Chapter 4. Bring About the Obedience of Faith • 39
out our response. God never forces his truth and love upon us. He
reveals himself to us as free human beings, and our faith response to
him is made within the context of our freedom. At Capernaum, Jesus
asked the Apostles, “Do you also want to leave?” Peter answers for
them, “Master, to whom shall we go?” (Jn 6:67-68). Peter’s response
is freely sought and freely given. The same is true with each of us.
Faith believes with conviction in a message
. We have seen that faith
is a relationship with God. Now we note that it is also belief in a
message. This message is found in Scripture and Tradition and is
transmitted to us through many means such as liturgical prayers and
the Creeds. Faith fills us with conviction because God guarantees the
truthfulness of what he revealed. “Our Gospel did not come to you
in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and [with]
much conviction” (1 Thes 1:5). The Spirit assists us to be believers.
“Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things
not seen” (Heb 11:1).
THE FAITH PILGRIMAGE
Faith is therefore both a relationship with God as well as an engage-
ment with the truths that he reveals. In other words, faith refers to both
the act by which we accept God’s word and the content of what he has
revealed to us.
Abraham, whom the Church calls our “father in faith,” and Mary,
the first among all disciples, show by their acts of trust in God that faith
is a process of growth, day by day. Like any other relationship, our faith
communion with God develops in stages. It is a journey, a pilgrimage.
On this journey, there will be periods of temptation, worry, shadows,
and darkness. Many saints experienced such tests. But Jesus has sent us
the Holy Spirit to enlighten and guide us on the way.
Our faith encounter with God’s revealed message takes time and
maturity to probe its meaning and gain some hint of the awe and maj-
esty to which divine truths point. There is brilliant light as well as shad-
ows. We are pilgrims of love and truth ever seeking and longing for
closer union with God.