Bulletin Letter April 29, 2012
This past week I have been reading an apostolic letter of the Holy Father, dated October 11, 2011. The document is called Porta fidei, which means “door of faith”. The phrase “door of faith” comes from Acts 14:27, where Paul and Barnabas in Antioch are speaking of how God opened “a door of faith” to the Gentiles so that they could receive the gospel. In this letter, the Pope is declaring a “Year of Faith” for the whole church, officially opening on October 11, 2012, and then ending on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, November 24, 2013.
Why declare a year of faith? To heal the crisis of faith. The Holy Father explains: “It often happens that Christians are more concerned for the social, cultural and political consequences of their commitment, continuing to think of the faith as a self-evident presupposition for life in society. Whereas in the past it was possible to recognize a unitary cultural matrix, broadly accepted in its appeal to the content of the faith and the values inspired by it, today this no longer seems to be the case in large swathes of society, because of the profound crisis of faith that has affected many people.”
In other words, for many people the faith has become merely a social, cultural, political phenomenon; yet the content of what we profess in the Creed has actually been left behind. We assume people understand the doctrines, and because of this they have not been handed down to other generations. The actual truths of the faith are no longer motivating people in their lives.
The Pope says further, “We want this Year to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess a faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope. It will also be a good opportunity to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, which is the 'summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed; . . . and also the source from which all its power flows'.”
Throughout the Pope's letter, and throughout an accompanying note of explanation from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican II Documents and the Catechism of the Catholic Church are highlighted. With these tools in hand, the Holy Father invites us to understand more profoundly the content of the faith, and also the act by which we choose to entrust ourselves fully to God, in complete freedom. When we use the word “faith”, we mean both the content of the Creed, with all that the Church has handed down regarding doctrine and morals throughout the centuries; but we also mean the act by which the human person says “yes” to all of this content. The Holy Spirit makes such a profound “yes” to the faith possible for us.
Our local deanery will be planning some activities for the year, so you will see those in the bulletin. Because the CDF recommends a series of homilies focusing on the Creed, I hope to preach on the Creed throughout the year. We will see what other things we might do on the parish level to understand the Faith more profoundly. Everybody is invited to read the Pope's letter explaining the Year of Faith. You can find it at the Vatican website under the motu proprio link.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,