WASHINGTON—"Lumen Fidei" ("The Light of Faith"), the first encyclical of PopeFrancis, says that faith is like a light illuminating all of human existence.
The encyclical, begun by PopeBenedict XVI, his successor Pope Francis said, was released by the Vatican July5.
DatedJune 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, "LumenFidei," considers the role of faith from the days of Abraham until moderntimes.
"Thelight of faith is unique, since it is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence," thepope said. "A light this powerful cannot come from ourselves but from a moreprimordial source: in a word, it must come from God."
Faith heralds the transforming powerof belief in Jesus, said Pope Francis.
"Faithdoes not merely gaze at Jesus, but sees things as Jesus himself sees them, withhis own eyes: it is a participation in his way of seeing," the pope said.
PopeFrancis offered his signature down-to-earth comparison.
"Wetrust the architect who builds our home, the pharmacist who gives us medicinefor healing, the lawyer who defends us in court," he said. "We also needsomebody trustworthy and knowledgeable where God is concerned. Jesus, the Sonof God, is the one who makes God known to us."
PopeFrancis noted faith's impact on the family, especially young people.
"Faithis no refuge for the fainthearted, but something which enhances our lives,"Pope Francis said. "It makes us aware of a magnificent calling, the vocation oflove. It assures us that this love is trustworthy and worth embracing, for itis based on God's faithfulness which is stronger than our every weakness."
Thepope also pointed out that faith provides perspective in the search for truth,so that believers do not fall prey to great totalitarian movements on one sideand relativism on the other. He warned of "a massive amnesia in ourcontemporary world."
"Thequestion of truth is really a question of memory, deep memory, for it dealswith something prior to ourselves and can succeed in uniting us in a way thattranscends our petty and limited individual consciousness. It is a questionabout the origin of all that is, in whose light we can glimpse the goal andthus the meaning of our common path," he said.
PopeFrancis addressed several contemporary concerns, including the environment anddevelopment of people.
"Faith,"he said, "by revealing the love of God the Creator, enables us to respectnature all the more, and to discern in it a grammar written by the hand of Godand a dwelling place entrusted to our protection and care.
"Faithalso helps us to devise models of development which are based not simply onutility and profit, but consider creation as a gift for which we are allindebted; it teaches us to create just forms of government, in the realizationthat authority comes from God and is meant for the service of the common good."
Hecited faith as a way to unity among peoples.
"Faithlikewise offers the possibility of forgiveness, which so often demands time andeffort, patience and commitment. Forgiveness is possible once we discover thatgoodness is always prior to and more powerful than evil, and that the word withwhich God affirms our life is deeper than our every denial. From a purelyanthropological standpoint, unity is superior to conflict; rather than avoidingconflict, we need to confront it in an effort to resolve and move beyond it, tomake it a link in a chain, as art of a progress toward unity."
"The Light of Faith"("Lumen Fidei") is available from USCCB inprint ($6.95) and e-book ($4.95) editions in English and Spanish. Moreinformation on ordering can be found at www.usccbpublishing.orgor at l 800-235-8722 to order anytime.
Keywords: Pope Francis, environment, Jesus, Lumen Fidei, The Light of Faith.Cardinal Timothy Dolan, USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,
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