|01-02-2008 - Traces, n. 2
Faith: Yesterday and Today
Notes from a talk by Luigi Giussani in the Church of Saint Alexander in Milan, on November 26, 1987
1. Chosen for a task
It might seem surprising that the Synod1 found it very difficult to find an acceptable definition of what it means to be a layperson in the Church. I believe this is due to the fact that a true definition of the layperson is extremely simple: the Christian layperson is nothing other than a baptized person. For this reason, the parish priest rightly said that Saint Alexander was a layperson and that his greatness lay in having testified to the faith. In fact, Baptism marks out from among humankind those whom the Lord God chooses so they may know His presence in the world, so they may know the opus Dei, the great work He intends to achieve within history for man’s salvation.
In the beginning of the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John, during Jesus’ last prayer before going to Gethsemane, He says, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to Your Son, so that Your Son may glorify You. You gave Him authority over all people [over all men and women] so that He may give eternal life to all You gave Him [all those You gave into His hands]. This is eternal life: that they should know You, the only true God, and the one whom You sent, Jesus Christ.”2 The hour has come. And from that moment, this sentence indicates every day of history that passes, because the definitiveness of time began with the glorification of Christ who rises. The Death and Resurrection of Christ begin the new era that we can recognize and enjoy as a down-payment–as it says in the Liturgy–in expectation of the final manifestation. But a down-payment has one and the same nature as the whole promise. For this reason, the life of the Christian is like the great realization of the event of Christ, and is death and resurrection.
So then, what defines the time of those who have been given into the hands of Christ as virtue? Christ has power over all people–He says of Himself in that beginning of the seventeenth chapter–but gives eternal life to those the Father puts into His hands. This power over all people is actuated through a continuous choice, and this choice is marked by Baptism, analogously to what happened in antiquity, as one reads in Deuteronomy, when God said, “Mine are all the peoples of the earth, but you will be the people of Israel, my own particular inheritance.”3
All Christians, all the baptized, thus carry within themselves the destiny to which all are destined, but the baptized have been chosen: they are Christian because they have been chosen to begin to “comprehend” within time and space, in this vestibule of history, in this vestibule of eternity that history is. The concept of choice is an inevitable premise for talking about faith. Perhaps what we’ll say later will confirm this observation, but I want to underline that the concept of choice is a prerequisite for the idea of faith, precisely inasmuch as faith isn’t the term of a theorem to which all can arrive. It is, as we will say, a grace. Since I’ll be talking about this later, it shouldn’t be necessary to emphasize it now, but I need to do so because the concept of choice is perhaps the most forgotten category of Christian consciousness. Instead, this predilection, this choice, is the supreme category of God’s love. In fact, in choice, love explicates and documents itself. This obliteration, this forgetfulness of choice is almost an expedient; it’s convenient for us, banally convenient. First of all, there’s nothing more contrary to rationality, as modern and contemporary culture proposes it, nothing more contradictory to the principles of modern and contemporary culture than the concept of choice. And in its political or social-political application, there’s nothing more contradictory to the concept of democracy than the idea of choice, and thus this concept is already socially uncomfortable for us.
However, perhaps more acutely, the convenience of this forgetfulness lies in the fact that we have been chosen for a mission. God chooses us for a task and a mission and, obviously, a task and a mission represent a great burden. But our life will be judged by how we fulfilled this obligation or not: “Those of you who were ashamed of Me before men, I too will be ashamed of before my Father.”4 From the testimony, the ultimate content of the judgment… And it is highly meaningful that this ultimate content of judgment, being a witness, can’t be understood apart from or, worse still, in contradiction to another image Christ has given us about the end of the world, in the parable in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew,5 the parable of the sheep and the goats, the great division between the good and the bad. The criterion, the content, seems different: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. For I was hungry and you gave Me food.” Instead, there’s a word that equates the first content (testimony) to the second (sharing the needs of others): charity or, in other words, the Lord God’s choice of us, because He has put us into the hands of Christ, unlike the vast majority of others. The supreme meaning of this choice is the acknowledgment of Christ, in the full sense of the word; the acknowledgment that brings gratitude, that sweeps along with it gratitude and affection, and thus an inflection of a life lived in conformity, a morality. Here, this twenty-fifth chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew marks the most sensational condition of this morality, the most sensational content of this morality: love for others.
