Catholic World News

Pope explores three paths to renewed faith

November 14, 2012

The absence of an active faith in God “reduces man to a single horizontal dimension,” Pope Benedict XVI told his weekly public audience on November 14.

“This reduction,” the Pontiff continued, “was one of the fundamental causes of the totalitarian systems which had such tragic consequences last century, and of the crisis of values we are currently witnessing.”

The Pope remarked that in the Western world, in past years, “the faith was the environment in which people moved.” But in our own times, he said, a sort of practical atheism has become common, “in which the truths of faith and religious ritual are not denied but are simply held to be irrelevant to daily existence.”

God respects man’s freedom, and does not compel anyone to believe, the Pope told the crowd in the Paul VI auditorium, and believers should show the same respect for others while testifying to the faith. He suggested three paths to faith:

First, the world offers opportunities for belief, to men who “contemplate the creation, its beauty and structure.” The Pope quoted Albert Einstein’s statement that the work of natures points toward “an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.”

Second, man himself shows a predisposition toward faith, an innate drive toward the infinite, and a persistent desire to ask questions that reach beyond ordinary life.

Third, the life of faith itself points toward the existence of God. The Pope reminded his audience that a believing Christian “becomes a witness not of himself but of the Risen Christ,” and his faith becomes a challenge and invitation to the world.

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  • Posted by: frjpharrington3912 - Nov. 16, 2012 12:30 AM ET USA

    Faith is the power to enter into a life transforming relationship with God who gives his grace as gift which empowers us to be open to see in creation signs of his intelligent handiwork. As God's creatures made in his image and likeness, man and woman also reflect God's handiwork which lead us to contemplate this great mystery. Faith,as it were, are the wings that raise us up from a merely material horizontal existence to a vertical supernatural life filled with hope and charity.