to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy
Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the
eyes of the mind and ‘makes it easy for all to accept and believe the
Faith is a human act
Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps
of the Holy Spirit. But it is no less true that believing is an authen-
tically human act. Trusting in God and cleaving to the truths he has
revealed are contrary neither to human freedom nor to human
reason. Even in human relations it is not contrary to our dignity to
believe what other persons tell us about themselves and their
intentions or to trust their promises (for example, when a man and
a woman marry) to share a communion of life with one another. If
this is so, still less is it contrary to our dignity to “yield by faith the
full submission of . . . intellect and will to God who reveals,”
to share in an interior communion with him.
In faith, the human intellect and will cooperate with divine
grace: “Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine
truth by command of the will moved by God through grace.”
Faith and understanding
What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed
truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural
reason: we believe “because of the authority of God himself who
reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.”
the submission of our faith might nevertheless be in accordance
with reason, God willed that external proofs of his Revelation
should be joined to the internal helps of the Holy Spirit.”
the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church’s
growth and holiness, and her fruitfulness and stability “are the
most certain signs of divine Revelation, adapted to the intelligence
of all”; they are “motives of credibility” (
show that the assent of faith is “by no means a blind impulse of the
5; cf. DS 377; 3010.
3: DS 3008.
27 St. Thomas Aquinas,
II-II, 2, 9; cf.
Dei Filius 3:
3: DS 3008.
3: DS 3009.
3: DS 3008-10; cf.