EUREKA: Discovering Catholic Treasury – through a Lenten lens! : “Lumen Fidei”

A. What is it?

>> “Lumen Fidei” is the First Encyclical of Pope Francis. It was the completion of the work of his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI.

>> It was issued on June 29, 2013 in conjunction with the Year of Faith

>> “Lumen Fidei” means “The Light of Faith”

>> The document, completed the Papal Trilogy on the three theological virtues, following Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclicals Deus Caritas Est (on Charity) and Spe Salvi (on Hope).

B. What does it speak of?

>> “Lumen Fidei” celebrates Christian faith as the guiding light of a “successful and fruitful life”, inspiring social action as well as devotion to God…

… and illuminating “every aspect of human existence”, including philosophy and the natural sciences.

>> “Lumen Fidei” is divided into four chapters, each drawn from a passage in Scripture:

(i) We have believed in love. (1 Jn 4:16)

>> Reviews Salvation History—the story of God’s people—to see Faith throughout history.

>> Explores the rootedness of faith in the absolute fidelity of God, Who is completely trustworthy.

>> God enters human history and invites each person to participate in His plan of love.

(ii) Unless you believe, you will not understand. (Is 7:9)

>> Seeks to understand the relationship between Faith and several other aspects – Reason, Love, Truth, and Theology.

>> As Faith comes through hearing and sight, it is an intensely personal experience which opens out into a unique trustworthy knowledge…

… stimulating a constant dialogue between Faith and Reason.

(iii) I delivered to you what I also received. (1 Cor 15:3)

>>Ultimately, Faith and Truth are received in community.

>> We accept this Faith in a community and in the communion of the Church. Specially, the Sacraments allow us to experience this Faith.

>> This Community stays unified through the Apostolic Tradition and Apostolic Succession which safeguards Truth and allows our Faith to be handed on.

>> The Church extends the relational reality of Faith not only through Her Doctrines, but through Her very Sacramental Life

(iv) God prepares a city for them. (Heb 11:16)

>> Shows how faith should be the foundation of our society. Faith is needed for the foundation of our society, marriage and family.

>> Faith in God provides the common Faith so that our societies can endure.

>> Faith does not answer every question, but provides a lamp to help us navigate through the darkness and the Presence of God, who is with us, personally in our suffering.

C. Pointers for Reflections

1. “Lumen Fidei” fortifies our Faith by responding to various contemporary doubts and attitudes that undermine believing

>> Faith is not an outdated relic of the Dark Ages. Christian Faith, rather, provides the foundation for fidelity in interpersonal relationships, without which society would be debilitated by fear.

2. Contradicts the Philosophy of Secularism (= being without God and glorifying only human abilities)

>> The power of secularism which tends to portray God as distant or dead is negated, as Faith makes God tangible and Christ-like Love possible.

3. Faith is not only personal, but essentially has a Communitarian dimension

>> Faith in the One God, directed toward the One Lord, is shared in the One Church, and so must be professed in its full unity and integrity.

D. What virtues/points can we pick up from the “Lumen Fidei” for this Season of Lent?

1. Understanding and deepening our Fundamentals of Faith

2. Reviving our Sacramental Life (especially Holy Eucharist and Confession)

E. Tips to practice these virtues

1. Pick up the 12 basic articles of the Apostles Creed (I Believe) and make a study on each of those Basics of our Faith

>> Prepare a list of possible doubts and contradictions

>> Try to find reasonable solutions, which could be used as a tool to defend and proclaim our Faith

2. Try to go for Holy Mass, with due preparation, as often as possible (without restriction to only Sunday Mass)

>> Make it a point to go for Confession, at least, once every month

May this Lent and the familiarity with the Encyclical “Lumen Fidei” help us to grow in our acclamation: “Eureka – I have found the Lord”

(The Full Text of “Lumen Fidei” can be found at:

http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20130629_enciclica-lumen-fidei.html)

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