Today’s first reading is from Hebrews 11, which begins with the (potentially) familiar statement:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.
The following quote from Pope Benedict from his former days as Cardinal Ratzinger has always stuck with me as capturing to some degree the essence of the idea found here in Hebrew 11:1 (though he is talking about the creed). Whether or not that is off-based, the quote is still worth some contemplation. It comes from his Introduction to Christianity:
… faith is located in the act of conversion, in the turn of one’s being from worship of the visible and practicable to trust in the invisible. The phrase “I believe” could here be literally translated by “I hand myself over to,” “I assent to.” In the sense of the Creed, and by origin, faith is not a recitation of doctrines, an acceptance of theories about things of which in themselves one knows nothing and therefore asserts something all the louder; it signifies an all-encompassing movement of human existence; to use Heidegger’s language, one can say that it signifies an “about-turn” by the whole person that from then on constantly structures one’s existence…