Transformed by Faith

Book review of Faith That Transforms Us by Cardinal Donald Wuerl.

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FAITH THAT TRANSFORMS US

Reflections on the Creed

By Cardinal Donald Wuerl

Word Among Us Press, 2013

144 pages, $12.95

To order: bookstore.wau.org

What a year! Declared by Pope Benedict as the Year of Faith, it is this same year in which we now have a new Pope who will lead us in faith. During his first homily, Pope Francis noted the importance of professing our faith: "We can walk as much we want, we can build many things, but if we do not confess Jesus Christ, nothing will avail."

At such a time as this, Faith That Transforms Us by Cardinal Donald Wuerl can help us to focus on what the Church is all about.

Cardinal Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, is known for his efforts on behalf of Catholic education and is the author of several books. He was one of the 115 cardinals who participated in the conclave that elected Pope Francis.

In his book, which brings us back to our core Catholic beliefs, Cardinal Wuerl examines the Nicene Creed.

Cardinal Wuerl wrote: "We say, ‘I believe’ to a rather long list of demanding propositions. ‘I believe … in one God who is three divine Persons; in a fatherly God who relates to me as his child; in a God who became man; in a God who continues to act through the Church; in a God who will raise me, body and soul, from the dead.’"

But is a whole book on the Nicene Creed too much?

No, says Cardinal Wuerl.

"God reveals divine mysteries to accommodate our human weakness," the cardinal stated. "When we look to Jesus Christ, we look to God’s perfect self-revelation. Everything we need to know for our salvation, everything we desire to know for our comfort and consolation, everything we hope for our supernatural fulfillment — it all has been revealed in Jesus Christ."

Our faith is not about words or propositions, because Jesus did not come to earth to publish information. As Cardinal Wuerl explained, "In fact, as far as we know, he never wrote anything except something undecipherable on the ground (John 8:6, 8). What he did come to do was to offer us a share in his divine life (2 Peter 1:4)."

Yet, words, according to Cardinal Wuerl, are ultimately inadequate carriers of Divine mystery. "God strains language to the breaking point," he stated. "The finite cannot contain the Infinite."

But Cardinal Wuerl uses our language in order to reflect on the revelations of the Creed that God imparted to his Church: "Every single revelation of God can be life-changing and transforming when we understand it, live it out, and share it with others."

Cardinal Wuerl challenges readers to integrate the Creed into their lives. Each chapter asks the reader questions and offers suggestions for taking the faith into the world.

The Catholic faith is Faith That Transforms Us — and Cardinal Wuerl reminds us that it is both personal and public, presenting deep reflections on our apostolic faith, so that we can not only transform ourselves, but also transform the culture around us that does not always "get it."

Patti Armstrong writes from North Dakota.

Vatican Gardens Provide Prayerful Oasis

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI referred to the pristine foliage of the Vatican Gardens as his ‘vital space’ for prayer. Amid the colorful flowers and trees is a replica of the Lourdes Grotto, built in 1902, that includes the original altar from Lourdes, which was given to Pope John XXIII.

Horace Vernet, “The Angel of Death,” 1851

Don’t Wait to Cram for Your ‘Final Exam’

“Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven — through a purification or immediately — or immediate and everlasting damnation.” (CCC 1022)

Francisco de Zurbarán, “The Family of the Virgin,” ca. 1650

Why Do We Ask Mary to Pray for Us?

“After her Son’s Ascension, Mary ‘aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers.’ In her association with the apostles and several women, ‘we also see Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation.’” (CCC 965)