God is good, loving, kind, merciful,
compassionate, and generous beyond our wildest imagination! God speaks to us through His Mystical Body
the Church, and especially through His “Sweet Vicar on earth” (St. Catherine of
Siena) the Holy Father, the Pope--- presently, Pope Benedict XVI.
From October 11th, 2012
until November 24th, 2013 (The Solemnity of Christ the King), the Holy
Father has proclaimed for the Catholic Church, “The Year of Faith”. This year of faith will be a year of grace
and a year of extraordinary blessings.
Of course the blessings of God are limitless, but our capacity can be
magnanimous--- generous, or mediocre.
Therefore, the graces and blessings depend in large part upon the
disposition of our hearts. Therefore,
our message is directed at how we can sincerely give to the Lord a
well-disposed, totally open heart so that He can rain a torrential downpour of
graces into our minds, our hearts, our souls and consequently upon our
families! Let us offer some concrete
ways to live out this “Year of faith” intensely!
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! Nobody has an absolute security for
tomorrow! Jesus constantly exhorts and
warns us to stay awake, be alert and to be vigilant. We know neither the day nor the hour that
the Lord will come and ask for an account of our lives. Life is short,
precarious and uncertain! Remember the
Tsunami, and Sept 11, 2001 with the twin towers, also, sudden earthquakes. One
note in common for all: it all happened unexpectedly! Not to be apocalyptic but
realistic—in imitation of the saints—we should live each day as if it were our
last. So let us live this “Year of
Faith” as if it were the last year of our life, after which the Lord will judge
us for all eternity! Remember the poetic
expression of the Psalmist: “Our life on earth is like the flower of the field
that rises in the morning and withers and dies in the evening.” We are the flower of the field, called to
blossom flourish and exude the beautiful fragrance of holiness. Paul reminds us
that we are called to be the fragrance of Christ!
PRAYER! Father John Hardon, S.J. made an acute
observation between prayer and faith.
The saintly Jesuit made this connection!
When an individual loses his faith, it is very often related to a
neglect or total abandonment of prayer!
Superb insight! Why? Indeed
prayer is an act of faith. The nature of
faith is believing in a God that we do not see.
Prayer is praying to a God that we do not see, but we believe He hears
our prayers, is attentive to our supplications and loves us intensely.
Therefore, giving up prayer, like a lamp unplugged, the spiritual electric
current of faith dies! In sum, may this
year of faith be characterized by a year of more fervent, faithful, intense,
and confident prayer!
Common sense teaches us that we cannot love anybody that we do not
know. The same principle can be applied
to our relationship with God. Not
knowing God serves as a major obstacle in loving Him. Knowledge and love
intersect and interconnect. Once Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment
was and the Lord responded immediately, quoting the great “Shema” of the Old
Testament: “You shall love the Lord, your
God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with
all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Lk. 10:27). What should we study? In his Apostolic Letter, “Porta Fidei”, “The
door of faith”, in which the Holy Father explains the purpose, the thrust and
the objective of this year of faith, he clearly points to revisiting the
Documents of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), but most specifically he
encourages us to revisit, to read, study, and learn the basics of our faith as
presented by the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (Numbers 11, 12 Porta Fidei). In his wisdom and insight, the Holy Father
is commencing the year of faith simultaneous with the 50th
anniversary of the opening of the Vatican II Council, as well as the 20th
anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that
Pope John Paul II offered as a wonderful “Gift” to the modern world, groping in
darkness, ignorance and widespread confusion!
Therefore, if you do not have the Catechism of the Catholic Church,
purchase it. If you have it, return to this spiritual gold-mind. Pray over it, read it meditate upon it, form
group-discussions, learn it and live it!!!!
ENCOUNTER WITH CHRIST! The heart of the message and thrust of the
“year of Faith”, proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI, is that each and every one of
us individually will arrive at a personal, intimate, deep and growing, profound
relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus has to come alive in our lives, as our
God and Savior, but also as our best of FRIENDS!!!
From the outset of his pontificate, the Successor of Christ Pope
Benedict XVI has insisted on the discovering of Jesus Christ as FRIEND!
St. Teresa of Avila taught
very clearly that meditating on the Humanity of Christ is one of the most sure
and efficacious means to plumb the depths of prayer and arrive at union with
God. Therefore, let us accept the
invitation of the Pope and--- through our study and meditation of the Catechism
of the Catholic Church--- arrive at an ever deeper “Friendship” with
Jesus. Even our best of friends
occasionally fail us! Not so with Jesus!
He is the ever faithful “Friend” in time and He will be forever in eternity. At the Last Supper Jesus, from the depths of
His loving and Sacred Heart, described His relationship to His Apostles (and to
us): “I do not call you servants because
the servant does not know what His Master is about, but I call you FRIENDS!
MISSIONARY DRIVE! Finally, the Holy Father insists in the
Apostolic Letter, “The door of faith” that we must be authentic witnesses of
Christ. The Pope insists on a constant metanoia or conversion of heart,
renouncing our sinful past and focusing on Jesus who perfects our faith. With this conversion from sin, the Pope insists
on the missionary thrust, the call to bring the Good and joyful News of Jesus
Christ to the whole world. “Go,
therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all that
I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, until the end of the
age.” ( Mt. 28:19-20). These were the last words of Our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ, before He ascended into heaven--- indeed a missionary mandate
that he commissioned all of us as His followers to take seriously and carry
out! The year of faith, must be a year
of personal enrichment and growth, but also of sharing this faith with the
whole world. Undoubtedly, one of the most efficacious ways to grow in our faith
is to share it with others!
May Mary, who pondered the Word of God in her Immaculate Heart and moved
in haste to share the Word of God to others—her cousin Elizabeth, Zacharias and
John the Baptist--- attain for each and every one of us an open heart this Year
of faith, a well-disposed will, and limitless trust in God’s grace and
mercy. Through her powerful prayers this
year of faith, will be a year of grace and a year of extraordinary blessings!