What does it mean to live a life of faith? Living a life of faith is more than simply admitting allegiance to a particular belief system. It is more than regular attendance at some form of communal worship. To have any real meaning, faith must be a significant factor in life, rather than just a hobby which happens to provide a social circle. I know that many people focus on the hereafter. It is a very Christian idea that professing faith in Jesus is start of salvation. It is our entry into heaven. I understand where that thinking comes from, and certainly there was a time in my life when my faith was a bit like an insurance policy. At that stage my faith life had a fairly minimal impact on how I lived my life, and I was not sure whether God existed or not, so I figured, practising faith did not cost me terribly much but it could have very serious consequences in the hereafter so on balance I was better off continuing as I was, attending Mass on Sunday and doing a quick five minutes of prayer just before I fell asleep at night. To me, that kind of faith now seems a little pointless.
After making the Spiritual Exercises, my faith shifted from being something important but peripheral in my life, to being central. Relationship with God became my primary concern. Having practised faith in this way, supported by having a daily prayer time for more than a decade has borne wonderful fruit in my life. I have learnt an enormous amount about myself in the process, and I know that this practice has shaped and changed my interaction with others. It has changed the value system I hold within my life. Not necessarily in terms of what is important to me, but the ordering of those significant things. I have come to value my relationships with others far more than my personal achievements for example. In this way faith is shaping my daily reality. To me, this is a life of faith rather than any particular declaration or assertion of beliefs. The reason I continue to believe is that it continues to provide the best framework for my experience, and through practising my faith, my being has been enriched beyond anything I imagined possible. In this way it has a profound impact on my life on a daily basis. What happens in the hereafter will take care of itself.
What is faith to you and how does it impact your life?