38 • Part I. The Creed: The Faith Professed
brings us into a relationship with God’s people, and the faith of the
entire people strengthens us in our relationship with God.
Faith seeks understanding and is a friend of reason
. Faith as a grace
or gift from God makes it possible to gain some understanding of
all that he has revealed to us, including the totality of his plan as
well as the many mysteries of faith. Growth in understanding God’s
Revelation is a lifelong process. Theology and catechesis help us.
We never completely understand these divine mysteries, but we
often gain insight into them. In this context, faith and reason work
together to discover truth. To ever suppose that human thought or
scientific research can or should be in conflict with faith is a mistaken
approach because this position denies the basic truth that everything
has been created by God. Scholarly and scientific research that is
carried out in a manner faithful to reason and to moral law will not
conflict with truth as revealed by God (see CCC, no. 159).
Faith is necessary for salvation
. “Believing in Jesus Christ and in
the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining
that salvation” (CCC, no. 161). “Faith is necessary for salvation.
The Lord himself [teaches]: ‘He who believes and is baptized will be
saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned’” (CCC, no.
183, citing Mk 16:16).
Faith is a gift of grace
. God not only speaks to us, he also gives us the
grace to respond. To believe in Revelation we need the gift of faith.
Peter was able to see that Jesus was the Messiah, not from“flesh and
blood,” that is, not by means of reason or common sense, but by the
grace of the Father (cf. Mt 16:16-18).When by faith and Baptism we
enter the Church, we already share in eternal life. Faith perceives this
in ever deepening ways, as through a glass darkly (cf. 1 Cor 13:12).
Faith is a free, human act
. Faith is a gift of God which enables us
to know and love him. Faith is a way of knowing, just as reason is.
But living in faith is not possible unless there is action on our part.
Through the help of the Holy Spirit, we are able to make a deci-
sion to respond to divine Revelation, and to follow through in living
3 For the Church’s teaching about the salvation of those who have not known Christ or
the Gospel, see CCC, no. 1260, and Chapter 11 of this book.