"To rediscover the content of the faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed, and to reflect on the act of faith, is a task that every believer must make his own, especially in the course of this Year," these words of Pope Benedict XVI, from his letter Porta Fidei, reflected his goal in proclaiming the Year of Faith which began October 11, 2012, the 50th Anniversary of opening of the Second Vatican Council, and ended on November 24, 2013.
In many ways we are experiencing a cultural crisis of faith. There are so many different voices speaking to us that it can be difficult to sort through all of the baloney to find something of substance, something true. Sometimes we look at the successes of human ingenuity and think that we no longer need God. Sometimes we look at horrors and atrocities, genocide, abortion, starvation, and corruption, and wonder where God has gone.
"I love you, LORD, my strength, LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, my saving horn, my stronghold!" -- Psalm 18:2-3
The philosopher Kierkegaard said that faith is jumping into the black unknown, but Catholic philosopher, Dr. Peter Kreeft, adds to this. He said that faith is jumping into the unknown and trusting that someone will catch you. The above quote from Psalm 18 reflects our belief that God will take always take care of us. In the midst of the uncertainty of our lives, of suffering, and of doubt the Lord God is the rock on which we stand.
You see, faith is not just a set of beliefs that we hold. Faith is a relationship with a person, with God, and He is inviting us to grow into a deeper relationship with Himself, to learn what He has told us about Himself through the Scriptures and through the Church, and to grow in our trust and love for Him, because He is our rock, our fortress, and our salvation.
First, we are asked to learn about the faith by reading the Holy Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Do not merely read them, but read them slowly and prayerfully, reflecting on the truths they contain. The amount that you understand is more important than the amount that you read.
Then, we are encouraged to put that knowledge into action. Pope Benedict writes, "By their very existence in the world, Christians are called to radiate the word of truth that the Lord Jesus has left us." Our thoughts, words and actions should be infused with the faith which we believe so we can be a witness to our brothers and sisters in the world, strengthening them through our witness and in turn being strengthened by their witness.
Finally, we are called to celebrate the faith that we have received through the Sacraments, especially through the Mass. In the Mass we proclaim, "The Mystery of Faith," and respond, "We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your resurrection, until you come again." We have received the faith from Jesus Christ and our faith leads us back to Him through His Cross.
I encourage all of you to read the Bible and learn more about the faith individually and as families, but we also have faith formation events at Church:
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Fr. Bryan was pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes from July 3, 2017 to June 2022.