"Faith is first among the theological virtues because all virtue proceeds from it, including and especially love. Faith is the leap into the unknown, the entering into an action or a person knowing only that I will emerge changed, with no preconceptions of what that change will be. Its antonym is cynicism, born of fear. Prosperous America is a fear-filled society (consider our obsession with security, whether national or international, or in our financial, professional, emotional, and spiritual lives) because we are a faithless society. Without faith, without that willingness to embrace life, including its uncertainty and pain and mortality and mystery, the soul becomes stagnant. In choosing cynicism the soul may be the only aspect of the universe that can resist change and thus the only aspect of the universe than can really die.

"Faith posits that, though we have brought ourselves to this troubled place — the world overpopulated, polluted, increasingly divided between rich and poor — we can find a way out. At the same time faith accepts that we cannot know everything, that we must humble ourselves before the great mystery and miracle of our lives."