The first of the Theological Virtues seems easy enough to understand until you try to define and apply it. In defining this virtue let’s begin with Sacred Scripture. Hebrews 11:6 reads, “And without Faith it is impossible to please Him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” Following this passage is an asterisk that states, “Here is stated the minimum necessary for salvation.” The Catechism of the Council of Trent reinforced this teaching. “That Faith thus understood is necessary to salvation no man can reasonably doubt,..” It goes on to say that Faith is the knowledge of God and all that He reveals to man, infused by Him and given through the “authority of our Holy Mother the Church.” In other words, Faith gives me the ability to believe in God and in all that He reveals through the Holy Catholic Church and through her direction. It is a gift of God and not gained on one’s own.
Fr. Ripperger gives an excellent catechesis on this virtue, so try to give it a listen this week. For now, I will summarize his talk and attempt to apply it to marriage. It may seem that if this virtue, as well as the other two Theological Virtues, are infused, that there is no way to acquire Faith on one’s own. It is correct to understand that it is an infused virtue but our will still comes into play. By making the willful choice to believe, God then reveals Himself and His Truths to us more and more. The more we make the choice to trust, the more Faith He gives us to aid in that trust, thereby increasing our Faith.
Because this virtue is about our individual relationships with God, it might appear that it has no importance in our relationship with our spouse and in our family. But actually it is in our marriage that we are given a great deal of opportunities to grow in Faith.
Considering that the two purposes of marriage focus on salvation, our spouses and our children’s, we must continue to grow in Faith to be able to help our spouse and our children on their path to Heaven. How might we do that? Fr. Ripperger gives some examples.
1) Continually learn more about God by studying the teachings of the Church.
As we learn more it increases our faith because it increases our understanding, which in turn, increases our faith.
2) Teach the Faith.
Share what you are learning with your spouse and your children. Oftentimes the new things that the Lord shows to us are so amazing that we can’t wait to share them. Both the new knowledge and the excitement will inspire your family and aid in the growth of their faith.
3) Attend a Mass that offers solid teaching in the Faith to grow in Faith.
If you have the ability to get to a parish that offers solid, orthodox teaching of the Church, consider yourself blessed. Some folks have to drive quite a distance to find a parish that offers the Truth of Christ’s teaching. Challenging though it may be, this is a very important sacrifice that needs to be made for the growth of a married couple as well as their children.
4) Develop a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the Chaste Heart of Joseph.
The Sacred Heart is the source of our salvation. The Immaculate Heart distributes grace to aid in our growth in virtue. The Chaste Heart is the protector of the Holy Church and the terror of demons, protecting both the Church and us.
This is just a short list of ways in which we can grow in the Faith that the Lord has given us. Feel free to comment below and share ways in which your faith has grown and as a result your marriage and family life have improved. Next week we will look at the virtue of Hope. Stay tuned and feel free to share these posts!