Lumen Fidei: Consolation and Strength Amid Suffering

To speak and to enact the light of faith is to experience suffering.  It sometimes comes from the world that rejects the vision and values of God.  But it also comes from within the Christian church as fellow believers disagree with our interpretation of faith.

St. Paul experienced opposition from both sides, yet he remained steadfast (2 Cor 4:10).  So do all who seek to live and share the light of faith.  Every reformer was first said to be “unbiblical” by some person or group.

So, as Pope Francis’ encyclical moves toward its close, he wisely reminds us that courage is a necessary ingredient in spreading the light of faith.

But if we allow suffering to do its work, we find that it breeds hope–hope captured in this hymn stanza: “that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father’s world.”

Combined with faith and love hope enables us to remain faithful–what Pope Francis has captured in the title of one of his first books, ‘Open Mind, Faithful Heart.’

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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