Pope Benedict has declared the dates October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013 to be the Year of Faith. I’m sure many Catholics have heard this edict many times in the last month, and I’m sure many are left wondering, “Why should I care? I mean, isn’t the Church always proclaiming some day to be important for this or that reason? How is this any different than a feast day or Lent or Advent? Again: Why should I give a second thought to it?” Well, first off, let’s take a second to step back from the insanity of our extremely busy lives and look at what’s really going on around us. I know this might be impossible but hang in here with me for a minute.
Let’s get a clearer understanding of this whole “Year of Faith” business. The Pope names his announcing the Year of Faith as “Porta Fidei”, or “The Door of Faith”. Why a door you ask? Well, doors are pretty important in our lives are they not? They protect us, they help us to stay warm in the winter months and let in a cool breeze in the summer ones. Doors allow us to move from one place to the next in a practical and helpful way. Doors permit us to discover new things awaiting us on the other side them. In conclusion, I think we can all agree that doors are a good thing.
So what does this have to do with the Year of Faith? The Pope could have chosen any topic to speak on. The Year of hope, prayer, love, ect. Why faith? Well, obviously the Pope sees something in our world that maybe we aren’t. We all can have moments of despair about the state of our lives on this earth. The days are getting shorter and colder. Some of us are not too happy about the results of the Election. Gas prices are rising. The holidays are creeping up on us which for some might mean more worries about financial stains than spreading holiday cheer. Divorce and abortion rates are climbing the charts. Nearly 47.6% of children in our country is born to an unwed mother.
Faith offers us the opportunity to open up the door to a reality beyond all of these stark truths. There is something greater happening behind these sometimes depressing happenstances. The Pope presents us with the Year of Faith in order to take the chance and open up this door of faith in order to gaze into an actuality more significant than ourselves. If we take this risk, we take a stance of vulnerability and openness at which we have the occasion to encounter Christ. This encounter is not something that allows us to turn our back from earthly truths, but rather it allows for new light to be shed upon them so that “salt should not become tasteless or the light be kept hidden”. It is a continual celebration of Christ’s life, death and resurrection lived in the mundane. In this light, the mundane is not mundane but rather further possibility to encounter He who we are celebrating. If we grab the handle of that door, pull it wide open, and consequently open our hearts to all that faith can present to us, our lives will be infiltrated with meaning and a new liveliness that we never thought possible.
It is extremely important that as people of the Light, we bring this faith to the international floor. In the issues that we are addressing around the world, we see not only the physical but also spiritual needs of our brothers and sisters around the world. We know that it is not only freedom in “rights” but freedom in Christ that brings true prosperity and happiness. We must never cease to continually offer this freedom to others.
I will leave you with this beautiful quote for Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Letter “Porta Fidei”:
Only through believing, then, does faith grow and become stronger; there is no other possibility for possessing certitude with regard to one’s life apart from self-abandonment, in a continuous crescendo, into the hands of a love that seems to grow constantly because it has its origin in God.
Now get back out there and joyfully enter through this door of faith with me.