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The Custom of Faith

Faith is a grace


When St. Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus declared to him that this revelation did not come from flesh and blood, but from my Father who is in heaven. Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him. 


Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and 'makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth.
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Faith is a human act


Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit. But it is no less true that believing is an authentically human act. Trusting in God and cleaving to the truths he has revealed is contrary neither to human freedom nor to human reason. Even in human relations, it is not contrary to our dignity to believe what other persons tell us about themselves and their intentions or to trust their promises (for example, when a man and a woman marry) to share a communion of life with one another. 


If this is so, still less is it contrary to our dignity to yield by faith the full submission of... intellect and will to God who reveals and to share in an interior communion with him.  In faith, the human intellect and will co-operate with divine grace: Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace.
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Faith and understanding


What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. So, that the submission of our faith might nevertheless be in accordance with reason, God willed that external proofs of his Revelation should be joined to the internal bits of help of the Holy Spirit. 


Thus the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church's growth, and holiness, and her fruitfulness and stability are the most certain signs of divine Revelation, adapted to the intelligence of all; they are motives of credibility (motiva credibilities), which show that the assent of faith is by no means a blind impulse of the mind.


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