For Catholics Faith is NOT a blind leap
Just by virtue of being a human being you and I are hungry for truth. We are wired to know the truth and we seek to surrender the sacred assent of our belief only to what is true. We have an innate desire to conform our minds to reality as it is. This is why we detest lies and delusions.
The Gift of Faith
God helps us to make our way to the truth through a darkened world full of lies, deception and spiritual snares. He does this by giving us the gift of light and sight.
In the Bible faith is often described as a supernatural gift of light and sight. Think of the coversion to faith in the life of Saint Paul who was blinded by light and then given new sight. Also with the man born blind who Jesus healed through water. For the first time he experienced both light and sight as he came to believe in Jesus. This points to the great gift of faith that the baptized first receives through water. This sight and light enables us to see with 'eyes of faith' beyond the veil into the supernatural. When others only see bread and wine, those who see with the eyes of faith, see God. When other see water poured over an infant, those with eyes of faith see a new birth of a creature in the order of grace.
Like a frog who finally emerged from his watery past as a lowly tadpole, the newly baptized emerge from an old world into a new world, now capable of living in both.
“God, who "dwells in unapproachable light", wants to communicate his own divine life to the men he freely created, in order to adopt them as his sons in his only-begotten Son. By revealing himself God wishes to make them capable of responding to him, and of knowing him and of loving him far beyond their own natural capacity” (CCC 52).
Reason and Faith
Pope John Paul II wrote, “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth”. According to Hebrews 11:1-3, ‘Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen’. This implies an assurance and an inner conviction associated with one’s belief. For Catholics faith is NOT and never will be a blind leap. Because faith is reasonable and evidence based, faith is certain.
The CCC says that we can be certain of God and his existence based on reason. “By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of his works”. We can reason about God's existence by simply looking around at the amazing order, design and beauty in nature. We can say something like, ‘This sunset is better than any painting. It is a work of art, a masterpiece, therefore there must be an uppercase A, Artist who created it’. We may also say’, ‘Since I am seeing complex structures and machines in the cell which require a knowledge of engineering principles to comprehend, there must be an uppercase E, Engineer behind its design’. There is another way of knowing God and that is through believing what God has said and what others have said.
Belief in the Messenger
Believing others is the most common way that we as humans gain knowledge. We learn through reading, through viewing videos, films and through our parents and teachers. For us to be certain of the truth of what anyone tells us we must trust them. God cannot lie. He can neither deceive nor be deceived. “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19). Jesus said, "Believe in God, believe also in me...I am the Truth" (Jn 14).
It is God himself who is the source of both the doctrine in our Catholic Faith and the life changing grace. This is why it is called, divine Revelation.
“But there is another order of knowledge, which man cannot possibly arrive at by his own powers: the order of divine Revelation. Through an utterly free decision, God has revealed himself and given himself to man. It is right and just to entrust oneself wholly to God and to believe absolutely what he says.(CCC 50, 150).
It is not so much about what we believe as it is about Who we believe. We have a God who came into our world to give us the fullness of revelation. The person of Jesus was a historical event. His apostles were eyewitnesses of his life, death and resurrection. They handed on a written and living Tradition in the Church and in Scripture.
'What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns 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 that was with the Father and was made visible to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ' (1 John 1:1-3).
The Catholic Faith is reasonable and true because it is rooted in historical reality, and testified to by the blood of its eye witnesses and messengers. They knew him and offered their lives in martyrdom as a testimony to the truth that they proclaimed. No one gives their life up for fairy tales, wishful thinking or blind leaps.
A wishy-washy, leap of faith isn't going to hold up for what we know is coming - a harder, more intense persecution from division within the Church and from attacks without. Like the apostles and other martyrs who had a certitude that comes from knowing God as a real person and friend, we too are called to share in his divine life through the sacraments where we can really see him, touch him and personally know him.
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed" (Jn 20).
“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.”-St. Augustine