"What is Faith?"

By Paul Dion, STL

How many times you have heard from me, "This is not an intellectual exercise."

Now is the time to put this axiom to the test. We are not looking for left-brained answers this week. (OK, you lefties, stop gloating!) We are getting really basic and fundamental here, but the simplicity of the question may stun you, so think it over.


I beg of you to refrain from "Googling" this one. If you've thought of this before, you have an opinion. If this is a new question, thank God that you are getting a chance to delve into your conscience about it.

Post a comment today. Share your thoughts with us about this very incisive topic. And see what we others are saying as well as our recap of this important question.



  1. Barbara Chung-Lee11:08 PM

    Faith is knowing and truly believing God always walks with me. That no matter what happens, good or bad, God is always with me, guiding my every move. Faith is letting go and letting God.

  2. Mark Cahill11:17 PM

    What is faith? It's a one-on-one relationship between me and my God. It's understanding that He listens to everyting I say and I listen to what He tells me. It's hard to explain.

  3. Anonymous2:54 PM

    Faith is a trust in something greater than our everyday existance. We need to have faith in something to exist. With me, it is my belief in God to get me through whatever troubles I have as a human being and beyond.

  4. Anonymous10:42 AM

    First of all, I am not catholic, but do believe in God and that I do have "faith". To me, "faith" is a powerful internal feeling, a feeling and belief of confidence in knowing that there is a God and a place for us beyond this life on earth. A place of peace and love. Having faith gives me enormous powers to do positive things and the ability to get through difficult times, daily struggles or conflicts. I find that when I lose this internal feeling and things are not going as I had expected, I really need a "realty check" of sorts, which I believe that is where "having faith" gets me through.

    By the way, I love this ParishWorld
    e-magazine and particularly the Burning Question section. Thanks.

  5. Faith is my five-year-old son saying, "Don't worry Mommy, I asked God to stop the rain for you," when I had pnemonia and needed to run into work to pick up a paycheck and disability papers. The rain stopped as I went to step out of the car and started again as I stepped back in. In a very calm and sure voice as he looked up at me and smiled, "See I told you Mommy." Faith of a child.

    Faith is Abraham taking his son Isaac up on the mountain, as God commanded, to be the blood offering. God provided the offering and blessed Abraham for his faith. Abraham had Faith as a child.

    Faith is a calmness in my soul that He is in charge that He will not give me more than I can handle that I am a child of His and that He is watching over me and mine.

  6. Faith is learning to willingly accept that God makes everything in my life happen according to His Will, in His time.

    All I can do is wake up every morning, say thank you for another beautiful morning, and do everything I can during the day to the best of my abilities. Anything else beyond that is not within my control. I let go and let God take charge of that.

    Ever since I learned to accept this reality, my life has been much more peaceful with far less stress. If things don't work out the way I planned them to happen, I let go. I know in my heart that God has a plan and it will be revealed to me in His time.

  7. Anonymous1:15 PM

    My answer to this is very simple. Faith to me means believing in things & facts & God even though I can't see them. My goal is that through my faith, I will come to know God face to face. Until then I will have to see Him only in my thoughts and meditative moments. My Faith is a beautiful thing to me and I'm proud to say that it can't be shaken. God willing, this position that I take will never change. Believing in God and the miracles that His Son performed bring me so much joy. I know for a fact that my faith in God and even in myself have gotten me through some very difficult times in my life. Sorry, I'm so wordy and that I'm late in responding.

  8. Anonymous1:16 PM

    Faith to me is the knowledge that Almighty God created me, to love Him and trust in His will for me and at the end of my life, to be with Him forever, if I am faithful to his call in loving others. God sent Jesus, His son, to us as an example to follow. I believe that the Holy Spirit helps me to follow Him faithfully. I believe.

  9. Anonymous1:16 PM

    Faith is the confidence that what God wants for me is better than what I want for me; that His will is more likely to make me happy than is mine.

  10. Anonymous1:16 PM

    Faith is the act of believing in something, (or someone)greater than ourselves, which you can neither see, touch nor smell, and to which you turn to for guidance, or solace. I am assuming you are talking about "faith" in terms of something greater than ourselves, rather than " I have faith in you.

  11. Anonymous1:22 PM

    Faith to us is the peace, joy and trust of God's love which we feel within our heart when we freely release and express it to others.
    Our soul is dependent on God's love for nourishment during it's return journey home to its creator. Our heart helps our soul by releasing and expressing God's love within. God created each of us, heart and soul, and with each new birth, there comes a new soul, struggling to return home. Our God given duty upon our birth is to discover our faith, nourish it, and allow it to grow and be shared with all our brothers and sisters, that we may all be reunited in heaven. No google was used in the presentation of this reply.

