7. These considerations on faith — in continuity with all that the Church’s magisterium has pronounced on this theological virtue[Cf., for example, First Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith Dei Filius, Ch. 3: DS 3008-3020; Dei Verbum 5: Catechism of the Catholic Church, 153-165.] — are meant to supplement what Benedict XVI had written in his encyclical letters on charity and hope. He himself had almost completed a first draft of an encyclical on faith. For this I am deeply grateful to him, and as his brother in Christ I have taken up his fine work and added a few contributions of my own. The Successor of Peter, yesterday, today and tomorrow, is always called to strengthen his brothers and sisters in the priceless treasure of that faith which God has given as a light for humanity’s path.
In God’s gift of faith, a supernatural infused virtue, we realize that a great love has been offered us, a good word has been spoken to us, and that when we welcome that word, Jesus Christ the Word made flesh, the Holy Spirit transforms us, lights up our way to the future and enables us joyfully to advance along that way on wings of hope. Thus wonderfully interwoven, faith, hope and charity are the driving force of the Christian life as it advances towards full communion with God. But what is it like, this road which faith opens up before us? What is the origin of this powerful light which brightens the journey of a successful and fruitful life?
Pope Francis explains he worked from the first draft of his predecessor. He embraces and continues on a spectrum. This spectrum is rooted in theology, to be sure. But it strikes me that basic virtues are expressed, explored, and pondered. Consider that many believers may seek love, hope, and faith, and take different roads to arrive at different destinations. At least to a mortal eye, they seem different. In essentials, I suspect they may not be so different. The Holy Spirit inspires us all, and in this mortal life we struggle as best we can to respond and follow. Despite struggle, it will be an exciting and challenging life, to be sure.