“I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove from hence hither, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you.”
Faith is one of the three Theological Virtues. Put simply, faith is believing something to be true solely on the authority of another. What makes this virtue so unique is the fact that “Faith is a virtue infused by the Holy Ghost into our souls at Baptism, by which we believe, firmly and without hesitation, all that God has revealed and through the Church proposes for our belief” (Laux 53). Faith is a gift from God, which He gave to mankind so that He could share His profound truths with mankind. Faith is necessary for anyone truly seeking God’s truth, because God’s truths are infinitely above and beyond the comprehension of man.
The beauty of faith is not only that it allows man to share in some of God’s truths, but it also gives special benefits to men. There are four chief benefits of faith: unity with God, an introduction to eternal life, guidance in life on earth, and help in overcoming temptations (Thomas 3-5). Each of these four benefits of faith gives man unique wisdom and insight to aid him in overcoming the many temptations with which he is confronted daily.
The first and foremost benefit of a strong faith is its uniting power. When given a chance to grow, faith will unite man’s soul to God, enabling him to see God’s truths, and inspiring him to greater heroic virtue. Saint Augustine writes,
“Without the recognition of the eternal and unchangeable truth, all virtue is but a sham, even in the best of men”St. Augustine
Faith is the saving grace that allows man to recognize the truth so that he can be united with God in eternal happiness. Just as Christ declared, “He that believes and is baptized, shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). Faith enables man to know and love God, and finally to be united with Him in Heaven.
The second benefit of faith is that it “introduces eternal life into us.” (Thomas 4). Once man knows God, he begins to love Him more and desires to know Him better. Knowledge of God is so magnificent that it moved the Apostle St. John to say, “This is eternal life, to know Thee, the only true God” (John 17:3). The human knowledge of God is perfected to its full capacity once man is united with God in heaven, fulfilling the words of the scriptures, “Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1). For it is first by faith that men must come to know God, and then fully in the glory of Heaven.
The third benefit of faith, its supernatural guidance, is indispensable in life. It “teaches us all that is necessary for leading a good life, since we learn by faith that there is one God… and other such truths by which we are sufficiently drawn to do good and avoid evil” (Thomas 4). Here St. Thomas stresses the fact that a strong faith gives a taste of the reward that is to come, and thus persuades man to despise sin, and seek God.
The fourth and final benefit of faith is its great aid in overcoming temptations. There is no temptation which cannot be overcome by a strong faith in God. All temptations come from the world, the flesh, or the devil. These temptations can be most successfully overcome by focusing on the reward of eternal life promised by a strong faith. Faith guides one through the temptations of the world, “because it teaches that there is a better life than this, so that we despise the good things of this world and do not fear its afflictions” (Thomas 5). In like manner, faith guides one from the temptations of the flesh and the devil. Enlightened by faith, men see the defects of the apparent goods of this world, and only strive after those of the next.
Clearly, faith is not only the trusting of someone else, but it is also a special gift from God that acts as a guide in life. Faith shows men the truth. Faith enables mankind to follow Christ better by revealing to them, “The Way, and The Truth, and The Life.” (John 14:6)
Thomas, and Reginald. The Three Greatest Prayers: Commentaries on the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Apostles’ Creed. Sophia Institute Press, 1990.
Laux, Fr. John, M.A., Catholic Morality, TAN Books and Publishers, Inc. Rockford, Ill. 1990 (1934)