The Year of Faith, September 9, 2012 Article
The Year of Faith is a Holy Year that Pope Benedict declared beginning on October 11, 2012 and ending on November 24, 2013. In years past, we have celebrated similar holy years such as the Year of the Priest, the Year of the Eucharist and the Year of the Rosary. This particular Holy Year is about the gift of faith, that gift by which we are enabled to believe in Jesus Christ and His Church and so receive salvation.
The Holy Father introduced the Year of Faith in his Apostolic Letter, Porta Fidei. Here he invites all the faithful to open the “door of faith” (Acts 14:27), the door which was first opened at Baptism, but which during the Year of Faith, we are called to open again, walk through it, and renew our relationship with Christ and his Church.
The year of Faith is a time of grace, and we are invited to focus our attention particularly on the Word of God in the Scriptures and on the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, which is the very source of our Faith. We are also asked to deepen our knowledge of what we believe by studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the documents of Vatican II.
Our Holy Father expresses his hope that this Holy Year will “arouse in every believer the aspirations to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope.” (Porta Fidei:9)
The Year of Faith, September 16, 2012 Article
The Year of Faith is a time of grace in which the faithful are encouraged to “rediscover the joy of believing.” Christian joy is the hallmark of our faith. It comes from the heart of the person who has encountered Jesus Christ alive in the Church, and has experienced His merciful love, especially in the sacraments. Pope Benedict tells us: “Faith grows when it is lived as an experience of love received and communicated as an experience of grace and joy.” It is for this reason that during the Year of Faith, all Catholics are called to experience Christ’s love and to know Him better. Catholic faith, touched by this genuine encounter with the Lord, “expands our hearts in hope and enables us to bear life-giving witness” to the world. (PF 7). In this way, the Year of Faith is also about evangelization – sharing our faith with others.
“O Lord, increase our faith!!” (Lk 17:5). The Year of Faith is a time to grow in this precious gift. St. Augustine tells us: “Believers strengthen themselves by believing.” Our exercise of the gift of faith during this year through prayer, study and public witness will dispose us to the Lord’s grace through which He causes our faith to grow. Let us look forward to this Year with great expectations!
The Year of Faith, September 23 Article
During the Year of Faith the Church seeks to strengthen her faith by returning more fully to the sources of our faith. There we rediscover the treasures of the faith that have been passed down to us from the apostles. In “going back to the sources,” the Church looks first to the person of Jesus Christ, source and summit of our faith, especially as He is found in the Scriptures and the Eucharist. “We must rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the Word of God, faithfully handed down by the Church, and on the bread of life offered as sustenance for his disciples.” our Holy Father tells us (PF 3).
We are also invited to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as a major source for increase in the knowledge of our faith. Of particular importance for this Holy Year is the Second Vatican Council, which the Pope reminds us is “the great grace bestowed on the Church in the twentieth century.” The sixteen documents produced by the Council should be a particular object of study during this time, for in them the Church will find “a sure compass by which to take our bearings in the century now beginning” (PF 5). It is through contact with these sources during this year that we can hope to bear the fruit of a mature faith.
Year of Faith, September 30 Article
Vatican II and the Year of Faith
The Year of Faith opens on October 11, 2012, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. Vatican II was a gathering of over 2,000 bishops from all over the world at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The Council lasted from 1962 to 1965, during which time the Council Fathers, in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, strove to understand and articulate the mission of the Church in the modern world.
The fruits of the Council took the form of 16 documents, which outlined the path for renewal in the Church. The documents range from Constitutions on the Sacred Liturgy and Divine Revelation to texts on Religious Liberty and Social Communications. It was the intention of the Council Fathers, as it is the intention of the Church on the threshold of the Year of Faith, to bring about authentic renewal in the Church so as to discover the way to bring the unchanging truth of Christ to a new era in human history.
Because the Year of Faith coincides so closely with the anniversary of the Council, the Pope has asked us to pay particular attention to the Vatican II documents, as they “have lost nothing of their value or brilliance” (PF 5). We are encouraged to be educated and evangelized through study and reflection upon these source documents, and to find in them the “sure compass by which to take our bearings in this century now beginning.” (PF 5).