Lumen Fidei is here!
Pope Francis’ first Papal Encyclical completes a set of three initiated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. The encyclical is relatively short (4 chapters) and is a good read. High school age children up to adults should have no problem with the text.
The Holy Father in the encyclical relates Faith to Light and how without light we cannot see or navigate in the world. He uses instances in Scripture to highlight this. Both Benedict XVI and Francis show us how faith is a primordial gift from God. It expounds on our natural existence and allows us to see beyond the confines of the material state that we live in and which some perceive as the only existence.
Lumen Fidei criticizes the use of scientism, or the idea that every thing must be tested by scientific methods in order to be accepted as truth and credible. The first chapter begins with the story of Abraham and his faith in God. It explains how faith then was a precursor to faith in Christ. The Hebrews were “traveling” to God, as it were. Chapter 2 speaks on faith and truth and criticizes relativism. Both faith and truth co-exist and are necessary for the human being. Chapter 3 deals with faith within the Christian life and how it interacts with our sacramental lives in the Church. Chapter 4 speaks on how faith helps not only the believer but society as a whole by promoting the common good.
In closing, Lumen Fidei is a powerful document and a perfect addition to the Year of Faith. It shows the importance of faith and why we cannot let human advancements, scientism and the like to impede faith in our lives. Without faith, we become cold and self-centered. We become like dogs sniffing around for evidence in order to advance in thought and as a whole. This is not what the human being is all about.
I recommend all to read the encyclical, not just Catholics. It will serve to increase your faith and will open your mind to it if you have been setting it aside.
To read the encyclical, go here: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20130629_enciclica-lumen-fidei_en.html
The encyclical is also available in other languages. Just click on your language on the Vatican’s website: www.vatican.va