Spirituality: The Year of Faith Begins Today!
Last October, Pope Benedict XVI called for a Year of Faith. Using the tools and resources of the New Evangelization, Catholics are called to rediscover the Gospel, and to spread it to those around us. The Year of Faith kicks off today—the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council—and will last until November 24, 2013 (the feast of Christ the King).
Still wondering what you can do to take advantage of this opportunity? Here are just a few suggestions. We'd like to hear more of yours in the comments section below:
-Read the Catechism. Yes, this sounds about as easy to do as, well, reading the Catechism. But there are fantastic ways to make this possible, including this.
-Take part in a study program through your parish, or start one of your own. It might seem like a time commitment, but they are designed to be convenient for busy folks who might only have a night a week to devote to it.
-Prayer. We can't underestimate this one. The more we pray, the more ingrained in our daily lives it becomes. Prayer centers us, focuses us, and of course, brings us closer to God. Consider a decade of the Rosary a day as a start, and then move from there.
-Celebrate the Sacraments. Perhaps you've fallen out of
the habit of going to mass or confession on a regular basis, or perhaps you go but your mind wanders. Not only does frequently celebrating these sacraments strengthen our faith, it reminds us of why we do this, why Christ lived and died to make this gift possible. It's a beautiful, powerful thing — and it makes us better people.
-Seek spiritual direction. Even the most devout Catholics have questions, or struggle with elements of the faith, or desire more focus. Taking the sacrament of confession one step further and seeking counsel from a member of the clergy or religious can help right the path. Consult your parish for more information.
-Don't forget about social media. We've all heard about the pope tweeting, and right now you're reading a blog. This is part of the intent of the New Evangelization — using the tools of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and more to profess our faith, lead by example, and show the world what's so great about Catholicism. Sign up for your own account, or use the one you have to a more positive effect. Follow those people and organizations that can bring you closer to, rather than drive you away from, your faith.
Still have questions? Below are some informative links and videos that will help us better understand the Year of Faith, from answering the basic questions to addressing some heavier theological implications.
Here's a comprehensive Year of Faith guide from the Pontifical Council For Promoting the New Evangelization. (Also available in Italian, which is pretty cool.)
The USCCB gives us some nuts and bolts explanations of the origins and intent of the Year of Faith.
Zenit.com relayed some notable dates and events within the Year of Faith, as originally reported by Vatican Radio.
Looking for some pastoral recommendations? The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith has assembled just that.
Father Barron on CATHOLICISM study materials for faith formation use during the Year of Faith.