My Highlights and Notes from Lumen Fidei (Part 3 of 3)

I have a lot of highlights and notes from Lumen Fidei.  Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here.  As before, my own remarks are [in bold & italics].

Faith makes us appreciate the architecture of human relationships because it grasps their ultimate foundation and definitive destiny in God, in his love, and thus sheds light on the art of building; as such it becomes a service to the common good.  … it helps us build our societies in such a way that they can journey towards a future of hope.  (LF 51)  [Pope Francis then goes on to highlight Heb 11:33 and 1 Sam 12:3-5; 2 Sam 8:15.  Specifically, how faith helped the rulers be just and provide wisdom that brings peace to the people governed.]

As salvation history progresses, it becomes evident that God wants to make everyone share as brothers and sisters in that one blessing, which attains its fullness in Jesus, so that all may be one….  Faith teaches us to see that every man and woman represents a blessing for me, that the light of God’s face shines on me through the faces of my brothers and sisters….  Thanks to faith we have come to understand the unique dignity of each person, something which was not clearly seen in antiquity….  At the heart of biblical faith is God’s love, his concrete concern for every person, and his plan of salvation which embraces all of humanity and all creation, culminating in the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  (LF 54)

Here is the concluding prayer for Lumen Fidei:

Let us turn in prayer to Mary, Mother of the Church and Mother of our faith.

Mother, help our faith!

Open our ears to hear God’s word and to recognize his voice and call.

Awaken in us a desire to follow in his footsteps, to go forth from our own land and to receive his promise.

Help us to be touched by his love, that we may touch him in faith.

Help us to entrust ourselves fully to him and to believe in his love, especially at times of trial, beneath the shadow of the cross, when our faith is called to mature.

Sow in our faith the joy of the Risen One.

Remind us that those who believe are never alone.

Teach us to see all things with the eyes of Jesus, that he may be light for our path.  And may this light of faith always increase in us, until the dawn of that undying day which is Christ himself, your Son, our Lord!

My Highlights and Notes from Lumen Fidei (Part 2)

I’d like to continue my notes from reading Lumen Fidei.  There are so many good nuggets of wisdom.  This is Part 2; I posted my first set yesterday.  My goal is to jot them down here and then review them more in depth in the future.  Again, as with the first, my notes are in [bold & italics]:

This love, which did not recoil before death in order to show its depth, is something I can believe in; Christ’s total self-gift overcomes every suspicion and enables me to entrust myself to him completely.  (LF 16)

Had the Father’s love not caused Jesus to rise from the dead, had it not been able to restore his body to life, then it would not be a completely reliable love, capable of illuminating also the gloom of death.  (LF 17)  [If it wasn’t for Christ’s horrible death and glorious resurrection, His saving message wouldn’t have lasted so long.  His self-sacrifice is so compelling.]

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.  (LF 18)  [It is so weird to think that when we are in communion with Christ, that we are His eyes and ears.  We are His hands and feet.]

We trust the architect who builds our home, the pharmacist who gives us medicine for healing, the lawyer who defends us in court.  We also need someone trustworthy and knowledgeable where God is concerned.  (LF 18)  [This is why we ultimately need the Magisterium to help interpret Scripture and define core doctrine.  It’s easy for Christ’s sheep, out of misguided sense of justice to redefine right/wrong to fit with the times.]

To enable us to know, accept and follow him, the Son of God took on our flesh.  In this way he also saw the Father humanly, within the setting of a journey unfolding in time.  Christian faith is faith in the incarnation of the Word and his bodily resurrection; it is faith in a God who is so close to us that he entered our human history.  Far from divorcing us from reality, our faith in the Son of God made man in Jesus of Nazareth enables us to grasp reality’s deepest meaning and to see how much God loves this world and is constantly guiding it towards himself.  This leads us, as Christians, to live our lives in this world with ever greater commitment and intensity.  (LF 18)

In accepting the gift of faith, believers become a new creation; they receive a new being; as God’s children, they are now “sons in the Son”.  The phrase “Abba, Father”, so characteristic of Jesus’ own experience, now becomes the core of the Christian experience (cf. Rom 8:15).  (LF 19)

