The Eyes of Faith

The Eyes of Faith: the sense of the faithful and the church's reception of revelation

Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 344
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  • Book Info
    The Eyes of Faith
    Book Description:

    The Eyes of Faith presents a systematic theology of the sense of the faithful (sensus fidelium) and shows the fundamental and necessary interrelationship between sensus fidelium, tradition, Scripture, theology, and the magisterium.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1710-9
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    The origins of the sensus fidelium lie in the origins of the church. The first disciples’ encounters with Jesus begin a process of interpreting his teaching, his actions, and his identity, but there is nevertheless a certain misunderstanding of him during his pre-Easter ministry. However, after his death and resurrection, and with the coming of the Holy Spirit, full Christian faith in him begins. Now, from the new perspective of Easter, and with a sense of being guided in their understanding and interpretation by a special gift from the Holy Spirit, the believing disciples of the Crucified and Risen One...

  6. ONE. The Principle:: The Holy Spirit, Faith, and Sensus Fidei
    • CHAPTER 1 The Holy Spirit and Revelation
      (pp. 15-36)

      Lumen Gentium 12 teaches that all believers possess “a supernatural sense of the faith” which enables an infallibility in believing. This supernatural sense of the faith is “aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth.” A theology of the sensus fidelium must begin by attending to the role of the Holy Spirit in divine revelation. It is central to the belief of Christians that God is fully encountered in Jesus Christ, the Crucified and Risen One; that salvation from God is mediated through him; and that, within that salvific encounter, God is revealed to humanity. What is the role of...

    • CHAPTER 2 The Holy Spirit and the Church
      (pp. 37-62)

      In the previous chapter, we discussed the early church’s experience of the Word as the principle of the endowment of grace, and of the Spirit as the principle of its reception. We then reflected on the Spirit within the triune life of God, and proposed analogies for understanding the Spirit as the Spirit of Reception. The nature and mission of God determines the nature and mission of the church. The church is called to be an icon of the Trinity.¹ In this chapter we move to a more specific discussion of the role of the Spirit in the economy of...

    • CHAPTER 3 The Holy Spirit and a Sense for the Faith
      (pp. 63-88)

      Since faith is the reception of revelation, at the heart of the nature of the church as a community of reception is its nature as a community of faith. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit which has two fundamental dimensions: faith as believing, i.e., as a personal response to God’s loving initiative (fides qua creditur), and faith as beliefs and assent to beliefs, i.e., as an affirmative response to the content of what has been revealed (fides quae creditur). As the principle of reception, the Holy Spirit is at work in both these dimensions of faith’s reception of...

  7. TWO. The Norm:: Sensus Fidelium, Tradition, and Scripture
    • CHAPTER 4 Receiving Jesus Christ in the Spirit
      (pp. 91-115)

      The production of the bipartite Christian Bible is the result of a process of reception and tradition involving the interpretative organon of the sensus fidei. This organon is at work from the very start of the Jesus tradition till the written expression par excellence of that tradition in the canon of New Testament writings, with its constant theological presupposition—the Jewish Scriptures. With the Gospel written onto their hearts, the believing disciples remembered, retold, and applied their faith in Jesus Christ out of their shared experience of that Gospel. This hermeneutical process involves the understanding, interpretation, and application of Jesus...

    • CHAPTER 5 Authority and the Canon of Scripture
      (pp. 116-152)

      In addressing, in the previous chapter, the oral and literary formation of the Jesus tradition, the issue of communal authority was raised in terms of “approbative reception.” We now continue our exploration of authority by examining in greater detail the issue of approbative reception within the lives of the communities of the New Testament writings. We will then go on to see how this same concern for approbative reception gives rise to the selection and delimitation of certain writings, and not others, as constituting an accepted norm for the Christian faith. Significantly, we will see that the final canon of...

    • CHAPTER 6 The Inspiration of Scripture
      (pp. 153-172)

      In this chapter, I propose, as an explanatory model, that the continuous interpretative and evaluative activity of the sensus fidei/fidelium throughout the production, canonical selection, and ongoing reception/traditioning of the set canonical text constitutes its inspiration by the Holy Spirit. We have already seen how “inspiration” was not necessarily an explicit reason/criterion for inclusion of works in the canon, and that, in patristic times, there was a presumption regarding the inspiration of many writings circulating in local communities. Once works achieve canonical status, it is then that the notion of inspiration emerges, later in church history, as one way of...

  8. THREE. The Task:: Sensus Fidelium, Theology, and Magisterium
    • CHAPTER 7 The Threefold Teaching Office of the Church
      (pp. 175-214)

      The mission of the church is to tradition faithfully the reality it has received: God’s self-giving in Jesus Christ, made possible through the Holy Spirit, the principle of that gift’s reception. In the church’s fulfillment of that mission, the rubric of the “three offices of Christ” names three specific, albeit overlapping dimensions of church life. The specific “teaching office” is but one dimension. However, since it is in its treatment of the teaching office that Lumen Gentium locates discussion of the sensus fidei totius populi, part 3 of this volume, “The Task,” will focus specifically on the task of the...

    • CHAPTER 8 Sensus Fidei and the Individual Believer
      (pp. 215-240)

      In part 3, we are examining the relationship between the sensus fidelium, theology, and the magisterium in the teaching office of the church. Determination of the sensus fidei fidelium, and its significance for theology and the magisterium, necessarily demands prior attention to the sensus fidei fidelis, the sense of the faith of the individual believer. Such an investigation includes both lay and ordained, bishops and theologians, since they are all individual fideles (“from the bishops to the last of the faithful”).¹ Therefore, before we consider determination of the communal sensus fidelium, this chapter examines the locus, context, mode, norm, and...

    • CHAPTER 9 Sensus Fidelium and Teaching the Faith of the Church
      (pp. 241-292)

      Having explored the sensus fidei fidelis, we can now move to an exploration of the sensus fidei fidelium, or, more succinctly, the sensus fidelium. The twofold definition of sensus fidei fidelis likewise applies when speaking of the sensus fidei fidelium. The term can refer both to (1) a sensus or organon for the understanding, interpretation, and application of revelation, but here referring to a sensus or organon that is possessed by the whole people and is thus a corporate or ecclesial capacity, and (2) the interpretations that are the result of the interpretative activity of that organon, but here referring...

  9. Epilogue: Ongoing Conversion of the Ecclesial Imagination
    (pp. 293-298)

    The primary task of the teaching office is to teach the meaning and truth of what God has achieved and revealed through Jesus Christ in the Spirit for the sake of humanity’s salvation. The norm for inspiring and regulating that task is the foundational apostolic reception of that salvific and revelatory event, as witnessed to in Scripture and traditioned by the church. The principle for understanding, interpreting, and applying salvific revelation is the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s organon for that task is the sensus fidelium.

    Jesus spoke of eyes that do not see.¹ He healed physical blindness, but was as...

  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 299-322)
  11. Index
    (pp. 323-330)