He who believes is never alone – this mantra describes the apostolic journey of Benedict XVI. To Bavaria in 2006. The encyclical Lumen fidei, written with Pope Francis, also speaks of the community of faith, with God and with each other. It says something like this: “Faith reveals how strong bonds are between people when God is present in their midst. Faith not only awakens the inner firmness and firm conviction of the believer; it also illuminates interpersonal relationships because it comes from love and follows the dynamic of God’s love.” God gives dynamism and creates unity, through which the meaning and goodness of life shines: “The light of faith is in the one who is able to show the richness and endurance of human relationships, dependable and enrich community life. Faith does not distance itself from the world and does not stand aloof from the concrete commitments of our contemporaries. Without Trustworthy love, nothing can truly make people united. The union between them can only be imagined as a unity based on utility, or on a union of interests, or on fear, but not on the good of being together and on the joy that the mere existence of the other can evoke. Makes faith The structures of human relationships are clear because he realizes their origin and ultimate goal in God, in his love.”
This world often seems to be loveless, torn and separated from God. Is the light of faith shines in our relationships? How is the belief in families? Benedict and Francis wrote – how could it be otherwise – of “the permanent union of man and woman in marriage”. The Popes with great subjective evidence and very consciously stress the “recognition and acceptance of the good of sexual difference”. In this way, the couple can “become one.” They are able to “begot a new life, an expression of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom, and plan for love”: “founded on this love, man and woman, with a gesture that includes and forms part of their whole life. Qualities of faith that promise mutual love. The promise of a love that lasts forever is possible.” When one discovers a plan greater than his, which sustains us and allows us to give those we love all the future. Faith also helps to understand the depth and richness of childbearing, because in it it reveals the creative love that bestows upon us and entrusts to us the secret of the new person.” Growth and maturity in faith begins in the family, in childhood. It is important for parents to practice faith in the family – a good example of this is when the family gathers together every day to pray and celebrate Mass together on Sunday: the horizon of life and gives it a firm hope that does not let it die. Faith is not a refuge for the discouraged, but rather extends life. It reveals a great calling, which is the calling of love, and ensures that this love is trustworthy and worthy of devotion, because its foundation is God’s faithfulness, which is stronger than all our weaknesses.”
But we – not only, but especially today – are subject to the waning of faith, the evaporation of faith, and we see from our own experience to what extent the question of God is formally raised in current discussions and discourses in the Church. Where else is there talk of God? With faith, the “essentials of life” also disappear, arbitrariness reigns and everything comes out of a crossroads. So what is assigned to us? Faith—we all know it from our life experience—does not eliminate suffering, but it does proclaim the love and hope that He has given us and we bear witness to: “Faith is not a light that dispels our darkness. It is a lamp that directs our steps in the night, and that is sufficient for the way.” About this way of believing, Benedict sixteen. And Francis in the Encyclical which offers us today many valuable suggestions and ideas. The faith of the Church does not serve to beautify the worldly existence. But by faith with the church and its followers we learn the meaning of our lives. We know that the Lord’s Church is neither a museum of Western cultural history nor a progressive social party, but the Body of Christ or the people or family of God, which includes all times and places and to which we are allowed to belong, body and soul. Public messages are always invitations to reflect on and deepen one’s faith. Papal commandments are precious gifts, to us and to all who do not believe or do not yet believe, but desire to believe. The spiritual richness of Benedict’s publications will gradually be discovered – and we are all called to allow ourselves to be enriched from within with these deep thoughts and often very simple words. The teachings strengthen us and strengthen us on the way to God.
Note: Opinion articles like this only reflect the opinions of the guest authors, not those of the CNA Deutsch editorial team.
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