Paul rejects the attitude of those who would consider themselves justified before God on the basis of their own works.  (LF 19)

The beginning of salvation is openness to something prior to ourselves, to a primordial gift that affirms life and sustains it in being.  (LF 19)

The image of a body does not imply that the believer is simply one part of an anonymous whole, a mere cog in the great machine; rather it brings out the vital union of Christ with believers, and of believers among themselves (cf. Rom 12:4-5).  Christians are “one” (cf. Gal 3:28), yet in a way which does not make them lose their individuality; in service to others, they come into their own in the highest degree.  (LF 22)

Faith is necessarily ecclesial; it is professed from within the body of Christ as a concrete communion of believers.  (LF 22)

In contemporary culture, we often tend to consider the only real truth to be that of technology: truth is what we succeed in building and measuring by our scientific know-how, truth is what works and what makes life easier and more comfortable….  Yet, at the other end of the scale we are willing to allow for subjective truths of the individual, which consist in fidelity to his or her deepest convictions, yet these are truths valid only for that individual and not capable of being proposed to others in an effort to serve the common good.  But Truth itself, the truth which would comprehensively explain our life as individuals and in society, is regarded with suspicion.  (LF 25)  [Again, a great summary of our current spiritual condition.]

[Paragraphs 26-28 talks about how faith can lead to knowledge about truth and love.  Popes Francis and Benedict compare faith-knowledge to the limits of scientific knowledge.]

Faith-knowledge sheds light not only on the destiny of one particular people, but the entire history of the created world, from its origins to its consummation.  (LF 28)

By his taking flesh and coming among us, Jesus has touched us, and through the sacraments he continues to touch us even today… (LF 31)

One who believes may not be presumptuous; on the contrary, truth leads to humility, since believers know that, rather than ourselves possessing truth, it is truth which embraces and possesses us.  (LF 34)

The gaze of science thus benefits from faith:  faith encourages the scientist to remain constantly open to reality in all its inexhaustible richness.  (LF 34)

Anyone who sets off on the path of doing good to others is already drawing near to God… (LF 35)

Faith is passed on, we might say, by contact, from one person to another, just as one candle is lighted from another.  (LF 37)

It is through an unbroken chain of witnesses that we come to see the face of Jesus.  (LF 38)

We come from others, we belong to others, and our lives are enlarged by our encounter with others.  Even our own knowledge and self-awareness are relational; they are linked to others who have gone before us: in the first place, our parents, who gave us our life and our name.  Language itself, the words by which we make sense of our lives and the world around us, comes to us from others, preserved in the living memory of others.  Self-knowledge is only possible when we share in a greater memory.  The same thing holds true for faith, which brings human understanding to its fullness.  Faith’s past, that act of Jesus’ love which brought new life to the world, comes down to us through the memory of others — witnesses — and is kept alive in that one remembering subject which is the Church.  The Church is a Mother who teaches us to speak the language of faith.  (LF 38)

It is impossible to believe on our own.  (LF 39)

The Church, like every family, passes on to her children the whole store of her memories….  The sacraments communicate an incarnate memory, linked to the times and places of our lives, linked to all our senses; in them the whole person is engaged as a member of a living subject and part of a network of communitarian relationships.  (LF 40)

The Eucharist is a precious nourishment for faith:  an encounter with Christ truly present in the supreme act of his love, the life-giving gift of himself.  In the Eucharist we find the intersection of faith’s two dimensions.  (LF 44)  [The two dimensions being “history” and the “supernatural.”]

… the four elements which comprise the storehouse of memory which the Church hands down: the profession of faith, the celebration of the sacraments, the path of the ten commandments, and prayer.  (LF 46)

Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity.  Precisely because all the articles of faith are interconnected, to deny one of them, even of those that seem least important, is tantamount to distorting the whole… hence the need for vigilance in ensuring that the deposit of faith is passed on in its entirety (cf. 1 Tim 6:20) and that all aspects of the profession of faith are duly emphasized.  (LF 48)  [Another reason for the Magisterium (cf. Acts 20:27).]

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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