With these inspiring and encouraging words, Pope Benedict XVI opens “Porta Fidei,” his pastoral letter on the Year of Faith: “The ‘door of faith’ (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his church.”
Indeed the journey of faith is an amazing gift! God stands at the ready, holding open the cathedral door to Divine Life, excitedly waiting to usher us
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into a relationship of deep communion through his living body, the church.
Honoring the gift of faith and calling us into deeper faith, Pope Benedict has announced a Year of Faith to begin on Oct. 11, which notably marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The year appropriately concludes on Nov. 24, 2013, the great Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King.
More than a historical commemoration, the Year of Faith challenges all of us with the call to a renewed response of faith in the context of a culture that is indifferent or hostile to the content and values of faith. We cannot become tasteless salt or light that is hidden (Mt 5:13-16). Instead, Pope Benedict asserts that “we are called to radiate the word of truth that the Lord Jesus has left us.” Seasoning our surroundings and shining with the brightest light, we are called to become “living signs of the presence of the Risen Lord in the world.”
The call to a renewed faith is our journey this year and for a lifetime. With all journeys, we need clear signposts to guide us. The Year of Faith offers these significant landmarks to chart our path into deeper faith:
- We are to surrender to an “authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world.”
- We are to let the love of Christ penetrate our hearts to “rediscover the joy of believing and the enthusiasm for communicating the faith.”
- Our gaze is to be “fixed upon Jesus Christ” so that we find a new zeal for praying, professing, celebrating and living the faith.
- We are to ponder the ways of faith by retracing the steps of our ancestors, such as Mary, the apostles, martyrs and saints.
- We are to “intensify the witness of charity,” giving our preferential attention to the least ones in whom the “reflection of Christ’s own face is seen” (Mt 25:40).
With these landmarks of faith to guide us, let us walk boldly into the Year of Faith, joining our voices with Pope Benedict in this prayer for the journey: “May this Year of Faith make our relationship with Christ the Lord increasingly firm, since only in him is there the certitude for looking to the future and the guarantee of an authentic and lasting love.”