Today marks the beginning of the Year of Faith! It runs from 10/11/12 to 11/24/13. It celebrates the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, as well as the 20 year anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict offered Mass this morning for the Year of Faith and NBC News has some great pictures of the Mass posted.
The USCCB also has a great website with information and materials to help us grow in faith during this year. They state that during this year, Catholics are asked to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the Catechism so that we may deepen our knowledge of the faith.
There is also plenary indulgences available during the Year of Faith. Here are the details on it:
(A) Each time they attend at least three sermons during the Holy Missions, or at least three lessons on the Acts of the Council or the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in church or any other suitable location.
(B) Each time they visit, in the course of a pilgrimage, a papal basilica, a Christian catacomb, a cathedral church or a holy site designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith (for example, minor basilicas and shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Apostles or patron saints), and there participate in a sacred celebration, or at least remain for a congruous period of time in prayer and pious meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary and, depending on the circumstances, to the Holy Apostles and patron saints.
(C) Each time that, on the days designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith, … in any sacred place, they participate in a solemn celebration of the Eucharist or the Liturgy of the Hours, adding thereto the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form.
(D) On any day they chose, during the Year of Faith, if they make a pious visit to the baptistery, or other place in which they received the Sacrament of Baptism, and there renew their baptismal promises in any legitimate form.”
Given the call to Catholics, I found a website that will send you a portion of the Catechism, I think every day, so that you can read through it completely within the year. You can sign up to participate in this here.
In addition, I want to use this time to really grow in my faith. Fr. John gave a talk yesterday on prayer and emphasized that our prayer should be a wrestling with God. After all, how am I going to conform my will to His if I am not willing to bend it to fit the mould more closely? Conforming my will is going to cost me. If I’m not grappling with something, then maybe I’m not really growing. Perhaps, if it is easy, I am only superficially accepting of God’s Truths. I’m really going to have to change things if I want to have a deeper relationship with the Lord. But what relationship is more worth fighting for? And it is a fight. I fight that I will be having with myself. As I try to move from where I am to where I want to be.
I know that this year I will be adding things and changing things in my life to try and draw closer to God. I am the type of person who likes to say, “I will do this once a week/month, etc.,” but I don’t think that setting a schedule is going to help me. Too often, I miss a “deadline” for one reason or another and use that as an excuse to give up on the whole project. So, I’m not going to do that. I will introduce new things as they come to me, and as I feel that God wants me to. And I ask you, my friends, to help hold me accountable. To hold each other accountable in whatever it is that we decide to do to grow in our faith this year. If I leave things just up to me, I’ll probably let myself off the hook sometimes. 🙂
So, let’s fight this battle together. I’ve got your back and you’ve got mine!
God bless your fight and your journey!