2. Faith: acknowledgment of a Presence
Having said what I wanted to say on the idea of choice, now let’s turn to the most elementary–but also the most important, I think–aspects of the concept of faith. We have been chosen to believe. We know very well that the gesture with which the Father has put us into the hands of Christ, Baptism, the Sacrament, is a mysterious gesture that realizes the power of change at a level in which our experience cannot participate. “What is born of the Spirit is Spirit, and what is born of the flesh is flesh,” Jesus said to Nicodemus. Therefore, it is like the wind, which “blows where it will, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.”6 You can judge it by the effect, by the outcome. The fact that we have been called to believe obligates us first of all to have a clear idea of what we are called to. If, in Baptism, the virtue of faith, the energy capable of believing, is given to us as potential–not visible, not tangible, not immediately perceptible, but that, in education or in the development of life, demonstrates its presence (the wind blows where it will, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes)–if, therefore, the choice, the being chosen to believe, in Baptism, means the position of our nature, in our being, of a new potential, bit by bit as life grows, becoming conscious, this initial virtue becomes the content of experiential gesture, of conscious gesture, of lived experience.
Faith isn’t a sentiment. Faith isn’t a state of mind. It isn’t even an attitude. Faith is an intelligence. In Baptism, a potential of new intelligence was placed within our being. I remember when I was young, in high school, in the seminary, we often had hours of Adoration. One of the ideas, the thoughts, that most struck me was this: “I come here, and for me in the Host there is the mystery of the person of Christ, truly, Christ dead and risen, truly present. I don’t understand deep down the values and the meanings of this Presence, but I know that He is truly present. If a Protestant were to come here, in the best of hypotheses, that Host would be a symbol, a sign that contains nothing, a little piece of unleavened bread.” So I was impressed by the fact that I saw something that the others couldn’t see. What does this “seeing” mean (why didn’t I see the presence of Christ with my eyes?). Here is the importance of the word we used earlier: acknowledging, acknowledging a Presence.
Acknowledging a Presence... We should re-read, as I had thought of doing earlier, the beginning of the Gospel of St. John,7 when those two are struck by the prophetic expression of John the Baptist, who stretches his arm out toward Christ, who was there among the others. He had sensed Him as one among the others. But, while He was leaving, it was as if John the Baptist were taken up in a prophetic raptus and, stretching his arm toward Him, he cried, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” And those two, highly attentive, struck by John the Baptist’s gesture, set out to follow Jesus. And “Jesus turned and saw them following Him and asked them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They answered, ‘Rabbi, where are You staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come, and you will see.’ So they went and saw where He was staying, and they remained with Him that day. It was about four in the afternoon.”
The next day, Andrew, who was one of the two, meeting his brother Simon, told him, “We have found the Messiah!” What had happened? Those two went to Jesus’ house–the Gospel doesn’t specify anything, as I’ve said many times to younger listeners. They are notes that John the Evangelist wrote in his old age, and each sentence implies many bits of information and comments that aren’t given here, just like some jottings in a pocket notebook. They are struck by Him. Who knows what Jesus said to them? Certainly, they must have asked Him, “Who are You?” and He would’ve answered, “I am the Messiah who was to come.” Here, it was unleashed on them, given to them–it happened to them that they accepted to acknowledge in that Man they could see with their eyes something that they couldn’t see with their eyes: in reality, content of human experience, they acknowledged the presence of something greater, of the divine–in that Man walking along the road.
Let’s read from the fourth chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke: “He came to Nazareth, where He had grown up, and went, according to His custom, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.’ Rolling up the scroll, He handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at Him. He said to them, ‘Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing. [I am precisely the One who fulfills these things.]8’”
Some acknowledged in this the sign of what He said He was, acknowledged in Him the expression of the mystery of God. Others, for other reasons, the main one being a provincial attachment to their own small town, didn’t accept believing, that is, didn’t accept recognizing Him. “How is this? Isn’t He the carpenter’s son? Aren’t His father, His mother, and His brothers here with us? Who does He think He is?”9 That is, not recognition of what He attested to, what He claimed to be in their eyes, but an immediate attempt, an assault, to reduce the figure to something they already knew.
