Why a Year Dedicated to Faith? Reply

Finding the Right Door

Have you ever experienced the following: you are at someone’s house for the first time and you need to use the restroom. You ask where it is and they tell you, “down the hall to the left.” You go down the hall and you find two doors. You open the first one and you say to yourself, “Oh, oh, wrong door!” Lesson? To get to the right room you have to open the right door.

Pope Benedict in his Apostolic Letter proclaiming a “Year of Faith” uses the image of faith as a “door.” It is the door to true happiness. Not all doors allow you to enter true happiness, which is the possession of God forever in Heaven. Self-centered spirituality will not do. Pious practices geared only to emotional living of Christian life will not do. Mere effort to understand and develop our human potentiality will not do. All of these are the wrong doors.

Why a Year dedicated to Faith?

What first stands out is the date chosen for the opening of this Year, October 11, 2012. It is related to two anniversaries and an event. This date coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and with the 20th Anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The event is the Synod of Bishops on “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith” which will begin in October.

Pope Benedict in his letter refers four times to the Year of Faith as a “good opportunity”. He considers the above-mentioned Synod as “a good opportunity to usher the whole Church into a time of particular reflection and rediscovery of the faith.”

Second Vatican Council

The Pope deliberately timed the launch of the Year of Faith to coincide with the 50th anniversary  of the opening of the Second Vatican Council because it seemed it would provide “a good opportunity to help understand that the texts bequeathed by the Council Fathers have lost none of their value or brilliance.” Since this Year is meant to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness, he sees it as “a good opportunity to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist.” And finally, since “faith without charity bears no fruit” the Year of Faith will also be “a good opportunity to intensify the witness of charity.”

If we want to be in tune with the Holy Father’s invitation we have to ask ourselves, “How well do I know and live my faith?” “Have I ever read or sought to understand the essential content of the Second Vatican Council documents?” “Do I prepare myself to participate deeply and actively in the Celebration of the Eucharist?” “Am I a true witness of charity?”

Other objectives or tasks of the Year of Faith are:

  • “To rediscover the content of the faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed, and to reflect on the act of faith.”
  • “A concerted effort to rediscover and study the fundamental content of the faith that receives its systematic and organic synthesis in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”
  • “Retracing the history of our faith, marked as it is by the unfathomable mystery of the interweaving of holiness and sin.”

As can be seen by the words in bold type in this article, the Holy Father repeats a word that is a program in itself, “rediscover”. To rediscover implies two things mainly: the object of our rediscovery already existed and was known before but later forgotten; it implies an effort on our part. This rediscovery is geared towards the renewal of the Church which is called to a renewed conversion and a life of witness in order to carry out the task of Evangelization, proclaiming the Gospel. That is why the Pope calls for a New Evangelization: “There is a need for a stronger ecclesial commitment to new evangelization in order to rediscover the joy of believing and the enthusiasm for communicating the faith.”

We will communicate the faith in the measure in which we know it and let it transform our life. What good is it to believe if our lives are not transformed by what we believe? How can we give witness to the redeeming action of Christ, how can we feel that “the love of Christ impels us” (2 Cor 5:14) to evangelize  if we don’t encounter Christ by “faith working through love” (Gal 5:6)?

“The ‘door of faith’ (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church. It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace.”

We have a great opportunity before us to not only find the right door that leads to salvation, but also help many people in search of God to find the right path towards the “door of faith.”

Fr Jose Laboy

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