  12. Paul Dion, STL1:24 PM

    By Paul Dion, STL

    Faith is a lot of things. You've touched on several of them. As you read through the responses of your fellow inquirers and pilgrims, you'll notice that there is a mix of intellect and emotion, mechanics and spirituality in the expressions. No wonder then, that Christian Faith is a mystery.


    Faith in God is a free gift from God Himself. Without this gift, we do not believe in God. Without this gift we do not develop trust in God. Without this gift we can talk about God and we can say that we know that God exists. But we still don’t have FAITH. We have knowledge. To borrow a phrase from human relationships, ‘there is no ‘chemistry’”. It is possible to go through life without ever recognizing that the gift is right there, ours for the taking. It’s like being a security guard in the Louvre and never appreciating the difference between a Dali and a MirĂ².

    What this means is that Faith is never complete until it is taken and acted upon. We call it active faith. Its fuel is trust. Until we accept the truth that God is actively working in us and we get involved in the invitation, we have knowledge, but we don’t have FAITH. Check out your answers and comments. These are descriptions of complete faith. Analyze what you read. It is impossible to describe your faith without injecting trust. It is impossible to describe your faith without injecting your involvement in it.


    Look at yourselves. Look at yourselves the way others look at you. No, no, not your mother, OTHERS. The way they wonder how you can give up so much of your personal time for the welfare of your fellow humans.

    Remember how many times you ask yourself at night, “Why do I do this?"

    How many times have you been confronted by the possibility of pocketing $100.00 that was not yours and did not do it? How many times did you stop an immoral conversation? Surely there are some of you out there who stood up to an unethical boss for the good of the employees or the customers. How many times have you been the recipient of too much change and returned the overage?

    Do you remember the moment when you were inspired to hang a crucifix on a wall or two of your dwelling? How about the moment when you were internally convinced that you had to have a meditation corner in your house with a candle and an open Bible? How about the time when you decided that the Nordstrom’s Registry would have to take second place to your decision to gift the newly weds with a “family Bible?”

    How about the moment when you decided to sacrifice every Sunday morning to the Pursuit of Christian Holiness by attending Catholic Doctrine Sessions? How about the moment when you realized that your unconditional love for your best friend’s spouse was a call to a deeper understanding of what LOVE and FAITH really are? Wasn’t that the moment when you realized that FAITH in God was so full of TRUST in Him that you could love everybody unconditionally and still be monogamously unconditionally in love with your spouse?

    My dear brothers and sisters, and I call you that intentionally, you know what FAITH is. Thank God for the gift. Thank Him for presenting the gift, and for gifting you with the strength to respond, and co-respond.

    The final test will be that you not cry at my funeral, but rather rejoice that I no longer need FAITH because I will be face to face with the God that I believed in and trusted for so many years.

  13. Stephen10:03 AM

    Our Priest was talking about this at Mass and recanted the following true story.

    Some years ago in London at Hyde Park a man stood on a soap box, a non-believer, and said.

    "People say there is a God, but I cannot see him"

    "People say there is life beyond death, but I cannot see it"

    "People say there is a Heaven and a Hell, but I cannot see them"

    and he stood down. Then another, frail man went to the soap box, and needed some help to get up, for he was blind, and he said;

    "People say there is green grass all around, but I cannot see it"

    "People say the sky is a bright blue, but I cannot see it"

    "People say there are trees of many colours, but I cannot see them"

    Faith therefore, is surely the ability to see.


  14. Hebrews 11:1 says, " Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen." i.e., We know God will work all things for our good even though any concrete evidence of that is still lacking or unclear. It takes no faith to have something resolved or in hand. It's also encouraging to note Jesus' word on the subject - that we only need faith the size of a mustard seed

  15. I describe faith as a state of mind born from the repetition of our catholic traditions, prayer and bible study. To transform our thoughts and actions into alignment with the Holy Trinity. Faith is a verb not a noun. Not to go to deep into this but to many times people say I have faith as a description instead of like the blind man faith became action and he was healed because of it.

  16. Anonymous10:19 AM

    Faith is simply knowing He's there-site unseen.
    It is a door closed-a dark room-having the knowledge that in asking-He will open the door and light the room. Not always in our time-but His time-His way.