The Church, Mother of our Faith
37. “Those who have opened their hearts to God’s love, heard His voice and received His light, cannot keep this gift to themselves. Since faith is hearing and seeing, it is also handed on as word and light.”
Faith is passed on by contact from one person to another just as at the Easter Vigil, many candles are lit from the one Paschal candle. Faith can also be passed on by words.
38. The transmission of faith travels through time from generation to generation. So we see the face of Jesus through an unbroken chain of witnesses. This is the ONLY way we can possibly verify something that happened so very long ago.
“The Church is a Mother who teaches us to speak the language of faith.”
She is the one witness that remembers everything about faith’s past. She does this by the Holy Spirit who dwells in the Church and “unites every age and makes us contemporaries of Jesus, thus guiding us along our pilgrimage of faith.”
39. “It is impossible to believe on our own.”
Faith must be open to the “We” of the Church. It is not simply an individual decision. It must take place with the communion of the Church.
When we say, “we believe” we are reflecting the openness of God’s own love, which is a relationship; a “We,” a communion of 3 persons.
“Here we see why those who believe are never alone, and why faith tends to spread, as it invites others to share in its joy.”
The Sacraments and the Transmission of Faith
40. So how are we sure that the faith that is being passed down by the Church is whole and true?
“It is through the apostolic Tradition preserved in the Church with the assistance of the Holy Spirit that we enjoy a living contact with the foundational memory.”
And how does the Church witness to and communicate the Faith? Faith needs a means that is worthy and suitable to what is being communicated.
The answer is, of course, the sacraments, celebrated in the Church’s liturgy. The sacraments engage the core of our being, touch our minds, wills, and emotions. They are the only things capable of “engaging the entire person, body and spirit, interior life and relationships with others.”