Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Year of Faith

With the announcement of the "nones" rising, it is time to begin in earnest a YEAR OF FAITH. Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed that today begins a year-long celebration of the Catholic Faith. The year is called on the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.

The Pope in union with the bishops around the world says:
We want this Year to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope. It will also be a good opportunity to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, which is “the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed; ... and also the source from which all its power flows.” At the same time, we make it our prayer that believers’ witness of life may grow in credibility. 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.
I'm up for the challenge. Today's readings were pretty significant, especially St. Paul blasting the Galatians:
Are you so stupid?
After beginning with the Spirit,
are you now ending with the flesh?
Did you experience so many things in vain?--
if indeed it was in vain.
It seems that the Faith is so easily learned and then forgotten. Scott Leary, one of our youth ministers, says that our Faith must be "caught" and not "taught". I've seen many teens and adults who pursue the Faith as an intellectual exercise instead of what the Greeks call "metanoia", a conversion or change of heart. They tend to know dates, times and reasons but tend to wander off because it really doesn't mean anything. A young woman who used to be "on fire" in Confirmation classes but now is "more spiritual" told me, "The Church is bigotted and I can be nice without going to Church." She has the facts. She can tell you all about the Apostle's Creed but it doesn't mean much to her. The information only did so much. Like the answers to math problems in the back of the book. It's true but not true enough to work for.

To be informed CAN BE formation but there's nothing greater than prayer, meditating...really meditating...on the Word of God and practicing the Faith. 

I blame some of this. For too long, Eucharist has been presented as a product. Our diocese can be just as guilty as any Church institution in getting communion in the as many Catholics as possible and to baptize mucho infantes but this treatment has made the sacraments something we "do" and not a Faith to believe. Just go to a diocesan meeting of priests, or don't, don't do that. I'll tell you what happens. We talk about getting the product, ie: communion and sacraments, out to "the people" and we even talk about how we can do it without priests.

So yeah, we need a Year of Faith. At least a Year. Maybe 50 to just air out the bad odor that we've been inhaling when we opened the windows.

And not coincidentally, our Bishop is celebrating his 75th birthday on Sunday, October 21. This means that he must submit a letter of resignation to the Pope. Bishops cannot serve beyond their 75th birthday. Except the bishop of Rome. Since we have 9 days, a novena for the current Bishop, Bishop Latino and his successor would be nice.