*This is part of a series of articles covering virtues, and how they can help you live a better life. So far, this series has covered the Cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance, which can be found at the respective links.
So I know the cover image of this article is not very serious, but this article is a bit more serious than the other articles in this series. That is due in large part due to some personal reflections over the past few days over the recent abuse scandals in the Catholic Church.
That's not to say that what has happened has led to a "crisis of faith" of anything like that, but I when taking about an issue that is giving people trouble at the moment, I don't think a lighthearted approach would be just.
With that preface out of the way, let's talk about the theological virtues in a broad sense, before going into the theological virtue of faith specifically.
So what are the theological virtues?
The three theological virtues are one of the three graces: faith, hope, or charity, that are infused into us by a special grace of God. I think Thomas Aquinas best explained why these three virtues are known as the then theological virtues when he stated "they have God for their object, both in so far as by them we are properly directed to Him, and because they are infused into our souls by God alone," which is very important for that context of faith especially.
So what is faith?
In the theological sense, faith is the infused virtue, by which the intellect, by a movement of the will, assents to the supernatural truths of Revelation, not on the motive of intrinsic evidence, but on the sole ground of the infallible authority of God revealing. To simply, it is belief in God and what he has taught us.
What gave me trouble when writing this article was the more popular definition for the Catholic Church, which is "Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself." The important part to remember is that the foundation of that quote is that God is the truth, because the people that make up the Church at all levels make mistakes.
We can still have faith in God, despite what happens in the world around us.
So how does faith help you live a better life?
Quite simply put, having faith can help us survive the darkest of times. That belief in God can make all the difference when getting up for the lowest points we face because it can renew us in ways that world just can't.
Another important part of faith and the other theological virtues is that they work together to bring us closer to God and help us live a better life. It takes faith, hope, and charity (love) to live a better life. Think of the passage James 2:14-26, which is where the concept of "faith apart from works is dead" comes from.
Faith needs hope and love to really help some live a significantly better life.
So how do I gain faith?
Honestly, it's just learning and believing.
Regardless of what religion you belong to, learning about your religion can restore and enhance your faith, and then you have to believe what you learned, and believe that it is the truth.
Blind faith doesn't really help someone live a better life, nor does just gaining knowledge without belief that it is true. It takes knowing that your faith is true and that is sound to truly be made better by it.
When you don't have sound faith, it means you don't have the knowledge you need or you don't believe the knowledge you have. Either way, the lack of faith can be disturbing.