The Sacrament o theEucharist has always been andremains the “source and summit” o our aith.
Throughour participation in the Eucharist, we witness theproound love o Christ,
who suered and conquereddeath or our sins to bring us to everlasting lie. His realand substantial Presence in the Eucharist renews andstrengthens us so that we may aithully serve as Hissons and daughters. For this reason, the Year o Faithcalls each one o us in a particular way to witness toChrist’s presence in the Eucharist and to receive Holy Communion more requently and worthily.
The Sacraments o Service – the vocations o Marriage and Holy Orders – are particularly importantin our society, yet perhaps the most oten misunder-stood. Married couples, priests, deacons, and conse-crated men and women are all called to witness thelove o God in their particular vocation. During theYear o Faith, those who have received or are preparingto receive these sacraments should reect upon andunderstand with greater clarity how they reveal the loveo God to the world.
The Sacraments o Healing – Reconciliation andthe Anointing o the Sick – remind us o the ever pres-ent need we have or God in our lives. In all believ-ers, the Year o Faith should bring orth a deeperrecognition o our need or God’s healing grace andincreased desire to seek God’s mercy in the Sacramento Conession. Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that,
“theNew Evangelization begins in the conessional.”
Ina society that oten conuses reedom with licentious-ness, recognizing the reality o our brokenness helpsus not only to better understand the objective natureo sin that wounds our relationship with God and oneanother, but also to increase our confdence in God’smercy and redemption. The authority given by Christto all priests to orgive sins in His name (Jn 20: 22-23) isa great treasure o the Church. During the Year o Faith,this treasure o requent reception o the Sacrament o Conession should be rediscovered with great joy andthankulness. This year should also be an opportunity to grow in our understanding and appreciation o theAnointing o the Sick. In this sacrament, Christ thehealer makes His ever present grace particularly palpa-ble in the believer – a grace to strengthen, support, andencourage those who have a serious illness, who havegrown weak because o aging, or who are undergoing aserious medical procedure. Scripture reveals the uniquerole o our belie in Christ’s willingness and ability toheal us. In this Year, all believers, and especially thosewho have received or will receive the Sacrament, shouldcontemplate the meaning o this grace given duringtimes o exceptional suering.
3. Study of Scripture andParticipation in Catechesis
“Faith is choosing to stand with the Lord so as tolive with Him. This ‘standing with Him’ points towardsan understanding o the reasons or believing.”
Understanding the aith requires reading, listening,and praying with God’s word in Holy Scripture, as wellas studying how God has revealed Himsel throughthe teachings o the Church. For this reason, the study o Scripture and the participation in catechesis areupheld as a necessary aspect o both “standing withHim” and “living with Him.” We call all Catholics tomore deeply all in love with Christ by listening to Hisvoice proclaimed through Scripture and Tradition. Arenewed and more ardent study o the aith “direct-
10. Papal Address on Sacrament o Conession March 12, 201211. Porta Fidei para 10
ed towards the love that never ends”
is necessary or a more enthusiastic and joy-flled aith in Christand His Church. The aithul should read the SacredScriptures, the Catechism, and the documents o theChurch’s Magisterium, both individually and as a am-ily, and they should seek out and participate in themany opportunities or Scripture study and catechesisthrough local parishes and the Diocese.
4. The History of our Faith
Scripture speaks o salvation as an ongoing, ever pres-ent reality. St. Paul’s says, “or our salvation is nearernow than when we frst believed” (Rom 13:11). In thisway,
we can say that we have been saved, that we arebeing saved, and that we will be saved through Christour Lord.
In other words, the history o Salvation asanticipated and perected in Sacred Scripture contin-ues through God’s saving plan or each o us today. By “retracing the history o our aith,” we can “highlightthe great contribution o men and women have made…through the witness o their lives,” and recognize thepersonal “continuing work o conversion” that is stillnecessary.13 During this Year o Faith, we must recallthe salvifc activity o Christ through:1. His Church, in His apostles, “who earlessly pro-claimed to all the joy o the resurrection,”
andin His disciples, “who ormed the frst community around the teaching o the Apostle,”
2. in His Martyrs, who gave their lives in service o the Gospel,
3. in His men and women consecrated, who leave allthings behind to be concrete signs o waiting orthe Lord,
4. in people o aith throughout the centuries, “whohave conessed the beauty o ollowing the LordJesus herever they were called to bear witness,”
5. and to us who live now or Christ and as His wit-nesses in the world.
Improving our knowledge o the history o theCatholic aith comes through prayer and study, read-
12. CCC para 2513. Porta Fidei para 1314. Porta Fidei para 13 E15. Porta Fidei para 13 F16. Porta Fidei para 13 G17. Porta Fidei para 13 H18. Porta Fidei para 13 I19. Porta Fidei para 13 J
ing and learning rom the Magisterium, as well as romsolid teachers and texts about Scripture, Church history,the lives o the saints, and major fgures in Catholic lie(past and present).
5. The Witness of Charity
“Above all, put on love, which binds everythingtogether in perect harmony” (Col 3:14). Since aith andcharity support each other, the Year o Faith should bedirected towards intensiying the witness o charity.
The evidence o our aith is ound in the way that welove as Christ loved,
that we serve as Christ served. Ouraith must be witnessed and supported by our actions.
The Church’s concrete witness to charity in truth hasbeen and continues to be a vibrant light or a secularworld that doubts we can “serve without counting thecost.”
During this Year o Faith, individuals, parishes,apostolates and movements are called to clearly witnesscharity in truth through service in Christ’s name.
6. Fostering Vocations
It is the call o each Christian to ardently “ask themaster o the harvest to send out laborers or his har-vest” (Mt 9:38). In addition to our prayers, we – asparents, extended amily, riends, teachers, coaches,group leaders, etc. – are called to oster vocations tothe clergy and consecrated lie by helping young peoplediscern their calling to a state in lie. Both through thelove witnessed in the amily and in our Church com-munities, youth and young adults gain the courage tolisten or and accept God’s plan or their lives. OurHoly Father Benedict XVI reminds us that “amilies arenot only the privileged place or human and Christianormation; they can also be “the primary and mostexcellent seed-bed o vocations to a lie o consecrationto the Kingdom o God.”
It is our hope that the homeand parish be places “where vocations are careully discerned and their authenticity tested, places where young men and women are oered wise and strongspiritual direction.”
During this Year o Faith, let usrenew our eorts to pray and oster vocations to thepriesthood and consecrated lie in our homes and par-ish communities.
20. Porta Fidei para 1421. C. Jas 2:14-1822. Prayer o St. Ignatius o Loyola.23. World Day o Prayer or Vocations, 201224. World Day o Prayer or Vocations, 2012
October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013
J.D. Long-García/CATHOLIC SUN