To live by faith


#1

Hi,

I am a Protestant but I have a deep respect for genuine Catholics.

I am interested in creating a discussion and obtaining full responses from Catholics under the theme:

‘What does it mean for a Catholic to live by faith?’

In other words, what is at the heart of a genuine Catholic spirituality? What practical things constitute living by faith for a Catholic? How does living by faith for a Catholic differ from living by faith for a Protestant?

I look forward to your well-informed thoughts, ideas and observations.

May God bless you,

In Christ

Craig


#2

What do you mean “Live by faith”? Do you mean how would a Catholic live out their Faith, or maybe, how does one live by the rules of the Catholic Faith?


#3

Welcome, Craig! Thank you for your warm and respectful post!
Craig, like you, like Protestants, the gospels, the beatitudes, the commandments of love…of God above all…are at the heart of our faith. But no less are the Sacraments which as Catholics, are so deeply part of our Catholic faith-life. The Eucharist (Mass) is “the source and summit” of our whole Christian life as Catholics.

“The Eucharistic Sacrifice is the source and summit of the whole of the Church’s worship and of Christian life. The faithful participate more fully in the sacrament of thanksgiving, propitiation, petition and praise not only when they wholeheartedly offer the sacred Victim, and in it themselves to the Father with the priest, but also when they receive this same Victim sacramentally.” [Vatican 2:9]

“The other sacraments, as indeed every ministry of the church and every work of the apostolate, are linked with the Eucharist and are directed towards it. For the Eucharist contains the entire spiritual good of the Church, namely, Christ Himself, our Passover and living bread, offering through His flesh, living and life-giving in the Spirit, life to all who are thus invited and led on to offer themselves, their labours, and all created things together with Him.” [Vatican 2.9:6]

“The faithful are gathered by the preaching of Christ’s Gospel and the mystery of the Lord’s Supper is celebrated, ‘so that through the Body and Blood of the Lord the whole brotherhood is united…Christ is present, by whose power the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church is united. For the partaking has no less an effect than to change us into what we have received.’” [Vatican 2.9:7. Constitution of the Church, n.26]

“But union with Christ…is not to be limited to the duration of the celebration of the Eucharist; it is to be prolonged into the entire Christian life…(as) a continual thanksgiving under the Holy Spirit and may produce fruits of greater charity.” [Vatican 11.9. iii. 38]

“The One that offers Sacrifice is the same One who, after having sacrificed himself on the Cross…to obtain for us eternal redemption…offers Himself now by the ministry of the priest; there is no difference except in the manner of offering.” [Council of Trent, S. 22, c.2] “For in it Christ perpetuates in an unbloody manner the sacrifice offered on the Cross, offering Himself to the Father for the world’s salvation through the ministry of priests.” [Vatican 2.9:3]

I’ll put the rest in another post so I don’t make this too long with all the quotes…


#4

“It is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven, the true bread; for the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst.” [John 6:32-33, 35]

“He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I in him…anyone who eats this bread will live forever.” [John 6:56, 58] For “Jesus took some bread, and when He had said the blessing He broke it and gave it to His disciples. ‘Take it and eat,’ He said ‘this is My body.’ Then He took a cup, and when He had returned thanks, He gave it to them. ‘Drink all of you from this,’ He said, for this is My blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” [Matthew 26:26-28]

“The blessing-cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ, and the bread that we break is a communion with the body of Christ. The fact that there is only one loaf means that, though there are many of us, we form a single body.” [1Corinthians 10:15-18]

“He is the image of the unseen God, and the first-born of all creation, for in Him were created all things in heaven and on earth…Before anything was created, He existed, and He holds all things in unity. Now the Church is His body, He is its head. As He is the Beginning, He was the first to be born from the dead, so that He should be first in every way; because God wanted all perfection to be found in Him and all things to be reconciled through Him and for Him, everything in heaven and everything on earth, when He made peace by His death on the cross.” [Colossians 1:15-16, 17-20]


#5

I mean how would a Catholic live out their faith?

How does a Catholic, in a practical daily sense, walk by faith and not by sight. How would these practical sensibilities differ from a Protestant conception of these things?

God bless,

Craig


#6

Hi Trishie,

Thank you for your thorough reply which I found informative and helpful.

In view of your stated position, how often are Catholics recommended to partake in the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice?

Is there a Church Canon law in this connection?

