Sparks of light from Pope Francis' "Lumen Fidei"
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - January 13, 2015 - 12:00am

There are a number of gems of wisdom that we can derive from Pope Francis' encyclical entitled "Lumen Fidei" or the The Light of Faith. We need to read and understand this very important and historic document that emanates from the wisdom of the Supreme Pontiff. Knowing and understanding the four chapters of this papal epistle will make us discern deeper the meaning of the papal visit and his concern for the poor, his compassion for the suffering people, and his love for the members of the Church.

First, the Pope reinforces the dogma of the authenticity of our faith, tracing its historical moorings from the days of Abraham, to Moses until the days of Peter, as well as the unbroken succession of 266 Supreme Pontiffs who were all witnesses to and bearers of faith. This is how the Church transmits the message of God and the authentic faith in all its integrity and fullness, through an unbroken chain of witnesses, the chosen occupants of the seats of Peter. Pope Francis being the 266th Pope is the present bearer of the good news and the testament of our true faith. He stresses that faith is not just a doctrine but a new light of an encounter with the true God, a light that touches us at the core of our being. In two day's time, we will see the bearer of this light.

The Pope teaches us that when members of the Church worship idols, they break from the faith. These idols are the manifestations of many worldly desires for wealth, power, prestige and adulation. People do not value relationships anymore and in their insatiable hunger for material wealth and greed, they trample on the rights of others, especially the weak, the poor and the powerless. In today's age, the term idols can also refer to many media of communications and technology that distract us from our focus on the true light. Today's generations are too fixated on the modern means of obtaining instant gratification through illicit sex, prohibited drugs, illegal gambling and other forms of immorality and hedonistic preoccupations.

The Pope teaches us in "Lumen Fidei" that the people break away from faith when they believe that salvation can be obtained by good works alone. This kind of paradigm would most probably make some believers self-righteous. Salvation can be obtained by the grace of God, by His mercy and compassion to His people, not by mere doing of good work. Our works are all in vain when not grated the blessings of the Father. People cannot claim that their own deeds are the only source of human salvation. Pope Francis teaches that faith finds fulfillment in the life, passion, death and resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Lastly, the Pope emphasizes that there is a need to safeguard the purity and integrity of the true faith. It is only the Church that transmits the true and unadulterated good news of our salvation through the unbroken chain of witnesses, all the way from Abraham, and Moses to Peter and Paul. "As service to the unity of faith and its integral transmission, the Lord gave His Church the gift of apostolic succession. Through this means, the Church's memory is ensured and certain access can be had to the well-spring from which faith flows.

The magisterium of the Pope and the bishops in communion with Him ensures our continuing contact with the primordial source of the light, and thus provides certainty and the word of Christ in all its integrity."

What matters most is that the Pope is our living connection with the Omnipotent and Omnipresent.

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