A journalist was attending a dinner party where the Catholic Church was the topic of conversation. Everyone at the dinner table had negative things to say about the Church. After a while, everyone noticed he had remained silent. Knowing that he was a practicing Catholic, his dinner partner said, “Well, why do you still go to that Church?” The journalist replied, “What else is there? I believe in the True Presence, I believe that the Eucharist is the Body of Christ and I don’t want to live without it.” Following his spontaneous profession of faith, it was everyone else’s turn to fall silent.
This man’s dinner-table profession of faith is a good introduction to the Year of Faith which began this past week. Pope Benedict has called for this Year of Faith as an open invitation for all of us to discover afresh the Person of Christ. So as this year begins, let me suggest three goals we might set for ourselves.
The first goal is to open our hearts to Christ by discovering the truth, beauty, and love at the heart of the Church’s teaching. As our love for Christ deepens, we need to study what our Faith teachings so that we may truly know Christ and know what it means to follow Him. Picking and choosing what we will believe or reject has a way of weakening the whole structure of our faith.
The second goal is to ask for the grace to have confident assurance about the Church’s teaching and to help us profess the Church’s faith whole and entire with renewed conviction.
The second goal leads to the third. If we know and love the faith, if we are confident in the Church’s faith because we have found in it the Person of Christ, then we can make it our goal to spread the faith – to bear witness to the faith, just as that journalist did.
May this Year of Faith bear abundant fruit in your lives and in the Archdiocese of Baltimore!