Blessings,

In Christ

Craig


#7

Hi Trishie,

Again, thank you for thoughts.

In view of your emphasis on the Eucharistic sacrifice, is it fair to assume that you would consider a person who does not partake of the Catholic Sacraments is not living by faith?

You will understand that this is asked respectfully in the context that I - as a Protestant - am trying to understand your position in a mature and informed way.

God bless you,

Craig


#8

Dear Craig, I go the Mass every day, from choice!
Many Catholics around the world do so in all the parishes of the world!
None of us goes only for ourselves, but for everyone in the world!

Your question is an insightful response,
“In view of your emphasis on the Eucharistic sacrifice, is it fair to assume that you would consider a person who does not partake of the Catholic Sacraments is not living by faith?”

As we have the gifts of the Sacraments, I guess you could say that neglecting them is to faith rather like refusing the foo we are given, and fading away in our faith from hunger.

Love Trishie

The following is one little prayer I wrote that shows what the Eucharist is to my life,

God’s gift of redemption and Jesus’ heart-gift

Jesus, the Eucharist is Your heart-gift to humanity throughout time. You grant it for our spiritual nourishment and for our intimate communion with God, with Christians throughout the ages, and with all saints in Heaven.

You offer Yourself to God in reparation, thanksgiving, petition and praise on behalf of everyone who ever lives. I ask You, with the Holy Spirit, with the intercession of Your Mother, of all saints and angels, and of all souls, to offer the Mass for all persons in the highest way intended by God.

Thank You Jesus for this gift of Eucharist that is offered for everyone, even those who know nothing of this gift! The Eucharistic offering is never an isolated event or the prayer of any one person, but of all people. Therefore, in the Eucharist, I say ‘Amen’ to all Your hopes and dreams for everyone and everything that You intend in time and eternity.

The Mass is the only banquet to which one may invite countless souls from around the world throughout time. I invite the Angels of dear ones and of each other person, to share fully in the Eucharist as they proclaim ‘Amen’ to all the hopes and dreams that God has for each of these souls.

I wish my life to be a celebration of this heart-gift of Jesus who loves us each so much. For Jesus, Bread of Life, You are my pearl beyond price. I offer this pearl to the Father for each soul entrusted to me, and for all persons.


#9

Thanks Trishie,

I respect your choice and I ‘hear’ the deep meaning and significance this has for you.

God bless you,

In Christ

Craig


#10

Craig, in my answers to you, I haven’t give proper respect to the enormous importance of the scriptures, the word of God which you as a Protestant, and we as Catholics, need to read and absorb and reflect upon; and according to which teachings and inspirations, we Protestants and Catholics alike need to authentically live, loving God above all and athers as ourselves.

The word of God is a significant part of the Eucharist and of our faith! We have three reading of Scripture in weekdays Masses, and four in weekend Masses. The homily or sermon is based on the scripture readings of the day. I keep my bible by me and read it every day, but right now is time to go cook a meal for my dear husband!

God bless you. Thank you for your gracious enquiries, Trishie.


#11

Craig, in my answers to you, I haven’t give proper respect to the enormous importance of the scriptures, the word of God which you as a Protestant, and we as Catholics, need to read and absorb and reflect upon; and according to which teachings and inspirations, we Protestants and Catholics alike need to authentically live, loving God above all and others as ourselves.

The word of God is a significant part of the Eucharist and of our faith! We have three readings of Scripture in weekdays Masses, and four in weekend Masses. The homily or sermon is based on the scripture readings of the day. I keep my bible by me and read it every day, but right now is time to go cook a meal for my dear husband!

God bless you. Thank you for your gracious enquiries, Trishie.


#12

I would also say that for me living by faith means love and complete trust in God and his Will for us - and as a friend of mine says, His Will is Love, so even if bad stuff happens to us, it is all part of God’s plan and He can into into something good (Romans 8). Trust that His Word is the Truth, that the Church is His body and even though imperfect, He wants me in it and serve my fellow brothers and sisters - no matter what religion - in the Church.

The perfect examples for me of that kind of faith from the Bible are Abraham and Mary.

And talking of Abraham, if you look at Paul’s and James letters, you will see that they stress different aspects of his faith. Paul seems to put more emphasis that he believed that he will be the father of the nation. James puts the stress on the fact that he acted on it - he was ready to sacrifice his son that God gave him still believing that if God promised something, He will keep his word.


#13

I mean how would a Catholic live out their faith?