If faith is neither a sentiment nor a state of mind, nor an attitude, faith is the acknowledgment of an event–the event–within experience; therefore, it is acknowledging an experiential content that is visible, perceptible, hearable, and touchable, as St. John wrote in his first letter: “What we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked upon and touched with our hands… the Word of life–for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life… What we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you.”10
Therefore, acknowledging a reality–that Man who spoke in the pulpit of the synagogue, having raised His hand among the throng (because this is how things were done in the synagogues on the Sabbath, that the servant waved the scroll to be read that day, and anyone who wanted to could raise his hand and comment on it, and Jesus, who entered the world identifying totally with the reality and the movements of the normal man, first of all used those moments to begin giving His message, the announcement for which He had come into the world, to announce eternal life, through knowledge of Him)–acknowledging a reality that is experienced, therefore, in a piece of space and time connected with a Man, acknowledging in a human, experienced reality the presence of the divine: this is faith.
Acknowledgment is an act of intelligence. As I mentioned earlier, it is an acknowledgment that sweeps along with itself, urges the involvement of affection, affectivity, that is, the will, which is the energy with which humans set and shape their lives. But, substantially, faith is an empowerment of the intelligence, a new intelligence given to us in Baptism, so that we are capable of acknowledging, in a reality apparently traceable to any other human experience, the presence of the divine, the presence of God. When Philip says, “Show us this Father you’re always speaking of, and we’ll be happy!” Jesus answers, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know Me, Philip? Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father!”11
3. The conditions for faith
So, we have identified the concept of faith, the value of faith: acknowledging a Presence. For the Twelve who followed Him–eating with Him, sleeping on the ground with Him, trembling with fear of their enemies–and who heard Him speak, saw Him work miracles, who fooled themselves greatly and were bitterly disappointed, as testified by the two disciples of Emmaus, for those people, in that Man, who for others was just like one of them–or rather, with a difference: that He was a delinquent in the eyes of the guardians of the Law, in the eyes of the priests of the time–in that Man, the Divine was present. “Who do the people say I am?” “Some say You are a prophet, the greatest prophet!” “And you, who do you say I am?” “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” “You’re fortunate, Simon, because you haven’t repeated this thing because you’ve understood it yourself, but because the Father has given you the capacity to affirm it, to affirm Me.”12
The acknowledgment of a Presence, of the divine… Certainly, the more this acknowledgment is present to our consciousness, the more impossible it is that even our way of feeling, our way of evaluating, of judging, our way of possessing, our way of using, our way of shaping the space and time that we’ve been given can remain like before.
Now I’d like to describe the two fundamental conditions for faith to be truly a Catholic faith, Christian faith. The first touches the heart of man; the second touches the heart of God.
a) The first condition touches the heart of man. In the eleventh chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew, when all the people were euphoric about His miracles and wanted to make Him king, in an impetus of affection because of the intensity with which they were following Him, He said, “I will give you my flesh to eat and my blood to drink.” They certainly weren’t expecting that. It was extremely strange, “durus est hic sermo [this language is hard]”–it was something strange, and they all abandoned Him.13 So Jesus said, “I give praise to You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although You have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, You have revealed them to the childlike [the simple]. Yes, Father, such has been Your gracious will.”14 In other words, first of all, in faith, human freedom is engaged.
It may seem obvious, but it isn’t entirely; at least, this response isn’t simplistic. In fact, we have seen that in Nazareth, when Jesus presented Himself to His fellow townsmen, He said, “Look, what was foretold by Isaiah, I fulfill it.”15 Let’s put it banally: He gave proof. What proof? We’ll say, in short, the proof was His capacity for miracles (the blind, the lame…), but His miracles were also moral: the meaning of life will also be communicated to the ignorant, hearts will be free, will be freed. In any case, let’s use the expression, ‘capacity for miracles,’ because it’s the most correct expression. A miracle is nothing other than an unhoped-for and inconceivable (humanly, according to man’s experience) realization of the human: a crooked leg that is suddenly straightened is a humanity realized, an extra humanity that was absolutely unforeseen. When Jesus presented Himself (the message or the announcement of this Presence), He always connected this, claimed a nexus with proof that could be experienced, to put it simply. This proof that can be experienced coincides with a more intense, more complete humanity which usual man, natural man, would never have even dreamed of.
