UCA News

Fear is the great nemesis of faith, pope says

Pope Francis continues his series of catecheses on the virtues and vices, focusing this week on faith
Pope Francis greets people at the end of the weekly general audience on May 1st, 2024 at Paul-VI hall in The Vatican.

Pope Francis greets people at the end of the weekly general audience on May 1 at Paul-VI hall in The Vatican. (Photo: AFP)

Published: May 02, 2024 05:44 AM GMT
Updated: May 02, 2024 05:46 AM GMT

The greatest enemy of faith is fear, Pope Francis said at his weekly general audience.

That is why faith is the first gift "that must be welcomed and asked for daily, so that it may be renewed in us. It is seemingly a small gift, yet it is the essential one," he said on May 1 in the Paul VI Audience Hall.

Continuing a series of audience talks about vices and virtues, the pope reflected on the virtue of faith, reiterating the difference between "cardinal" virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance and the "theological" or New Testament virtues of faith, hope and charity.

The three theological virtues, he said, "can be lived only thanks to the gift of God."

"Without them, we could be prudent, just, strong and temperate, but we would not have eyes that see even in the dark, we would not have a heart that loves even when it is not loved, we would not have a hope that dares against all hope," he said.

Faith is the act by which a person freely commits him- or herself to God, the pope said.

Pope Francis recounted the story of the disciples crossing the lake in a boat with Jesus, but beginning to panic when the boat started to fill up with water in a storm. They woke Jesus who had been sleeping and were upset he seemed not to care they were in danger.

Jesus rebukes them, saying, "Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?"

Pope Francis said, "Here, then, is the great enemy of faith: it is not intelligence, it is not reason, as, alas, some continue obsessively to repeat." The enemy is "simply fear."

"We who are believers also often realize that we have only a short supply" of faith, he said.

"But it is the happiest gift, the only virtue we are permitted to envy," the pope said, "because those who have faith are inhabited by a force that is not only human; indeed, faith 'triggers' grace in us and opens the mind to the mystery of God."

"Faith is the virtue that makes the Christian. Because to be Christians is not first and foremost about accepting a culture with the values that accompany it, but welcoming and cherishing a bond" between God and oneself, he said.

After his main talk, the pope noted that for the church May 1 is the feast of St. Joseph the worker. It is a major holiday in many countries, including Italy, as it marks Labor Day or International Workers' Day.

The day also begins "the Marian month," he said. "Therefore, to each of you I would like to re-propose the Holy Family of Nazareth as a model of domestic community: a community of life, work and love."

Help UCA News to be independent
Dear reader,
Trafficking is one of the largest criminal industries in the world, only outdone by drugs and arms trafficking, and is the fastest-growing crime today.
Victims come from every continent and are trafficked within and to every continent. Asia is notorious as a hotbed of trafficking.
In this series, UCA News introduces our readers to this problem, its victims, and the efforts of those who shine the light of the Gospel on what the Vatican calls “these varied and brutal denials of human dignity.”
Help us with your donations to bring such stories of faith that make a difference in the Church and society.
A small contribution of US$5 will support us continue our mission…
William J. Grimm
UCA News

Share your comments

1 Comments on this Story
Happy feast of Saint Joseph, the Worker. Jesus, Mary, and Joe - Pray for us.
Asian Bishops
Latest News
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia