What is faith? What is the "Year of Faith"? What for is the "Year of Faith"? There go questions – among a good number of them – that come to fore as far as the Catholic Church all over the globe in concerned. It is no less that Pope Benedict XVI who officially declared the “Year of Faith” as a “good opportunity to usher the whole Church into a time of particular reflection and rediscovery of the faith.”
Among other realities in the Catholic world, the most salient implications of the said declaration are the following: There is the onset of the phenomenon of the trio of secularism-materialism-hedonism in the four corners of the world. There is also the consequent fact that the Christian faith has been eroded and is still being beclouded – if not in effect altogether discarded. And there are wherefore the long on-going regional wars and wanton massacres, the spread of human poverty and misery plus the pursuant disgust for the population and the consequent murders of the unborn.
What is faith? Without delving into the profound and the mysterious, faith is belief, trust, and love of God with the necessary inclusion of caring for man as a creature fashioned to His image. In other words, genuine faith cannot be simply deference to God or merely attention to man – but both. By himself, man is not lovable. By Himself, God could be irrelevant to the world. Faith is thus the combined love of God and love of man.
What is the "Year of Faith"? Briefly, it is a time frame specifically set aside for the study, understanding and practice of one’s belief in God and concern for man. Otherwise, when man becomes godless and/or inhumane, he himself suffers a big loss – together with his family and community. And when man becomes too “godly”, he ultimately becomes indifferent to his fellowmen.
What for is the "Year of Faith"? In substance, it is not only for the glory of God by also for the good of man – considering the nature, implications and consequences of genuine faith. When man rediscovers the faith, he becomes not only more human but also more humane. Without faith, man loses his ethical anchorage.
Needless to say, the “Year of Faith” is an ardent and urgent call addressed to Catholics. But just the same, it is not only relevant but also necessary when people of all faiths – who believe in the providence of God and the dignity of man – will take another look into their respective creeds for the latter’s renewal if not rediscovery. After all, faith in God and concern for neighbor ultimately bring about the humanity of man to man. Just as godless people are dangerous, those who disregard man are a liability to humanity.