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Catechism of the Catholic Church

Abraham - "father of all who believe"

145 The Letter to the Hebrews, in its great eulogy of the faith of Israel's ancestors, lays special emphasis on Abraham's faith: "By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go." 4 By faith, he lived as a stranger and pilgrim in the promised land. 5 By faith, Sarah was given to conceive the son of the promise. And by faith Abraham offered his only son in sacrifice. 6

146 Abraham thus fulfils the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1: "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen": 7 "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." 8 Because he was "strong in his faith", Abraham became the "father of all who believe". 9

147 The Old Testament is rich in witnesses to this faith. The Letter to the Hebrews proclaims its eulogy of the exemplary faith of the ancestors who "received divine approval". 10 Yet "God had foreseen something better for us": the grace of believing in his Son Jesus, "the pioneer and perfecter of our faith". 11

Notes:

4 Heb 11:8; cf. Gen 12:1-4.

5 Cf. Gen 23:4.

6 Cf. Heb 11:17.

7 Heb 11:1.

8 Rom 4:3; cf. Gen 15:6.

9 Rom 4:11, 18; 4:20; cf. Gen 15:5.

10 Heb 11:2, 39.

11 Heb 11:40; 12:2.

English Translation of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.

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