How does a Catholic, in a practical daily sense, walk by faith and not by sight. How would these practical sensibilities differ from a Protestant conception of these things?

Every Catholic lives the faith differently, in the sense that everyone has their own individual devotions and spiritual practices. However, there are certain “rules” that every faithful Catholic follows. I will list the things that all Catholics are required to do:

The Six Precepts of the Church

[LIST=1]
*]To hear Mass on Sundays and holydays of obligation.
*]To fast and abstain on the days commanded.
*]To confess our sins at least once a year.
*]To receive the Blessed Eucharist at Easter or within the time appointed.
*]To contribute to the support of our Pastors.
*]Not to solemnize marriage at the forbidden times; nor to marry persons within the forbidden degrees of the kindred, or otherwise prohibited by the Church, nor secretly.
[/LIST]

Penitential Rule of the Church

All Christ’s faithful are obliged by divine law, each in his or her own way, to do penance. However, so that all may be joined together in a common practice of penance, days of penance are prescribed. On these days the faithful are in a special manner to devote themselves to prayer, to engage in works of piety and charity, and to deny themselves, by fulfilling their obligations more faithfully and especially by observing the fast and abstinence which the following canons prescribe.

The days of penance for the universal Church are each Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.

Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Friday’s, unless a solemnity (i.e first-class feast or first-class day within an octave) should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have reached their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.

The Episcopal Conference can determine more particularly ways in which fasting and abstinence are to be observed. In place of abstinence or fasting it can substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises od piety.

(Code of Canon Law 1249-1253)

ABSTINENCE

“The law of abstinence prohibits meat and soups made of meat but not of eggs, milks, and other condiments, even if taken from animals.”

FASTING

"The law of fast prescribes that there be only one meal a day; but it does not forbid a little taken in the morning and evening, observing, nevertheless, the aproved custom of places concerning the quantity and quality of the food.

It is not forbidden to mix meat and fish in the same meal; or to exchange the evening meal with lunch."

(Pio-Benedictine Code [1917], 1250-1251)

Source: The Roman Missal (1962), Baronius Press

These are the things that faithful Catholics must do. However, Catholics do more than this; they meditate on the Scriptures, confess their sins regularly, and pray the Scriptures through the recitation of the Holy Rosary. Not all Catholics pray the Rosary, but many do.


#14

For me, to live by faith means putting Jesus Christ first in everything. It means, loving, as loves. It means becoming more Christ-like.

Jim


#15

Aside from the legalistic aspects, or the rules of the faith, I strive to live my life in the manner in which Christ lived his. He showed us how to live, and I try to be more like him every day.

I know that I am a sinner, and I know that Christ has redeemed me, and continues to redeem me everyday. I strive to defeat sin and remain faithful to Christ, and his Church.

The way to live the faith is to live like Christ and follow his commandments.


#16

I’m a former Protestant. My Protestant parents introduced me to the Lord, and I came to know Him personally at the age of 15. He gave me many wonderful spiritual experiences as a Protestant, and ended up leading me into Catholicism at the age of . . . last Pentecost, so 23.

I can tell you how living by faith in day to day life has changed for me, upon becoming Catholic.

While I was Protestant, this was my system of behavior when I wanted to know things from my dear Lord:

I would first pray and ask Him for his view. Then I would research what the Scripture has to say on the matter. Then I would come to an interpretation that appeared to me to make the most sense. I would ask the Spirit to direct me to God’s will on the matter, would often have a spiritual experience or moment of illumination, and then would feel I had Scripture, Reason and the confirmation of the Holy Ghost on the matter (our Counselor, as Christians), so for me the matter was settled.

I would pray to the Lord throughout day to day activity, receiving signs often or other words in answer to my prayers. I think God did greatly bless me.

The shift to Catholicism came after a spiritual dark spot in my life and, I believe, the Virgin Mary’s intercession. I described that side of the shift recently in the patron saints thread in this Spirituality forum.

The change for me was monumental. Like smacking your face in ice water.

I HAD THE EUCHARIST! :smiley: HALLELUJAH!!!

There is nothing in the entire world like the Catholic Eucharist. I had reverenced the Protestant Eucharist and had gone to different presentations of the Protestant Eucharist, from an Episcopal church to an Assemblies of God, but they are nothing in comparison. Nothing. Like eating a peanut vs. eating a steak and mash potatoes. Sorry if you find that insulting at all :o.

