The Year of Faith
What is the meaning of this year?
Pope Benedict called for the Catholic Church to observe a Year of Faith from October 2012 to November 2013. He said that this year should summon each of us to “an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord.” In a homily a few weeks ago Archbishop Lori said that we should try to do 3 things this year: believe, love, and share. To have faith means to believe in God, the Holy Trinity. The more we believe in Him, the more we will love Him. The more we love Him, the more we will want to share our faith in Him with others.
What is faith anyway?
What does it mean to have faith? According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church faith has 2 aspects. It is an acceptance of God and an acceptance of the truth that He reveals [CCC par. 144-153]. God helps one to have faith; it is a gift that He gives. We refer to it as one of the theological virtues, meaning that it comes from God to man. St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans challenges Catholics to practice the “obedience of faith” [Rom 1:5, 16:26], which the Church describes as the full submission of our intellect and will to God and to the revelation given by Him. If there is a God, and if He has revealed certain truths to us about human life, then we must accept them. To reject them would be to reject God Himself. Those religions that do not accept God’s revelation in the Old and New Testament do not have “faith”, properly speaking. They have beliefs, but not faith [Dominus Iesus par 7].
What does it mean to be part of the Catholic Faith? What does it mean to say that a person or institution is Catholic? This is an important question today for our Catholic schools and hospitals. The Catechism gives us a good understanding of what it means to be Catholic. It is divided into four parts:
• Apostles’ Creed (what we believe)
• Seven Sacraments (how God comes to us)
• Ten Commandments (how we act)
• Prayer (how we come to God)
So to be Catholic means that you believe a certain way, you pray a certain way, and you act a certain way. It is not simply a set of beliefs. A Catholic is one who believes the Apostles’ Creed, receives the Sacraments, accepts the Commandments, and prays. And it is not possible to do so without the Catholic Church. The Church explains the Creed to us, it makes the Sacraments present to us, and it interprets the Commandments for us.
What can I do this year?
A good project for this Year of Faith is to read the entire Catechism. There is a service on the internet which will send you a section a day to read. By next November you will have meditated upon the entire Catholic Faith. You will believe more, love more, and share more – guaranteed! You can sign up for “daily Catechism readings for the Year of Faith” at: www.fideidepositum.com/site/yofsignup.
Another good project is to watch the video series, Catholicism, by Fr. Robert Barron. It can be purchased on the internet. It is broken into 12 segments, each an hour long. It is an inspiring portrayal of the beauty, mystery, and drama of the Catholic Church.