“Lumen Fidei” – the Call and the Challenge
by Sr. Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican
A recently released
encyclical entitled Lumen Fidei, (The Light of Faith), is a joint effort of Pope
Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. It is a document that is well worth studying to
get a deeper understanding of our faith and its impact on our lives, and ways to
put it into practice in our daily life journey.
Jesus is presented as
the light of our individual and communal lives. By developing a closer bond with
Jesus, we open the doors of our minds and hearts to a deeper understanding of
our call to follow Jesus and ways to live our call of faith and be more ready to
respond to the invitation of the divine that is always present to us.
Our faith enables us to
see people and events through the eyes of Jesus, and this will shape our
response to the call. The document reminds us that faith, understood and lived,
is the ground of our own actions done in love. Such a move gives us reason to
have deep hope in our own lives and empowers us to share our hope and love with
others through acts of compassion and caring. This calls us to reach out to
those most in need. Faith also gives us hope in our own lives, especially in
times of challenge and pain. We have the example of Jesus, to teach us how to
accept pain and not let it destroy us. This approach will help us grow and
mature in our faith.
The document reminds us
that faith is not a subjective gift given to us. It is a gift to all of us by
our Loving God. It helps us to see God as the center of our lives and of all of
our endeavors. As we practice our faith, we are nourished by God’s presence as
the source of our unity, love and peace. It helps us distinguish truth from
falsehood and live what we profess in our daily lives. Then we will develop
supportive and loving relationships, and claim God’s saving power. The Light
always comes from the Risen Christ and God’s light within our minds and hearts,
and we are enabled to see people and events through the eyes of Jesus.
Our faith will empower
us to have a solid foundation for working for the common good and engaging in
works of justice and peace, so badly needed in our day. We will also live with
grateful hearts, for all the wonderful blessings bestowed on us day by day, that
enable us to live with purpose and hope. Using the gifts will also enable us
address such issues as racism by reminding us that God created all people in His
image and likeness and all deserve respect, love and compassion in our daily
lives. Inequality is a big threat today all over the world and is badly in need
of healing. With God’s unfailing help, we can do infinitely more than we dare
ask or imagine. Another area of need is respect of nature and our environment,
which are often subject to abuse in our culture and around the globe. In the
use of our resources, Mahatma Gandhi reminds us that “there is enough for
everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed.”
What can we do to put
the call of Lumen Fidei into practice?
In our congregations or
communities, we can gather in small groups to discuss the content of the
encyclical. Start out with prayer and contemplation inviting God to open our
minds and hearts to the call of the document and to find ways to put it into
practice. Take time to study the message and create ways to make it a reality in
this time and place. Some questions could include:
How do I understand
faith? What is its impact on my life ?
What is the source of my
faith? How do I evaluate it and allow it to have a greater impact.
Share a time when your
eyes were opened by the gift of faith.
What can I do to
strengthen my faith and allow it to influence my thoughts, words and actions?
What groups can I collaborate with to work on this project?
Where do I need to look
at life through the eyes of Jesus?
Reflect on the life of
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who models for us how to live our faith as sons and
daughters of our God. Ask her to help us open our minds and hearts to recognize
the call of God’s Spirit and to respond with love and generosity.
End by expressing
prayers of thanks for the great bounty that God offers us day after day.
(To read the full
document, Lumen Fidei Encyclical, go to
www.originsonline.com - July 25th, 2013, Volume 43. No.
Preaching Essay Archive
Just click on an Essay title below to read it.
(The latest submissions are listed first.)
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• THE PROMISE OF EASTER –“ THAT ALL MAY HAVE LIFE AND HAVE IT IN ABUNDANCE.” •
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• “Lumen Fidei” – the Call and the Challenge •
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• PRAYER OF PREACHERS •
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Blessings on your preaching.