Long live Christ the King!

The year of Faith terminates on the Solemnity of Christ the King, Nov.24. 2013!  The year of faith should be a year of graces and blessings for the world at large, but for all of us individually!

Maybe up to this point we have not made a concerted effort to live out to the full the graces available to us this year! Well, all professional athletes no that there are upsets, changes and even shocking results.

A cross-country runner can be behind almost the entire race. However, if he turns it on full gear at the end, and breaks the tape first, the crown of glory is still his!

As athletes of Christ, why not put it on high gear in these last few weeks that God has so generously given to us?  We will suggest five concrete practices to bolster our faith in this “Year of faith.”
The family that prays together stays together
1.    FERVENT PRAYER.   Father John Hardon S.J. made this observation!  People who lost their FAITH was almost always because they had given up on their prayer life. Starting right now let us make the proposal to pray more and to pray better. Prayer is a matter of life and death.  Hopefully the words of Saint Augustine can encourage you:  “He who prays well lives well; he, who lives well, dies well; he who dies well, all is well!”

2.    STUDY.  Common sense teaches us that nobody can love what he does not know.  How can we love Jesus and His Church, His Bride and Mystical Body, if we are ignorant?  “Porta Fidei”, the Apostolic letter of Pope Benedict XVI, explaining the meaning and how to live out the Year of faith encouraged reading. Specifically he recommended the reading of the Documents of the Second Vatican Council and of primary importance are the Dogmatic Constitutions--- Dei Verbum, Sacrosanctum Concilium, Gaudium Spes, and Lumen Gentium. Also, the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Let’s start today and dive in!
Jesus is the High Priest
3.     EUCHARIST.   Pope Paul VI in his pontificate wrote a short but brilliant document entitled “Mysterium Fidei”. It is a brief but clear explanation of the Mystery of Faith which is the Most Holy Eucharist.  Many have never been taught properly what the Eucharist is; others have lost belief in the Eucharist; still others have only the vaguest idea of what Mass and the Eucharist means.   A modern saint, canonized by Pope Paul VI, SAINT CHARBEL MAKLOUF, was a contemplative Maronite monk. In the convent he asked permission of his superior to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at twelve noon. The reason for the noon-day Mass was that he wanted to spend the entire morning preparing for Holy Mass; then the afternoon and evening he wanted to spend in giving thanksgiving to God for his Mass and Holy Communion!   What models of encouragement are the saints!
Courage to give witness to Jesus!
4.     SHARE YOUR FAITH WITH OTHERS.   The last Popes have insisted constantly on the MISSION! From the moment of Baptism all are called be missionaries.   Blessed Pope John Paul II stated unequivocally that the best modern mission territory is the CITY!   Many cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Rome, Paris, Buenos Aires, and Manila have millions of inhabitants. Many of these have little faith, a confused faith, or even lost their faith.   The last few words of the book of Jonah summarize the modern big-cities. “These people do not know the difference between their right hand and their left hand.” Father Benedict Groeschel expressed it wryly:  “Many today do not know the difference between a Sacrament and a bicycle pump!”   Learn your faith, but share it with others. The faith we have is not meant to be held to ourselves and hidden under a bushel-basket. Jesus said it clearly:  Let your light shine before others so that they may glorify your Father who is in heaven.”   The Angelic Doctor, Saint Thomas Aquinas offers us this important idea.  In the giving of material things we become poorer.  For example, if you give twenty dollars away then you are twenty dollars more poor. However, when you share your faith with somebody, then the person you share with is enriched and your faith grows at the same time! Let us learn the meaning of the words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “Give until it hurts.”   And the words of Saint Paul: “There is more joy in giving than in receiving.” Become an Apostle now—share your faith in the year of faith!
Our Master suffered trials; so will we!
5.     TRIALS, TRIBULATIONS AND SUFFERING LEADING TO FAITH.   The letter of Saint James starts off with strong words on another paths God sometimes employs to elicit faith in His beloved children--- through the fire of trials and tribulations and suffering.   Let us meditate on the words of the Apostle: “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”(James 1:2-3) The best of Teachers is God. He knows human pedagogy. He knows that we tend to laziness, sloth, complacency and the easy life. That being the case, as a loving but firm Father, He must at times kick us and shake us through trials to wake us up from our spiritual lethargy! That is why He sends us various trials of various types and in unexpected times!  If you honestly and with utmost humility look back in retrospect in your life you will most likely notice moments of trial and great pain, but also how God possibly used these painful moments to bring you closer to Him.  Remember the book of Job!  “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”(Job 1:21)
Our Lady can strengthen our faith!
Finally as the “Year of Faith” draws closer to its conclusion let us turn to Mary. Among the many sublime titles that the Church gives to Mary is “The woman of faith.” May her prayers strengthen our faith in Jesus, the Church, the Eucharist, and our hope for eternal life. Amen