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Pope reveals the great enemy of faith; it’s not “reason”

Pope Francis during his weekly general audience in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican on May 01, 2024

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 05/01/24

Pope Francis says there are those who "obsessively" repeat that reason is opposed to faith. But, in fact, the great enemy of faith is something else.

Pope Francis took up the virtue of faith in his weekly catechesis on this feast of St. Joseph the Worker. After considering some of the “greats” of faith — Abraham, Moses, Mary, etc. — he commented on the great enemy of faith.

With regard to faith, an episode of the Gospel comes to mind. Jesus’ disciples were crossing the lake, and are surprised by the storm. They think they can get by with the strength of their arms, with the resources of their experience, but the boat starts to fill up with water and they are seized by panic (cf. Mk 4:35-41). They do not realize that they have the solution before their very eyes: Jesus is there with them on the boat, in the midst of the storm, and Jesus “was asleep,” says the Gospel. When they finally awaken Him, fearful and even angry that He would let them die, Jesus rebukes them: “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” (Mk 4:40).

From this passage, Pope Francis pointed to the “great enemy of faith.”

It is not intelligence, nor is it reason, as, alas, some continue obsessively to repeat; but the great enemy of faith is fear.

Faith is a gift to be welcomed — the first gift — and it “must be welcomed and asked for daily, so that it may be renewed in us.”

Protection against drowning in fear

“It is seemingly a small gift, yet it is the essential one,” the Pope said.

When we were brought to the baptismal font, our parents, after announcing the name they had chosen for us, were asked by the priest – this happened in our baptism: “What do you ask of the Church of God?” And the parents answered: “Faith, baptism!”

If a child has the gift of faith, parents can know that “even in the midst of the trials of life, their child will not drown in fear. See, the enemy is fear. They also know that, when the child ceases to have a parent on this earth, he will continue to have a God the Father in heaven, who will never abandon him. Our love is so fragile, and only God’s love conquers death.”

Short supply?

The Pope reflected that even as believers, we “often realize that we have only a short supply” of faith.

Often Jesus can rebuke us, as He did with His disciples, for being “men of little faith.”

But faith is “the happiest gift,” and in fact “the only virtue we are permitted to envy,” the Pope commented. Those with faith have a super human force within them; “indeed, faith ‘triggers’ grace in us and opens the mind to the mystery of God.”

Therefore, let us too, like the disciples, repeat to Him: Lord, increase our faith! (Lk 17:5). It is a beautiful prayer!

FaithFaith and SciencePope Francis
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