Perseverance in faith

162 Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man. We can lose this priceless gift, as St Paul indicated to St Timothy: ‘Wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their 2089 faith.’44 To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to 1037, 201 increase our faith;45 it must be ‘working through charity’, 2573, 284 abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church.~6

Faith — the beginning of eternal life

163 Faith makes us taste in advance the light of the beatific vision, io88 the goal ofourjourney here below. Then we shall see God ‘face to face’, ‘as he is’.47 So faith is already the beginning of eternal life: When we contemplate the blessings of faith even now, as if gazing at a reflection in a mirror, it is as if we already possessed the wonderful things which our faith assures us we shall one day enjoy.~8 164 Now, however, ‘we walk by faith, not by sight’;49 we perceive God as ‘in a mirror, dimly’ and only ‘in part’.5° Even though enlightened by him in whom it believes, faith is often lived in darkness and can be put to the test. The world we live in often 2846 seems very far from the one promised us by faith. Our experiences of evil and suffering, injustice and death, seem to contradict the 309, 1502 Good News; they can shake our faith and become a temptation ioo6 against it. j6~ It is then we must turn to the witnesses offaith: to Abraham, who ‘in hope... believed against hope’;5’ to the Virgin Mary, ho, in ‘her pilgrimage of faith’, walked into the ‘night of faith’52 sharing the darkness of her son’s suffering and death; and to so 2719 any others: ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which gs so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set U ore us, looking toJesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.’53