Quotes from Pope Francis’ encyclical Lumen Fidei

Pope Francis the Light of FaithThe following are a few selected quotes from Pope Francis’ first encyclical Lumen Fidei – The Light of Faith.  I urge you to read the full text, as these few quotes are only snippets of wisdom from so much more.

“Those who believe, see; they see with a light that illumines their entire journey, for it comes from the risen Christ, the morning star which never sets.” (#1)

“Yet in the absence of light everything becomes confused; it is impossible to tell good from evil, or the road to our destination from other roads which take us in endless circles, going nowhere.” (#3)

“In God’s gift of faith, a supernatural infused virtue, we realize that a great love has been offered us, a good word has been spoken to us, and that when we welcome that word, Jesus Christ the Word made flesh, the Holy Spirit transforms us, lights up our way to the future and enables us joyfully to advance along that way on wings of hope.  Thus wonderfully interwoven, faith, hope and charity are the driving force of the Christian life as it advances towards full communion with God.” (#7)

“The man of faith gains strength by putting himself in the hands of the God who is faithful.” (#10)

“God ties his promise to that aspect of human life which has always appeared most “full of promise”, namely, parenthood, the begetting of new life… The God who asks Abraham for complete trust reveals himself to be the source of all life.  Faith is thus linked to God’s fatherhood, which gives rise to all creation; the God who calls Abraham is the Creator, the one who ‘calls into existence the things that do not exist (Rom 4:17), the one who “chose us before the foundation of the world… and destined us for adoption as his children.’ (Eph 1:4-5)” (#11)

“Faith is God’s free gift, which calls for humility and the courage to trust and to entrust; it enables us to see the luminous path leading to the encounter of God and humanity:  the history of salvation.” (#14)

“Christian faith is thus faith in a perfect love, in its decisive power, in its ability to transform the world and to unfold its history.” (#15)

“Faith is not a private matter, a completely individualistic notion or a personal opinion:  it comes from hearing, and it is meant to find expression in words and to be proclaimed.” (#22)

“Today more than ever, we need to be reminded of this bond between faith and truth, given the crisis of truth in our age.  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.  Nowadays this appears as the only truth that is certain, the only truth that can be shared, the only truth that can serve as a basis for discussion or for common undertakings.  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… In the end what we are left with is relativism, in which the question of universal truth – and ultimately this means the question of God – is no longer relevant.” (#25)

“Love cannot be reduced to an ephemeral emotion.  True, it engages our affectivity, but in order to open it to the beloved and thus to blaze a trail leading away from self-centredness and towards another person, in order to build a lasting relationship; love aims at union with the beloved.  Here we begin to see how love requires truth.  Only to the extent that love is grounded in truth can it endure over time, can it transcend the passing moment and be sufficiently solid to sustain a shared journey.  If love is not tied to truth, it falls prey to fickle emotions and cannot stand the test of time.  True love, on the other hand, unifies all the elements of our person and becomes a new light pointing the way to a great and fulfilled life.  Without truth, love is incapable of establishing a firm bond; it cannot liberate our isolated ego or redeem it from the fleeting moment in order to create life and bear fruit.” (#27)

“Each of us comes to the light because of love, and each of us is called to love in order to remain in the light.” (#32)

“But if truth is a truth of love, if it is a truth disclosed in personal encounter with the Other and with others, then it can be set fee from its enclosure in individuals and become part of the common good.  As a truth of love, it is not one that can be imposed by force; it is not a truth that stifles the individual.  Since it is born of love, it can penetrate to the heart, to the personal core of each man and woman.  Clearly, then, faith is not intransigent, but grows in respectful coexistence with others.  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.  Far from making us inflexible, the security of faith sets us on a journey; it enables witness and dialogue with all.” (#34)

“The gaze of science thus benefits from faith: faith encourages the scientist to remain constantly open to reality in all its inexhaustible richness. Faith awakens the critical sense by preventing research from being satisfied with its own formulae and helps it to realize that nature is always greater.  By stimulating wonder before the profound mystery of creation, faith broadens the horizons of reason to shed greater light on the world which discloses itself to scientific investigation.”  (#34)

“The Decalogue is not a set of negative commands, but concrete directions for emerging from the desert of the selfish and self-enclosed ego in order to enter into dialogue with God, to be embraced by his mercy and then to bring that mercy to others.  Faith thus professes the love of God, origin and upholder of all things and lets itself be guided by this love in order to journey towards the fullness of communion with God.”  (#46)

“Genuine love, after the fashion of God’s love, ultimately requires truth, and the shared contemplation of the truth which is Jesus Christ enables love to become deep and enduring.” (#47)

“Faith does not draw us away from the world or prove irrelevant to the concrete concerns of the men and women of our time… 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.” (#51)

“The first setting in which faith enlightens the human city is the family.  I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage.  This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24) and are enabled to give birth to a new life, a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom and loving plan.” (#52)

“Promising love for ever is possible when we perceive a plan bigger than our own ideas and undertakings, a plan which sustains us and enables us to surrender our future entirely to the one we love.  Faith also helps us to grasp in all its depth and richness the begetting of children, as a sign of the love of the Creator who entrusts us with the mystery of a new person.”  (#52)

“Young people want to live life to the fullest.  Encountering Christ, letting themselves be caught up in and guided by his love, enlarges the horizons of existence, gives it a firm hope which will not disappoint.  Faith is no refuge for the fainthearted, but something which enhances our lives.  It makes us aware of a magnificent calling, the vocation of love.  It assures us that this love is trustworthy and worth embracing, for it is based on God’s faithfulness which is stronger than our every weakness.” (#53)

“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.” (#54)

“Thanks to faith we have come to understand the unique dignity of each person.” (#54)

“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.  Without insight into these realities, there is no criterion for discerning what makes human life precious and unique. Man loses his place in the universe, he is cast adrift in nature, either renouncing his proper moral responsibility or else presuming to be a sort of absolute judge, endowed with an unlimited power to manipulate the world around him. (#54)

“…it is in weakness and suffering that we discover God’s power which triumphs over our weakness and suffering.” (#56)

“Christians know that suffering cannot be eliminated, yet it can have meaning and become an act of love and entrustment into the hands of God who does not abandon us; in this way it can serve as a moment of growth in faith and love.  By contemplating Christ’s union with the Father even at the height of his sufferings on the cross (cf. Mk 15:34), Christians learn to share in the same gaze of Jesus.” (#56)

“Nor does the light of faith make us forget the sufferings of this world.  How many men and women of faith have found mediators of light in those who suffer!  So it was with saint Francis of Assisi and the leper, or with Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and her poor.  They understood the mystery at work in them.  In drawing near to the suffering, they were certainly not able to eliminate  all their pain or to explain every evil.  Faith is not a light which scatters all our darkness, but a lamp which guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey.  To those who suffer, God does not provide arguments which explain everything; rather, his response is that of an accompanying presence, a history of goodness which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light.” (#57)

“Suffering reminds us that faith’s service to the common good is always one of hope.” (#57)

“In union with faith and charity, hope propels us towards a sure future, set against a different horizon with regard to the illusory enticements of the idols of this world yet granting new momentum and strength to our daily lives.  Let us refuse to be robbed of hope, or to allow our hope to be dimmed by facile answers and solutions which block our progress, ‘fragmenting’ time and changing it into space.  Time is always much greater than space.  Space hardens processes, whereas time propels towards the future and encourages us to go forward in hope.” (#57)

“At the centre of our faith is the confession of Jesus, the Son of God, born of a woman, who brings us, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, to adoption as sons and daughters.” (#59)

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