Jesus worked His physical miracles to accomplish a more complete, total miracle, so people might place themselves in the right position before the Father, so they might feel helped in their walk toward their destiny. Often the Gospel notes, “He worked no miracles among them because they didn’t believe in Him.” “Go; your faith has saved you!”
Therefore, Christian faith is the acknowledgment of the presence of God within a human reality (the event, within a human reality, of the divine) and shows itself just or justified by something it produces in the human–so that the human becomes more itself, more perfect. The precise term is “reasonable,” and St. Paul uses it when he speaks of the faith as “reasonable deference.”16 Acknowledgment of His presence is deference to His presence, but it must be reasonable. This newness of His presence is introduced in my person, in my mind and in my heart, by the fact that something happens that cannot happen except because of an exceptional Presence, a Presence superior to man.
Faith must be reasonable, and the reasonableness of faith lies in the connection that I experience between faith and something that happens in my life–I find in it a greater response to the desires and expectations of my life. Therefore, I have to be a serious man, committed with what my mother gave me; serious, that is, passionate about what life expects, what life strives toward. I have to be a man of heart. The simplicity Jesus spoke of in the eleventh chapter of St. Mark’s Gospel is this: we could also call it sincerity, but the word simplicity is denser. That I take seriously the desires of the heart, the needs of my human soul, the expectations of the sensibility with which nature, that is, God, endowed me from my earliest beginnings in my mother’s womb and brought to flower, that I take seriously the life that is in me, this is the condition for faith to find the road to reasonableness and therefore for me to embrace it.
Reading the Holy Gospel, you see that people believed because Jesus worked miracles. At this point, you understand how the phenomenon of the miracle becomes important, not in the restricted sense of physical change, physical healing, but of exceptional growth, growth of the person’s whole life that otherwise wouldn’t be conceivable: “Those who follow Me will have eternal life and a hundredfold here on earth.”17 Christian faith becomes rich, mature, and charged with conviction, in the degree to which you can say you have experienced this promise or this criterion of Christ. Promise and criterion: “Those who follow Me will have eternal life and a hundredfold here on earth.” Thus, the inhabitants of Nazareth who believed in Him acknowledged with simplicity the exceptional works of this prophet.
How can we possess this conviction if we haven’t experienced (not in reflection or in analysis) the capacity for change in our life? As I’ve always said among us friends, perhaps the first thought of the whole history of Western philosophy, of ancient Greek philosophy, at least one of the very first thoughts or fragments, says, “Oh father Zeus, send us the miracle of a change.” For the Christian, it’s the change of experienced life in the face of the great working hypothesis that’s such an unexpected message: “God is among us.” This Man is “God among us,” the Emmanuel. One of the greatest meditations for the Christian can be to look at, to contemplate the figure of Our Lady, a girl of fifteen or sixteen, who, in that hour, in that moment of the Annunciation, lived all this, defining herself in faith. But it wasn’t blind adherence. Who knows what she felt, what she experienced, to be able to say so suddenly, “Fiat”?
I think often about this reasonable faith that Our Lady experienced in that moment. “Reasonable” means the nexus experienced between what is announced to us and our own human life, with an evident advantage for this life, because what is announced changes this life, makes it more human: “Those who follow Me will have eternal life and a hundredfold here on earth.” When we think that every day we, whom the Father has given into the hands of Christ, wake up, get up in the morning, and the choice is renewed, so that during that day we might, through the experience of a change, give greater glory to Christ, then we more easily feel ashamed of the dire forgetfulness in which we normally live, suddenly diminishing the great words of the faith, making them lose their content and become formal “words” or “devotion” or “discourses.” The content of these words–like the interior power of devotion and the power of truth in the discourses–lies entirely in the experience of change in our life.
For that matter, we discover in ourselves a striving for change.
