You may have heard that on October 11 the bishops of the world gathered together to solemnly open a year of faith. Sadly, this event will be ignored by many Catholics. After all, what does a meeting in Rome have to do with me? Well, actually, it has a lot to do with each of us. Any time the Church proclaims a special “year of” anything it is an occasion for special graces for the Church and for the whole world—and for each individual.
So, what is a year of faith? This event was initiated by Pope Benedict XVI with the purpose of an “authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world.” In other words, this is a time to invest in your relationship with Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with him.
It is also a time to learn more about your faith and how to live it in every circumstance of your life. Faith is meant to be something alive that breathes joy and purpose into daily activities. But too often we treat it as a list of statements we rattle off at Sunday Mass.
The year of faith is an opportunity to come a little closer to Christ. Take five extra minutes of prayer a day—or start with five minutes if prayer is not a part of your life. Dust off your Bible and read a little each day. The Scripture readings read at Sunday and daily Mass are a great place to start. Take a class. Join a discussion group at church. Read a book—I can point you to a lot of good ones on the americancatholic.org website.
One resource that can help bring faith alive is a new newsletter from Franciscan Media and Servant Books called I Believe. This monthly newsletter is working its way through the Catechism of the Catholic Church, with the goal of connecting the faith we profess to the daily circumstances of life. This year the newsletter is following the Creed—what we believe and why. A “Head to Heart” section helps the reader to absorb and adapt the statements of our faith. The “Catechism Connection” helps readers to dip into the wisdom of the Church and make it personal. Take this gem from an upcoming issue:
“‘God is Love’ and love is his first gift, containing all others. ‘God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us’” (CCC 733).
The year of faith is all about knowing this love which has been poured into each human heart. I am going to look for ways to receive the special grace of this year and hope you will join in. What can you do to celebrate your personal year of faith?
Featured photo: Freedigitalphotos.net/thepathtraveler