The Catholic Eucharist is at the heart of my faith life. It is the single most important feature of what makes me Christian. It is Life.

The kinds of spiritual experiences I’ve had surrounding that Eucharist blow me away. Eating the Eucharist itself blows me away. Glory be to God. His glory consumes the Eucharist completely. It is the most exquisite delight anyone can partake of on Earth.

That’s the most dominant feature of what changed for me, the glory of the Eucharist sweeping up my earlier spiritual existence and filling it with overflowing new life.

The Eucharist is what matters most.

Aside from it- the other sacraments were big changes. The Catholic Confession, I found, is wildly powerful to knock out sins. It’s like a giant hammer. Wham. Sin gone. Lol.

Sins also can be relieved through personal praying to God, yet that is a less perfect way. In my experience when praying for forgiveness and removal of sin from my life as a Protestant, I would often feel some spiritual burden left over when I was done. It wasn’t 100% release, and the battle against spiritual evil within me that I fought afterward was sometimes very long and wearisome.

The Confessional is more powerful, and there are a lot of reasons for that. I won’t get into them all here, as that’s not the point of your question.

Then, living by faith also includes for me now hearing and feeling the guidance, protection and blessings of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her intercession has made a very large difference in my life.

My practice with Sacred Scripture remains basically the same as it was when I was Protestant, on matters where the Church has not given an authoritative teaching. I feel that the Church’s authority saves me from a lot of subjectivity when it comes to really important matters, and the subjectivity is inherent in my former triad of ways of structuring my doctrinal beliefs: Reason (is a personal viewpoint, which others may disagree with, so it’s subjective) + Scripture (my interpretation of Scripture verses- others may disagree with it, so it’s subjective) + Spirit (If spiritual experiences aren’t required to conform with certain teachings authoritatively known to be true, but instead are paving the doctrinal ground for us themselves, we can’t know whether or not they’re misleading us).

This is why the Tradition and Magesterium of the Church are so important to me, filling out and finalizing what is doctrinally true on extremely important matters.

I reverence the Scripture and read it to know God’s will.

I still have many experiences with the Spirit of God. I still seek Him, as I did before, and find Him, and He answers my prayers.

I seek the Lord in faith.

Does this answer your question? I’m not completely sure what your question was after.

Jim gave a really good response:

[quote=JimR-OCDS]For me, to live by faith means putting Jesus Christ first in everything. It means, loving, as loves. It means becoming more Christ-like.
[/quote]

I emphatically agree with him on this.


To Protestants: HAPPY REFORMATION DAY
#17

Glory be to God for His Eucharist . . .


#18

Craig, for me, it’s always to try to be like Jesus. To forgo my natural selfishness in making choices, in performing my work, in dealing with people.

I wear a scapular, which is a nice and very present reminder to myself of Jesus’ sacrifice.

It’s vital to go to church each week (I understand many Protestants view this as optional, kind of go when they feel like it), since the Holy Eucharist, the Body of Christ, is available to us.:slight_smile:


#19

How does a Catholic, in a practical daily sense, walk by faith and not by sight. How would these practical sensibilities differ from a Protestant conception of these things?

Oh, well then yes, the Precepts apply:

The Six Precepts of the Church

To hear Mass on Sundays and holydays of obligation.
To fast and abstain on the days commanded.
To confess our sins at least once a year.
To receive the Blessed Eucharist at Easter or within the time appointed.
To contribute to the support of our Pastors.
Not to solemnize marriage at the forbidden times; nor to marry persons within the forbidden degrees of the kindred, or otherwise prohibited by the Church, nor secretly.

But other than that? It would depend on the Catholic. Probably the greatest differences is that a Catholic will have devotions to help him or her get closer to God that they will use throughout the day. A Catholic devotion is usually a specific prayer or practice, versus Protestant devotions that are usually meditation on Scripture.

Also, Catholics have more support. They view the world as being surrounded and filled with angels whom they can ask for assistance and help or prayers, and with saints in Heaven who can interceede for us, at any time of any day.


#20

Hi Trishie,

I give thanks to God for your genuine and authentic spirituality which, obviously, shines outward from your heart in tune with God.
This is refreshing and very heartening, let me assure you.

I am heartened to hear the scriptures play a significant part in your
growth in godliness and holiness. I am pleased you read your Bible every day.

I am learning a lot from your - and others, too! - posts.

God bless you, Craig


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