life (i.e. marriage, first child, an international career, etc.)]

The history of Israel also shows us the temptation of unbelief to which the people yielded more than once.  (LF 13)  [My note: we can learn from our elder brothers in the faith.]

In place of faith in God, it seems better to worship an idol, into whose face we can look directly and whose origin we know, because it is the work of our own hands.  (LF 13)

Idols exist, we begin to see, as a pretext for setting ourselves at the centre of reality and worshiping the work of our own hands.  Once man has lost the fundamental orientation which unifies his existence, he breaks down into the multiplicity of his desires; in refusing to await the time of promise, his life-story disintegrates into a myriad of unconnected instants.  (LF 13)  [My note: all of paragraph 13 is a beautiful diagnosis of our spiritual condition.]

Here mediation is not an obstacle, but an opening: through our encounter with others, our gaze rises to a truth greater than ourselves.  (LF 14)  [My note: this is why the Sacrament of Reconciliation is so powerful.]

On the basis of an individualistic and narrow conception of conscience one cannot appreciate the significance of mediation, this capacity to participate in the vision of another, this shared knowledge which is the knowledge proper to love.  (LF 14)

… the patriarchs were saved by faith, not faith in Chris who had come but in Christ who was yet to come, a faith pressing towards the future of Jesus.  (LF 15)

The history of Jesus is the complete manifestation of God’s reliability.  (LF 15)

The word which God speaks to us in Jesus is not simply one word among many, but his eternal Word (cf Heb 1:1-2).  (LF 15)  [My note: what God wants to tell us is so complicated, so difficult for us to hear, that he gave us a whole person as the message — Jesus is not the messenger, he IS the message.]

If laying down one’s life for one’s friends is the greatest proof of love (cf. Jn 15:13), Jesus offered his own life for all, even for his enemies, to transform their hearts.  (LF 16)

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