Put Out into the Deep

Christmas Means Believing in Someone

My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,

Last October, our Holy Father Benedict XVI issued an Apostolic Letter entitled, “Porta Fidei,” or the “Door of Faith” quoting Acts 14:27. The door of faith is always open to us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into His Church.

This year, we will observe a Year of Faith that will begin next October as the Synod of the New Evangelization will be in progress.  The Holy Father chose next October because it is the 50th anniversary of the ending of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  These anniversaries give us a point of reference. As we look at the situation in the world today, we recognize that faith itself is constantly questioned  and people of faith are not viewed positively and many times are impeded professing their faith in an open way.

Unfortunately, in America today, religion has become a private affair, something to keep to ourselves and not to celebrate openly.  The Year of Faith is something for which we are preparing as a diocese.  We have asked the Presbyteral Council, Diaconal Council, Religious Council, and Diocesan Pastoral Council for representation to develop a diocesan committee to plan for our celebration of the Year of Faith. We have almost a year to plan  for a meaningful and public celebration of the precious gift of faith.

Gift of Faith
The Advent Season also gives us an opportunity to reflect on the gift of faith and our preparation for the celebration of Christmas. Unfortunately, Christmas has become, for our society, just a holiday that allows nostalgia for the past to flourish and economic gains for businesses.

One of the interesting mottos of a major department store, is “Simply Believe.” I am not sure in what the store is asking us to believe. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in his Apostolic Letter speaks directly about belief, and in particular about the Creed. He reminds us that the early Christians were required to memorize the Creed as they were initiated into the faith.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church structures its teachings on the Creed itself given how important it is to our belief.   Each Sunday we recite the Creed, perhaps more by rote than by memory and some would be hard pressed to recite it alone without the help of others. Some of the changes in the liturgy make us stop and think about what we say, in particular, the insertion of the word consubstantial which means one in being, reminding us that Jesus is both God and man.

It is for the celebration of Christ’s birth as God and man that we now prepare during this Advent season. Perhaps you can use the rest of this season as a preparation to show people your faith.

The journey of faith is always an exercise in putting out into the deep. You can never understand fully. We believe that our faith seeks understanding, as St. Augustine reminds us.

As we come to the conclusion of the Advent season, we can remind ourselves that we are people of faith and we truly believe, not in anything, but in someone, in the person of Jesus Christ. May these final days of preparation for Christmas not be filled with busyness, but rather with spiritual reflection.

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One thought on “Christmas Means Believing in Someone

  1. Faith should not be in doubt. Faith must be in every one of us, always. The more people believe, the stronger it becomes a force for good. God gives only good. People who believe are on the right path of life. People often go bad unbelieving way of life. Believe and God will always be with you.