Friday, November 2, 2012

My Year of Faith Project

So far my sharing in the "Flocknotes" project to read the whole catechism during the year of faith has been coming nicely (cf. My resolution post) and I haven't missed a day. Today's section on the characteristics of faith should or could be more ingrained in people's lives or their perceptions of what the true significance of life with God in Christ implies. Here's my favorite one:

"Perseverance in faith
162     Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man. We can lose this priceless gift, as St. Paul indicated to St. Timothy: "Wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith." To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase our faith; it must be "working through charity," abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church."

It gives a much more articulate, a richer sense to what me mean by saying that I, you, we, she or he is a "practicing Catholic". Faith is not once acquired and then kept, but must be worked at in strict companionship with the Church. Too many people today neglect perfunctory Mass attendance on Sundays and Holy Days; they never confess their sins; they reduce the moral code to something less than "be nice, if you can". I guess they can claim Baptism, but all else seems to be on their own terms. It does not square with N. 162 of the Catechism, which is not only an authority, but to my mind is also just too evident a truth. 

I fear that our cemeteries (thinking of All Souls Day today) are all too full of memorials to folks who wrote their own ticket in this life, not managing even to be nice much of the time. There has been and continues to be much talk about "secularization", as if that particular bane were the start and not the last nail in the lid of the coffin. It is hardly since yesterday that, to quote my paragraph of the day, "By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith."  

 It is a good and holy thing we do, when today and throughout November especially, but always and everywhere throughout the year, we never cease to beg that God show mercy to all who after death find themselves yet not washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb, who find themselves less than ready to follow in His train, who find themselves in Purgatory. 

The teaching and exhortation for each of us, encouraging in the great Solemnity of yesterday, All Saints, and in the sober admonition of today, All Souls, is to waste no more time in finally getting around to practicing our faith with all that implies in terms of keeping the white garment of Baptism spotless, in terms of keeping the flame of faith alive in our hearts. Perseverance in faith is rudimentary, timeless in its challenge and a long way from what might be considered the more sophisticated issues tied to combating that polysyllable: secularization.

Reading the catechism each day isn't exactly nourishing our faith with Scripture, but it can bear fruit too in restoring or improving our practice, which serves our perseverance in the faith which will ultimately lead us to the joys of heaven.


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