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The Profession of Faith

45

Faith—the beginning of eternal life

163

Faith makes us taste in advance the light of the beatific

vision, the goal of our journey here below. Then we shall see God

“face to face,” “as he is.”

47

So faith is already the beginning of

eternal life:

When we contemplate the blessings of faith even now, as if

gazing at a reflection in a mirror, it is as if we already

possessed the wonderful things which our faith assures us

we shall one day enjoy.

48

164

Now, however, “we walk by faith, not by sight”;

49

we

perceive God as “in a mirror, dimly” and only “in part.”

50

Even

though enlightened by him in whom it believes, faith is often lived

in darkness and can be put to the test. The world we live in often

seems very far from the one promised us by faith. Our experiences

of evil and suffering, injustice, and death, seem to contradict the

Good News; they can shake our faith and become a temptation

against it.

165

It is then we must turn to the

witnesses of faith:

toAbraham,

who “in hope . . . believed against hope”;

51

to the Virgin Mary, who,

in “her pilgrimage of faith,” walked into the “night of faith”

52

in

sharing the darkness of her son’s suffering and death; and to so

many others: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a

cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which

clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is

set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our

faith.”

53

A

rticle

2

WE BELIEVE

166

Faith is a personal act—the free response of the human

person to the initiative of God who reveals himself. But faith is not

an isolated act. No one can believe alone, just as no one can live

alone. You have not given yourself faith as you have not given

47

1 Cor

13:12;

1 Jn

3:2.

48 St. Basil,

De Spiritu Sancto,

15, 36: PG 32, 132; cf. St. Thomas Aquinas,

STh

II-II, 4, 1.

49

2 Cor

5:7.

50

1 Cor

13:12.

51

Rom

4:18.

52

LG

58; John Paul II,

RMat

18.

53

Heb

12:1-2.

1088

2846

309

1502, 1006

2719

875