Pope: Faith is truly personal if my "I" is united with the "we" of the Church
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The act of faith is certainly an individual act, which takes place in our innermost being, but "faith is truly personal only if it is communitary, if it moves within the 'we' of the Church," which allows us to become "like a window that receives the light of the living God and communicate it to the world," because "faith is strengthened by being gifted to others." Once again, Benedict XVI has dedicated his general audience catechesis to "questions about the faith" in this Year of Faith.
And if last week the question concerned faith as a gift from God, "for it is God who takes the initiative, so faith is a response with which we welcome Him as the truth and stable foundation of our life," the Pope today asked the 10 thousand people in St Peter's Square despite the rainy day - which, he joked, "could be worse" - "if faith is of a purely personal, individual character? Does it only affect me personally? Do I live my faith alone?".
The answer is found in Baptism, when the priest asks the person to be baptized if he believes in God the Father, Jesus His only Son and the Holy Spirit. The "I do" with which we answer "is not the result of my solitary reflection, it is not the product of my own thoughts, but it is the result of a relationship, a dialogue in which there is a listening, and receiving and response; it is communicating with Jesus that takes me out of the "I" that is enclosed in on myself to open up to the love of God the Father. It is like a rebirth in which I find myself united not only Jesus, but also all those who have walked and walk on the same path; and this new birth, which begins with Baptism, continues throughout the course of my existence. I can not build my personal faith in a private dialogue with Jesus, because faith is given to me by God through a community of believers, the Church, and I a become part of the multitude of believers in a community that is not only sociological, but rooted in the eternal love of God. "
So when we recite the Creed during the Mass "we express ourselves in the first person, but as a community we confess the one faith of the Church. That" I " individually pronounced is united to that of an immense choir in time and space, in which everyone contributes, so to speak, for a harmonious polyphony of faith. "
Besides, since Pentecost, "when the journey of the Church began," it has been a "community" that brings the announcement of the death and resurrection of Jesus "to the ends of the world" "It is the People of God based on new covenant thanks to the blood of Christ, whose members do not belong to a particular social or ethnic group, but are men and women from every nation and culture. It is a ' Catholic' people, that is, one which speaks new languages, universally open to welcome all, beyond all boundaries, breaking down all barriers".
And there is "an unbroken chain of life of the Church, of the proclamation of the Word of God, of the celebration of the sacraments - he underscored - that comes to us and which we call Tradition. It guarantees that what we believe is the original message of Christ, preached by the apostles. "
"The widespread contemporary tendency to relegate faith to the private sphere - concluded the Pope - contradicts its very nature. We need the Church to confirm our faith and to experience together the gifts of God: His Word , the Sacraments, the sustenance of grace and witness of love. So our "I" into the "we" of the Church will be able to perceive that it is, at the same time, recipient and protagonist of an event that surpasses it: the experience of communion with God who establishes communion between people. In a world where individualism seems to regulate the relationships between people, rendering them increasingly fragile, faith calls us to be people of God, to be the Church, and bearers of the love and communion of God for all mankind. "