What better describes man than the striving toward change, like that documented in the fragment of the ancient philosopher? There is a striving for change that becomes the normal state of soul for the Christian man and woman. In this sense, I remember in my late mother the striving that continually emerged in her attitude. There’s a tension toward change that is the first aspect of the miracle of our life, the fulfillment of which is in the hands of God, who didn’t heal all the lame or all the blind–actually, very few, in proportion–but healed some blind and some lame to make them see that He also had power over nature; He healed the lame and blind so that, believing in Him, their life would change.
All that I’ve spoken of here comes down to the need for faith to be reasonable. I wanted to emphasize the fact that the reasonableness of believing doesn’t lie in a vision, but in the observation of a result of faith: a change in yourself–perhaps the change of becoming conscious of your own sinfulness.
The experience of what has reached us, the grace that has reached us is a response to our life, is experienced in some way as a response to the needs of our life. For this reason, the simplicity spoken of in the Gospel of St. Matthew corresponds to Reinhold Niebuhr’s famous sentence (famous in the sense that we’ve quoted it so many times): “Nothing is as incredible as the response to a question one doesn’t ask.”18 If you don’t feel with sincerity and simplicity the impact of that weave of needs and expectations that forms the human heart, instrument for our openness to the world and to God, if you aren’t serious with what you feel in your humanity, you can’t be in expectation of Christ, God become man, who is the response to the human heart, to the expectations that were within you even as your mother was giving you birth, so that nature would push you through all your relationships along the infinite road, the road of the relationship with God.
b) However, there’s a second characteristic of faith. If faith depends on freedom as simplicity of heart, and through the miracle or the experience of change in your life it becomes reasonable, demonstrating the authenticity of its need to be embraced, if faith first of all needs this simplicity and thus the commitment of freedom that keeps the heart clear, looking with seriousness at your own nature as creature, then the second condition of faith is that it’s a grace, a gift of the Spirit. In the union of this supreme freedom of God and the freedom of the heart of man, faith sparks, or faith enlightens the paths of the heart, and becomes mature.
For this reason, the most evident and sensational sign of the right disposition of the heart before the mystery of the freedom of the Spirit is entreaty, like that of the blind man, who cried, “I want to see!” “What do you want?” “I want to see!”19 Jesus was deeply moved before the man born blind, before the symbol inherent in this misfortune of man. Once Pious XII was receiving members of a pilgrimage and gave his hand to be kissed. One person arrived and didn’t kiss his hand. The Pope’s secretary told him, “Your Holiness, he’s blind.” Pious XII put his hand on the young man’s head and said, “We’re all blind.” In fact, it is precisely the light of the Spirit that moves both external circumstances and the interior circumstance of the heart, so faith may not remain an inert seed within the furrows of our being, but mature and develop efficaciously. However, I was saying that the most sensational aspect of the authenticity of our freedom before the great freedom of the Spirit is the entreaty for faith. How great is the relationship between small man and God, how great when everything is already in the impotence of prayer. For this reason, they explained to me in the seminary, St. Alphonsus called prayer “omnipotence in supplication.” Anyway, the entreaty for faith is what most ensures the truth of our freedom before God.
4. The danger of spiritualism
Before concluding, I’d like to highlight the greatest danger for faith today. If faith is the acknowledgment of the presence of Christ in the human, we know how this Presence is extended in the space and time of history: this Presence is extended in the mysterious Body of Christ, in the great sacramental sign that is the Church. We know that it is in this reality of unity among all Christians, around their pastors, with the guarantee of the Bishop of Rome, within this human reality, that the presence of Christ stays on. Faith is therefore acknowledging within this humanity, with its evolving physiognomy from century to century–or rather, from year to year–it is in acknowledging within this humanity, which is formed of us human beings, the real presence of Christ (because each of us has been assimilated into Him, in the mystery of His personality, and all of us are in a profound communion of beings in Him, such that St. Paul says, “Don’t you understand that you are members one of the other?”20). Faith is acknowledging Him within this humanity that is no longer the single Man, Jesus of Nazareth, but is Jesus of Nazareth glorified after His Death, in the Resurrection, who has the power to assimilate into Himself all those whom the Father has given into His hands, growing up, as St. Paul says in the fourth chapter of his letter to the Ephesians, growing up and developing toward the fulfillment of His stature, of His maturity in history. Christ is within this reality that is the Church.
