A golden opportunity Print
Cutting Edge
Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 -- 12:00 AM

Cutting Edge by Sr. Margie Lavonis

Lately I have been reflecting on what the Year of Faith (October 11, 2012, to November 24, 2013) which was recently proclaimed by the pope, can mean for those Catholics who seek to grow spiritually.

It is similar to the purpose of the Season of Lent, which is a time of renewal and conversion. The Year of Faith affords every Catholic the opportunity to focus on his or her relationship with Jesus Christ and belief in what the Church teaches.

During this year it might be well to examine just how much you really know about the Church and what it teaches. Many of us recite the Creed by heart, but do not know or think very much about the words we profess.

We hear about the Second Vatican Council, which opened 50 years ago on October 11, but some (or should I say a great number of Catholics) have never really taken time to read or study any of its documents.

Hopefully, as Pope Benedict has said, this Year of Faith will stir up a “new impetus to the mission of the whole Church to lead men (and women) out of the desert in which they find themselves, to the place of life, of friendship with Jesus.” He hopes it will “arouse in every believer the aspiration to learn what the Church really teaches and to profess the faith with new conviction.”

Our pope also reminds us that faith must be rooted in love. Faith without love is empty. Our faith should draw us to Jesus Christ and to his mission of building God’s kingdom of love and justice he gave to his followers.

This is an important invitation for each of us to assess the state of our own faith and reflect on the way we live. We might ask ourselves these questions: How important is the Eucharist to me? Do I go to Mass only because it is an obligation? Do I have an active relationship with Jesus? Do I communicate with him regularly? Are doing acts of charity part of the routine of my life? How much or what do I know about Church teaching?

Do most people know that I am a Catholic or a Christian? Do I ever express my faith in Jesus to others, especially the people who touch my daily life? Do I separate my religion from the rest of my life or is it integral to how I live?

This Year of Faith can be a time for each of us to renew and strengthen our faith. It can be a time of conversion if we are open to the Holy Spirit and cooperate with God’s grace. If we participate fully in the activities offered, we will strengthen ourselves, our parish, our diocese, and the entire Church.

I hope you take this golden opportunity.

Sr. Margie Lavonis, a freelance writer, is a Sister of the Holy Cross, Notre Dame, Ind.