The fruits of faith in Christ’s divinity possess divine qualities themselves. The first of the fruits is eternal life. Whoever believes in him has eternal life (cf. Jn 3:5; 5:24; 6:40-47). The Gospel itself was written so that people would believe that Jesus is the Son of God and, believing, would have eternal life, [and] eternal life is not just the life that begins after death, but the new life of children of God which already opens up now for the believer. Whoever believes in him has already passed from death to life (Jn 5:24). Faith allows the divine world to irrupt into this our world right now. Believing, therefore, means something very different from believing in a “hereafter”, in life after death; it is to experience the life and glory of God here and now. Whoever believes already sees the glory of God, right now (cf. Jn 11:40)…. Christ willed to found his Church on nothing else than faith in him as Son of God. Peter becomes Cephas, Rock, the moment when, by revelation from the Father, he believes in the divine origin of Jesus. “On this rock, Saint Augustine comments, I shall build the faith which you have professed. On the fact that you have said: You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God, I shall build my Church.” The Church was founded on the first act of faith, in the temporal order, in Christ’s divinity. This remains her basis, this allows her to overcome the world and the gates of hell. How different the works of God are from those of human beings! The whole immense edifice of the Church set on something invisible, very fragile yet invincible: on faith in Christ the Son of God and on the promise made in response to this faith. The Church is, in herself, the tangible proof of the truth of those words: Whoever believes that Jesus is the Son of God overcomes the world.
Father Raniero Cantalamessa
Father Cantalamessa is a Franciscan Capuchin priest and theologian. He is the preacher to the papal household.