However, since the early days of the life of the Church, the alternative to faith has always played a dramatic, tragic, role. In our days, this role has become so powerful and its result so grave–its victory is so grave–that Paul VI, in a conversation with the great French philosopher, Jean Guitton, said, “What strikes me when I consider the Catholic world is that within Catholicism it seems that sometimes a non-Catholic type of thought prevails, and this non-Catholic thought within Catholicism may gain the upper hand in the future. But it will never represent the thought of the Church. A little flock must [always] subsist, however small it may be.”21
This dramatic testimony of Paul VI, this tremendous judgment of Paul VI on this era of the Church, highlights, as I was saying earlier, an alternative that is continuous in the history of these years, a continuous temptation. The alternative to the faith is reducing the Christian event to something that we decide, so it isn’t the acknowledgment of the Christian event as the announcement it carries–God is present in this man, Christ; Christ, God-man, is present in the mystery of His body that is the Church–but the reduction of the Christian message in light of the criteria of human reason, as formulated by the culture of the time. So, no longer does the Christian event challenge reason, but reason assails the Christian fact and diminishes it, reduces it to the evidence requested by the culture of the moment. Two thousand years ago, it was called Gnosticism, and now it can be called by many names: rationalism, enlightenment, progressivism, secularism. It can be called by many names, but in every epoch it’s a kind of neo-Gnosticism: the truth is what I select as true from what I’m told. It’s the opposite of the simple man, who embraces like a child (“If you’re not like children…”22) what he’s told through the evidence of what it carries.
Instead, this Pharisaical position (this is exactly the position of the Pharisees, who respected their own interpretation of the law), this interpretation of the Christian message reduces Christ so that He’s not really God-man, but a man who heard God more than others, as Renan said in the 19th century, for example, or He is a word, a great word, that reanimates religious sentiment. According to the cultural positions of each age, this reduction has been continually promoted.
Everything I have called Gnosticism, from the earliest days to the present, has a common denominator that can flow out into materialism or spiritualism in the same way, identically. However, in the riverbed of Christian history, it flows out, above all, in spiritualism, that is, in an intimistic concept of Spirit, of God. I said spiritualism, but let me be more precise. What is the Spirit that the Gospel and the biblical tradition have made known? It is that power with which God from nothing created matter, space, and time, the origin, the power that originates reality (material as well). What is that power of the Spirit that overshadowed Our Lady, that generated Christ, “formed” Christ? What is this Spirit that, in history, in time and space, prepared the way of Christ? It is a concept of the Spirit that, in its authenticity and orthodoxy, reveals the power with which God is capable of shaping space and time–of realizing in space and time, of realizing in history–a different existence, a different work, not simply the object of piety, but a presence that transforms–once again, the idea of change–transforms, changes the way of seeing things, changes intelligence, the way of becoming fond of things, love, and the way of working, that is, shapes things, generates a different life. For this reason, the Pope, this Pope, has always spoken of the Spirit as the origin of a new world that begins in the present, begins on earth.
If the Lord weren’t this power, then we wouldn’t have among us God-made-man, Christ; He wouldn’t be in our churches and wouldn’t be the great Body of the Church, that is, within our unity, within our fraternity, within our communion. It’s no longer the far-off God, the invisible Spirit; it’s the invisible Spirit who documents Himself continually, not in an ephemeral and subjective emotion, but in a change of this world.
Faith, if we may so translate a sentence of St. Paul’s, isn’t simply useful for the other world, the future, but is useful for the present. Devotion serves for everything, as it is capable of being useful for the future and for the present.23 And, if we accept this expression that might seem banal, it is in the demonstration that faith is useful for the present, for present change, the content of the great testimony to Christ, for which we were given Baptism: “The hour has come. Glorify Your Son.”24 The Father glorifies the Son through us, through our life. Our life glorifies Him if, in His name, out of the acknowledgment of Him that animates my entire person, our life in some way, to the eye of the simple, perceptibly changes.