Stockyards Fire, Chicago, Illinois
9. What is Faith
Faith is a supernatural gift of God which enables us to believe, without doubting, whatever God has revealed.Faith means belief: to have faith means to believe, and to believe means to take as true something that is said to you, because you consider that the person who says it knows all about it, and would not deceive you or tell you a lie. It does not mean that you know all about it yourself, or that you quite understand what he says; but you believe him because he knows and he understands.
There are two kinds of faith―human faith and divine faith; faith in man's word and faith in God's word. Now what do I mean by human faith? Supposing you told me that you had seen a great fire in the city to-day; naturally, thinking you to be a truthful, honest man, I should at once believe you, because you had seen the fire and knew all about it (I had not seen it, nor did I understand or know how it had been caused). Then I should have human faith―that is, I should believe on the authority of a man. Of course you could deceive me, and might, indeed, be actually deceiving me for some purpose of your own; so human faith is not absolutely to be depended on. If, instead of believing you at once, I were to say, "Well, of course you may be quite correct in what you say, but I did not see that fire, and I do not believe it," this would pain you very much, and you would naturally consider yourself insulted by having your word doubted.
Now let us take faith in God's word, or divine faith. This means believing things which God has said, and believing them on His word, because He has said them. God, we know, is the very Truth. He cannot be deceived as we can nor can He Himself deceive; therefore whatever He says must be true. There are, of course, many things that He has said which we cannot understand because they are above our reason; but God knows all about them, and because He cannot deceive us, we at once believe Him. This is divine faith, or having faith in God's word. If I doubt God's word or say that I do not believe Him, this would be a great sin: it would be accusing God of telling me a lie, and would insult Him very much. The Catechism says that faith is a gift of God. It is He who gives us the power and the good will to believe. We receive the gift of faith in baptism. It is a supernatural gift, because it is given to us to believe truths about God and the next world. Human faith is a natural gift, because it is only used for believing what concerns us in this world. The Catechism asks:
10. Why must you believe whatever God has revealed?
(Tomorrow's Lesson. 😇😇)