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Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful Hebrews 10:23

On this the second Sunday of Lent, we continue our reflections on the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love. This is the second part of our study on the virtue of Faith. You can read the first reflection here.

In today’s first reading we are told, “Abram put his faith in the Lord” (Gen 15:6). This was Abram’s response to God’s promise to make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky. Despite the fact that Abram and Sarah were childless and well past childbearing age, Abram believed and trusted that God would keep this promise.

Like Abram, we are called to put our faith in the Lord, to trust in His promises, despite our circumstances. The letter to the Hebrews defines faith:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says “Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God…and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed” (CCC, 150). In other words, we must believe in everything that God has revealed in Sacred Scripture and through his Son Jesus.

The Catechism also says, “faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him” (CCC, 153). So God gives us the ability to believe, we don’t have to muster the strength to believe all on our own.

“God moves us to faith; it is our responsibility to cooperate and consent to His gift,”[1] say authors Fr. Francis Martin and William Wright in their commentary on the Gospel of John. To make this act of faith requires “the grace of God and the interior help of the Holy Spirit” (Dei Verbum, 5).

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8

“For Paul, faith means more than mere mental assent; the Apostle is praying that his readers may believe, trust, obey and be faithful to Jesus, so that he may live in them more and more,”[2] says Dr. Peter S. Williamson in his commentary on St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

Faith is more than intellectually agreeing with something; it must be lived out in words and actions. Jesus says that the litmus test for faith is that “you will know them by their fruits” (Mt 7:20). The apostle James emphatically states, “faith apart from works is barren” (Jas 2:20).

Faith is consenting to and responding to God’s work in us. In the words of Jesus to the sinful woman who anointed His feet with oil, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Lk 7:50).

Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

Act of Faith

O my God, I firmly believe that you are one God in three divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I believe that your divine son became man, 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 you who have revealed them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.

[1] Francis Martin and William M. Wright IV, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture: The Gospel of John (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015), 75.

[2] Peter S. Williamson, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture: Ephesians (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009), 98.