Bishop Davies words on Faith at the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy - he reminded us that Kiko Arguello had the unnerving habit of asking bishops, "Do you believe?" - it struck me that faith is infectious. It is caught, not taught, actually it is taught too but people need to see it and to have an example of it. That is why the heroic example of the saints has always been important. I am quite convinced that "Does he believe, does he live by faith?" should be the main question asked about any potential bishop.
We can ascent to propositions: I believe in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit but as St James reminds us faith without works is dead. Belief should make difference in our lives, it was belief in God that led Abraham to leave Ur of the Chaldees, it was belief that caused Mary to visit Elizabeth, it was belief that sent the Apostles out to evangelise and to draw men and women into the Church. As Bishop Davies reminded us it was faith in the sacraments that led the Cure d'Ars to spend hours before the Blessed Sacrament and in the Confessional and the faith he showed that transformed the faithless town of Ars into the place where the Cure heard the confessions of an estimated quarter of the population of Francee.
The liberalism or relativism of the 70s tended to destroy, be contemptuous of or even ridicule faith, replacing it with cunning plans, projects and schemes, and eventually when these failed to yield fruit, apathy. What has always impressed me is that Gospel is always, from the beginning, passed on by individuals, often within the context of the apparent mess of Divine Providence.
We can talk as much as we like but faith and its fruit: evangelisation, is the result of "heart speaking to heart".
Bishop Davies reminded us of St Charles Borromeo going into a church and finding the Blessed Sacrament mouldering in a tabernacle with the door hanging off. St Charles knelt before it, he continued kneeling in prayer, eventually others started to join him, he continued to kneel, he knelt through the night, eventually the whole parish came, even the Parish Priest and knelt with him until he celebrated Mass and restored the Lord. Not a word was said, said Bishop Davies, no condemnation, just this act of faith.
The subtext of the Bishops speech was, do we live by faith?
See Fr Simon Henry's report too.
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