Believing, what does it give?
We often get asked this question when we are a believer. Unfortunately, we do not always know what to answer…
The other question that often comes up is: "How can you believe in things like that?" said with a look of total disbelief... Sometimes, this implies that "faith" and "reason" do not go together, and that a "believer" is, at the end of the day, quite naïve.
The strange thing is that a good many believers did not believe before they… well, believed! Does that mean that they suddenly lost their ability to reason?
Before all else, should we not begin by asking what the "believer" believes in, before thinking that we know what he believes in? You follow?
What really matters in life
Every believer, no matter who they are, has on day been faced with the following question: What really matters in life? It is the wider question of the meaning of life: Why am I here? Why am I living to only end up dying one day? Why work? Why have children?
You can live your whole life without ever asking yourself these questions. You can even, at some point, ask these questions, and then set them aside and choose never to come back to them.
But for those people who do ask themselves these questions, and for whom these questions persist, a quest, an adventure in search of answers will begin… leading to a fabulous destiny. It is not unlike watching a good movie that keeps us interested "because it leads us to the destiny of other people, a destiny that could also be ours" (Youcat, p. ).
At the movies, we identify with certain characters, and we too would like to have a destiny that is out of the ordinary, worthy of a movie. We would love for something special to happen to us! Something self revelatory that would bring our lives, our personhood, our talents, our tastes and our personal history into complete harmony, to help us discover ourselves.
This quest is the quest for truth. And the Truth is the only thing that can ever truly and totally make us free.
"The one who searches for truth searches for God, whether he is conscious of it or not" (Saint Edith Stein)
"You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32)
The person who believes today does so by choice. We are no longer living in a time where being Catholic goes without saying. Today, men and woman who believe in God, believe because they have sought out answers to their existential questions. At the same time, faith is a gift; it is God given.
Searching always bears fruit however. And one day, we find that special thing that reveals our own destiny, our origin and the reason for our whole life. That something is a someone, and his name is Jesus.
Jesus is God in person!
We may come to believe in God by using our reason. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) did, he who was a great French mathematician, physician, inventor, philosopher, moralist and theologian.
In that way however, we will not know who God really is. This One God revealed himself for the first time at the very beginning of the Old Testament. He manifested himself to men and women in various ways, each time renewing his love for his people. This is the love that we call Covenant, because it speaks of a real marriage between the Creator and his Creature.
However, mankind being mankind, turned away from his God of love, each time preferring his own voice, his own ideas, his own will. The Covenant was broken, and the people were lost.
Unable to endure this broken relationship any longer, God then gave all that he had: His son Jesus. His mission? To establish a new and eternal Covenant. A Covenant of love that will never again be broken, and that will moreover extend to all the people of the earth, whatever comes to pass, whatever our actions. This is the story told in the New Testament; the story of Jesus Christ, true God and true man, a total revelation of the identity of God.
Jesus came into the world to save us. We call him Saviour. But to save us from what? To save us from death. Death is what we call hell, which is a closing up within oneself, after death, certainly, but that may begin here, during our life. We all know people around us who are anxiety ridden, not happy in their own skin, full of fears, hurt in their affectivity and in their dignity, in deep depression or who even have ideas of suicide.
Only Jesus, because he is God and because his Love is everlasting – he proved it by giving his life and in by continuing to give it ever since his victory over eternal death – could save us from ourselves, our ego, our pride and all forms of distrust.
That is why we should believe! We need to believe that through Jesus we have a fabulous destiny. With Jesus, we will live eternally in Love because we were created from the beginning to love and be loved. Jesus revealed to us what we really are the children of God.
It is a thrilling adventure that can begin now, if you want it to, if you desire it, if you humbly ask Him for this gift, even if you do not fully understand it right now.
"Everything that is incomprehensible does not cease to exist" (Blaise Pascal)
God has placed in our hearts a desire to know him. Good and all powerful, he created us in his image so that we can move toward him freely as we do the good that he desires. He invites us to participate eternally in his joy in heaven.
How to find God
To simplify our lives, God came to meet us. Through the prophets in the Old Testament (OT) and through his Son Jesus Christ in the New Testament (NT) – including the Gospel – God told us that he is: One God in three persons (the Trinity) – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – who live in a communion of love.
In a thousand ways, God tries to connect with each person: the beauty of nature, a conversation, through joys and challenges, etc. He also communicates through his Word and through the voice of our conscience.
How to respond to God
To believe in God is to answer him. It is to try to have a personal relationship with him: to say yes to Jesus Christ and to get to know and accept his will without restriction. It is to grow in friendship with him in total trust and to act as he would.
This faith that we can desire and ask of God is a gift that is free.
What do christians believe in?
We find true faith in Sacred Scripture (The Bible) and in the living transmission of it (Tradition). The New Testament was born of the faith of the Church. Scripture and Tradition are linked. In Sacred Scripture – also called the Word of God – we find the entire truth passed on by the Church founded by Jesus, which is the source of Revelation. The prayer of "The Apostles Creed" sums up the contents of the Catholic faith lived out for 2000 years in the Church, as in a large family. This profession of faith has its foundation in the Trinity!
God the Father Creator
In love, God the Father created the world from nothing. We are not the product of chance. The human person is the summit of creation: "Each one of us is the fruit of divine thought. Each one is wanted, loved and useful" (Benedict XVI, April 28, 2005).
In the beginning, harmony and peace reigned between God, human beings and their environment. Death entered the world when man and woman, influenced by the devil, freely chose to ignore God and separated themselves from him. That is sin.
With his only Son, God the Father then conceived of an extreme plan…
God the Son Redeemer
To reconcile us with God and save us from eternal death, Jesus Christ humbly took on the body of a man. Still today, in solidarity with us, he faces rejection, despair, abandonment, agony and death. He suffered in his own body, until death on a Cross, the consequences of the sin of every man and all men. On the third day, at Easter, he was resurrected.
His sacrifice freed us from the snare of sin: he is our Saviour and our Redeemer. He is "the Truth, the Way and the Life" (Jn. 14:6), having triumphed over evil and death. Loyal and patient, he offers us his forgiveness which we need to freely accept to find eternal life.
At the Ascension, the Lord Jesus went to heaven in body but continues to act in the lives of believers and in the Church that he founded.
God the Holy Spirit – Sanctifier
As the presence of God’s love in the Church and in the world, the Holy Spirit meets us in the sacraments; he helps, consoles, heals, guides, teaches. Despite the mistakes and limits of humans, he keeps the Church in truth.
He teaches us to pray and to be present to others. He makes us courageous witnesses for Christ. In following his counsel, and thanks to his gifts (charisms), we can change the face of the world
The end of the world
For each one of us, death is the hour of truth: a time when things can no longer be changed. "At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love" (Saint John of the Cross).
Faced with God’s loving gaze, each person…
Falls into his arms – this is Heaven;
Or regrets the times they failed to love and go to purify themselves before going up to Heaven – that is Purgatory;
Or refuses this face to face encounter with Love in person and creates a definite distance with God – this is Hell.
In the end times, Jesus Christ will return to destroy death and judge all of the living and the dead. Our soul and our body, separated at the time of our death, will be reunited: we will be resurrected for eternity.
God will create a new heaven and a new earth. Together, with the angels, his friends will live in peace and joy without end in the glory of God.