A Year of Faith
A Year of Faith
“Open the doors to Christ,” John Paul II cried out to the people on October 1978 after his election as the Successor of Peter. The image of the door (Cf Acts 14:27) was also the choice of Benedict XVI as the icon for ‘the Year of Faith,’ which will start on October 11, 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II. It will end November 24, 2013, on the solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. In the apostolic letter, ‘Door of the Faithful,’ the Pope wished that this Year would ‘render ever more solid the rapport with Christ the Lord because only in Him is certainty in looking toward the future and the guarantee of an authentic and enduring love.” (Door of the Faithful, 15)
In these days, we will celebrate the solemnity of All Saints and of the Faithful Departed. Their witness reminds us that the substance of holiness lies in letting the Lord Jesus enter into the life of believers. It means opening wide the doors so that the Good News may convert our existence.
The Pope’s wish is for the actualization of ‘a more convinced ecclesial commitment in favor of a new evangelization to discover the joy of believing and re-discovering enthusiasm in communicating the faith. (PF 7) Aware that ‘the knowledge of the contents of the faith is essential to giving assent, to adhere fully with intelligence and will to what the Church proposes,’ (PF /) the Holy Father invites us to a deeper re-reading of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, ‘a precious and indispensable aid.’ In addition, he outlines an itinerary ‘to help us understand more deeply the contents of the faith.’ He stresses the fundamental importance of witness even in the public domain so that ‘we may never think that believing is a private act.’ (PF 10)
We re-discover in the Apostolic Letter of Benedict XVI the exhortation to ‘an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the only Savior of the world.’ (PF ) For the FMA, this permits us to revive the specific commitment to the journey indicated by GC XXII. The Pope continues, ‘Thanks to faith, the whole of human existence is shaped on the radical novelty of the Resurrection. In the measure of their free availability, thoughts and affections, mentality and behavior of humans are slowly purified and transformed on journey never completely ended in this life.’ (PF 6)
In number 13 of the Letter, the Pope invites us to ‘keep our gaze on Jesus,’ and on the example of many witnesses of the faith. ‘Through faith, Mary received the Angel’s word and believed the announcement that she would become the Mother of God.’ The Apostles, disciples, martyrs, women, and men consecrated their lives to Christ through faith, and so have many other Christians. ‘We too live by faith through recognizing the Lord Jesus present in our existence and in history.’ (PF 13)
By happy coincidence, the recent Circular #922 of Mother Yvonne Reungoat on the theme, ‘The Joy of Evangelization,’ underlines the responsibility of each FMA to “give new light to the service of evangelization that the Church expects from Christians and, with greater reason, from consecrated persons.’ Mother reminds us “by vocation we feel we are called in a special way to give our specific contribution throughout the world. The awareness that holiness and mission are closely correlated opens our heart to accept the demands of new evangelization as a gift and a duty to renew our life of faith.”
Mother concludes with the invitation to entrust to Mary, Star of Evangelization, the commitment to evangelize with enthusiasm and to invoke her so that she may teach us to “be today, luminous presences, bearers of joy and of hope, missionaries of the Word.”
As an Institute, we are infinitely grateful to the Holy Father for the precious gift of his Letter and the proclamation of the Year of Faith that will certainly render our journey and our rapport with the Lord Jesus firmer and more joyous.