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42

Part One

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

truth.’”

25

Faith is a human act

154

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,”

26

and

to share in an interior communion with him.

155

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.”

27

Faith and understanding

156

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.”

28

So “that

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.”

29

Thus

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” (

motiva credibilitatis

), which

show that the assent of faith is “by no means a blind impulse of the

mind.”

30

25

DV

5; cf. DS 377; 3010.

26

Dei Filius

3: DS 3008.

27 St. Thomas Aquinas,

STh

II-II, 2, 9; cf.

Dei Filius 3:

DS 3010.

28

Dei Filius

3: DS 3008.

29

Dei Filius

3: DS 3009.

30

Dei Filius

3: DS 3008-10; cf.

Mk

16:20;

Heb

2:4.

1814

1996

2606

1749

2126

2008

1063

2465

548

812