What is faith and how can I get it?
“I won’t believe it until I see it.” Doubting Thomas said something like this in John 20:25: “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” We demand proof. But the proof of seeing, or rather experiencing something by use of our senses, is not faith. It is sense knowledge. There are other kinds of knowledge as well. The knowledge we have through using reason, as in mathematics or logic, is a true knowledge. Two plus two does equal four, in any language, at any time in history as long we know what the meaning of the words are.
But what does this have to do with faith? Faith is also a true knowledge, but not one that we discover by our senses or decide for ourselves by reason. It is a gift given to us. As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said in his book, Introduction to Christianity: Belief “is a human way of taking up a stand in the totality of reality.” It is a way of giving meaning to life that “is not a blind surrender to the irrational.” It is about accepting the gift and committing ourselves to something greater than ourselves. Faith cannot be coerced; it cannot be demanded, but rather offered and fostered. Ultimately, every individual is given the opportunity to receive the gift because God wants all of us to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). The Catechism teaches: “Faith is man’s response to God, who reveals himself and gives himself to man, at the same time bringing man a superabundant light as he searches for the ultimate meaning of his life” (par 26). We need to listen to the words of Jesus to Thomas: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” (Jn. 20:29). We are those who are so blessed. Read more about faith and the content of faith in the Catechism.
Know your faith. Live your faith. Teach your faith.