Thursday, October 11, 2012

Why We Need A Year of Faith

A friend of mine quipped on facebook about all the years prior to now being years in heresy.  I understood her gripe. Why do we especially need a year of Faith?  Aren't we supposed to live lives of Faith?  Isn't Faith the thing, the only thing we're supposed to be doing? The year of Saint Paul was a year of Faith but focused on the writings of Saint Paul. It was still a year of faith. Faith is our relationship with Christ and how far we are progressing/regressing in seeking that relationship to be what God calls it to be.   Isn't that what we're doing if we're of the Church and trying to be Catholic?

Well, yes.

But in response, I would submit that many of us, most of us (unlike my friend who teaches theology on the college level), need refreshers and in some case, re primers on our catechism.   Nothing wakes one up to the poor quality of relying on 8th grade CCD memories (after 8th grade), like hearing them parroted or illustrated in real life.   Bad instruction based on poor formation compounds the problem, creating a whole generation of people who think they know Christ but who have settled for a felt board groovy imitation that demands nothing and therefore cannot intrigue the soul to love more. I still remember a homily in which the priest (seeking to identify with his college age audience) talked about "Life...being kind of like that squirrel." There were so many of those somewhat domesticated fluffy tailed rodent on campus, he equated the creature's cautious taking of the peanut from his hand to the soul receiving the word of God.   It might be so in some cases...but I remember it because my brain exploded. The rant in my head went something like this, "The Eucharist should not be trivialized, even college students know this, even second graders who receive for the first time know this.  Life is NOT like that squirrel!"  Bad instruction may not be absorbed but it is remembered.   

The object of living a life of faith is to mold ourselves more toward Christ, not to mold Christ more toward ourselves. We have to recognize we keep seeking and accepting lesser fare than the Eucharist, and that is itself, a failure to live out one's faith. 

The Church in proclaiming the Year of Faith is embarked on a 365 day spiritual act of mercy to the flock, to instruct the ignorant.  None of us like thinking we aren't informed but when it comes to our faith life, most of us have a wikipedia type knowledge of our Church's teachings.  It's easy, it's within reach and it demands very little.  It paints with a broad brush on a smattering of topics with little or no vetting of the actual information and is tacitly accepted as being the all of it that we need to know to get by.   For basic intel on the difference between plants and animal cells and other need to know instantly because my kid's homework requires I help sum everything up type knowledge, Wiki works fine. But not this.

We're adults. We're called to have deeper understandings and applications of our faith than when to kneel, sit and stand and what time mass is on Sunday.   We're called to integrate our lives so they orient towards Christ.  It is a rigorous thing to seek this sort of life. 

How are we to live this year of Faith?  By applying a bit of self examination, whatever we're not doing...we should start...and whatever we've allowed to become indifferent habit, we should cease.  If you serve constantly, you should focus on prayer. If you pray constantly, you should seek to live out the washing of feet. If you are an organic person in your religious devotions, find a structured one, and if you are rigid in your practice, you should sit at adoration and allow God to make your soul more malleable.  A year of faith is designed to bring us into closer communion with the Body of Christ, both as revealed in others, and Christ Himself. 

So have we been living years of blasphemy all this time?  I would argue, in truth, yes.  We are always failing, always missing the mark, always in need of greater correction on our thoughts, our words, our deeds and our inactions.  So welcome to the year of Faith.  Get excited.  This is like anticipation of a wedding feast, be prepared to have your soul set aflame. 

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