Pope Pius XII on receiving Jesus by faith


#1

Hi all,

I came across this passage while reading On the Mystical Body of Christ by Pope Pius XII:

“And once we have received Christ, our Head, through an ardent faith so that He dwells within our hearts, [144] as He is the author so He will be the finisher of our faith.[145]”

  1. Cf. Eph., 3, 17.

  2. Cf. Hebr., 12, 2.

Ephesians 3:17: “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…”

Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

What do you think the Pope meant here? Evangelicals tell us we must “receive” Christ into our hearts by faith. Is this what he means?

Thanks,

Gene


#2

This is probably too simple a manner in which to approach this but I see the ‘receiving of Christ’ and the faith in Him to be an ongoing and constant part of my life. It does not happen just once - I am Child of the Incarnate Word by virture of the Sacrament of Baptism and so the seed of faith is planted. Throughout my life my faith grows, falters, sometimes seemed to die, but flourished with just a bit of tending.

I have never understood the evangelical idea that you get faith ONCE and that’s it - as I have grown and experienced life, so has my faith grown and changed and deepened.

That’s what I think the Pope meant - but there are far more learned members of this board who will have a far more sophisticated answer.:wink:


#3

I’m not exactly well-versed in Catholic theology, but considering the Pope was quoting scripture, let’s assume that he meant to say whatever the Scripture says.

Ephesians 3:17: “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…”
The fact that Evangelicals derive a doctrine from this scripture does not change the fact that the scripture is inherently true. Read the whole context, and I don’t think you’ll have difficulty.

Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
I don’t understand what the difficulty here is, either. Obviously, Christ is the author of our faith. Scripture tells us over and over that faith is a gift of God. And, if anyone is going to perfect our faith and keep us from “grow[ing] weary and los[ing] heart” (Hebrews 12:3), it is going to be Christ, who sent his Holy Spirit to guide us.


#4

The Pope was preaching what catholcism has always preached salvation by faith in Christ. The fathers of the church talked about receving Jesus by faith and so did many popes it is only with the advent of the invention of salvation by faith alone that there has been misunderstandings on this subject.


#5

Hi Gene,

Consider this from John 14, 23:

The passage you quote from Mystici Corporis comes after the pope has started explaining the bonds that unite the mystical body, one being authority, another being faith, hope and charity. Here he is explaining the bond of faith.

[size=3]71. "One Lord, one faith,"writes the Apostle: the faith, that is, by which we hold fast to God, and to Jesus Christ whom He has sent. The beloved disciple teaches us how closely this faith binds us to God: “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God.”. This Christian faith binds us no less closely to each other and to our divine Head. For all we who believe, “having the same spirit of faith,” are illumined by the same light of Christ, nourished by the same Food of Christ, and live under the teaching authority of Christ. If the same spirit of faith breathes in all, we are all living the same life “in the faith of the Son of God who loved us and delivered himself for us.” And once we have received Christ, our Head, through an ardent faith so that He dwells within our hearts, as He is the author so He will be the finisher of our faith.[/size]

Jesus has been “sent” and therefore to believe in him is to"receive" Him. Faith is essentially an intellectual act, an act of the mind, submitting our intelligence to the truth of God. When evangelist speak of “receiving” Jesus in their heart, they are speaking of a more or less emotional act of trust.

We are justified by faith and baptism, through which we are made adopted children of God and heirs to heaven. This is to "receive. Christ.

Is this any help to you?

Verbum


#6

To Verbum and everyone else,

Thanks for your answers! You’ve given much food for thought.

Grace and peace,
Gene


#7

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