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The Year of Faith: October 11, 2012 – November 24, 2013


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One year ago today, Pope Benedict XVI called for a Year of Faith, beginning today, October 11, 2012, and ending November 24, 2013.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a book which I think can be regarded as a gift to all Christians of any stripe.

The Year of Faith will end on the Feast of Christ the King, i.e., the last day of the liturgical year, when we celebrate the Second Coming of Christ before turning again to Advent and the preparation for Christmas.

I've excerpted a few paragraphs from Pope Benedict's apostolic letter announcing the Year of Faith that are worth reading and that I think will be of general interest. At first I thought about bolding certain bits of special interest, but then I thought I would rather let readers decide what is of special interest to them, and perhaps call out individual passages in subsequent comments.

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. To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime. It begins with baptism (cf. Rom 6:4), through which we can address God as Father, and it ends with the passage through death to eternal life, fruit of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, whose will it was, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, to draw those who believe in him into his own glory (cf. Jn 17:22). To profess faith in the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is to believe in one God who is Love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8): the Father, who in the fullness of time sent his Son for our salvation; Jesus Christ, who in the mystery of his death and resurrection redeemed the world; the Holy Spirit, who leads the Church across the centuries as we await the Lord’s glorious return…

It often happens that Christians are more concerned for the social, cultural and political consequences of their commitment, continuing to think of the faith as a self-evident presupposition for life in society. In reality, not only can this presupposition no longer be taken for granted, but it is often openly denied. Whereas in the past it was possible to recognize a unitary cultural matrix, broadly accepted in its appeal to the content of the faith and the values inspired by it, today this no longer seems to be the case in large swathes of society, because of a profound crisis of faith that has affected many people.

We cannot accept that salt should become tasteless or the light be kept hidden (cf. Mt 5:13-16). The people of today can still experience the need to go to the well, like the Samaritan woman, in order to hear Jesus, who invites us to believe in him and to draw upon the source of living water welling up within him (cf. Jn 4:14). We must rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the word of God, faithfully handed down by the Church, and on the bread of life, offered as sustenance for his disciples (cf. Jn 6:51). Indeed, the teaching of Jesus still resounds in our day with the same power: “Do not labour for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life” (Jn 6:27). The question posed by his listeners is the same that we ask today: “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” (Jn 6:28). We know Jesus’ reply: “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (Jn 6:29). Belief in Jesus Christ, then, is the way to arrive definitively at salvation…

The Year of Faith … is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Saviour of the world. In the mystery of his death and resurrection, God has revealed in its fullness the Love that saves and calls us to conversion of life through the forgiveness of sins (cf. Acts 5:31). For Saint Paul, this Love ushers us into a new life: “We were buried … with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:4). Through faith, this new life shapes the whole of human existence according to the radical new reality of the resurrection. To the extent that he freely cooperates, man’s thoughts and affections, mentality and conduct are slowly purified and transformed, on a journey that is never completely finished in this life. “Faith working through love” (Gal 5:6) becomes a new criterion of understanding and action that changes the whole of man’s life (cf. Rom 12:2; Col 3:9-10; Eph 4:20-29; 2 Cor 5:17).

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.”[14] 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,[15] 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.

…we must not forget that in our cultural context, very many people, while not claiming to have the gift of faith, are nevertheless sincerely searching for the ultimate meaning and definitive truth of their lives and of the world. This search is an authentic “preamble” to the faith, because it guides people onto the path that leads to the mystery of God. Human reason, in fact, bears within itself a demand for “what is perennially valid and lasting”. This demand constitutes a permanent summons, indelibly written into the human heart, to set out to find the One whom we would not be seeking had he not already set out to meet us. To this encounter, faith invites us and it opens us in fullness.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

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Though I am not Catholic, I tend to think this way myself. I will usually pick a word and ask God to define my year by it. I've used hope, faith, intimacy, love, etc. Good words from the Pope.

"The truth is you're the weak, and I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin Ringo, I'm tryin real hard to be the shepherd." Pulp Fiction

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you for writing on the 'Year of Faith'.

Part of 'Porta Fidei' starting with Pope Benedict's paragraphs #11 is for each of us to read, study and share the "Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition".

" Blessed John Paul II wrote: “this catechism will make a very important contribution to that work of renewing the whole life of the Church" " - is also repeated in Porta Fidei.

Father Geno Sylva of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for promoting the New Evangelization said: “There are two levels to the New Evangelization.

1) - First is the formation and education of those who practice the faith, so they can be better witnesses and evangelizers in their own lives to those in their family, their neighborhood and their workplace.

2) - The other level is to reach out to the secular culture, to people who are away from the Church or who are seeking something better, and to put together arenas where they can feel comfortable coming to find something they are looking for. ”

“….the Catechism has raised throughout the world, even among non-Christians, and confirms its purpose of being presented as a full, complete exposition of Catholic doctrine, enabling everyone to know what the Church professes, celebrates , lives, and prays in her daily life.”Pope John Paul II (CCC pg xiv)

“ The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved … and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church’s Magisterium. I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion. “ Pope John Paul II. (CCC pg 5)

A good web site that contains quotes from our Popes on the CCC, a page on the Year of Faith, links to the Vatican and other legitimate links for verification, and answers questions asked by many is:

" What Catholics REALLY Believe SOURCE ".

http://whatcatholicsreallybelieve.com

Hope everyone finds this helpful.

Edited by ANNE_JMJ
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Need a suggestion for Christmas or Birthday gifts ?

Why not a Catholic Bible, or the 'Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition' for anyone over age 16.

Bible and YOUCAT or 'Compendium Catechism of the Catholic Church' for teens age 16 and under.

A child's catechism for elementary school age children.

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