Our Whole Self

We have the privilege this year of journeying through Lent in 2013 during a proclaimed Year of Faith.  

For Catholics, this is an opportunity to unite our time of penitential reflection and personal renewal with the call of Pope Benedict XVI to “open the door of faith.”  

The Holy Father spoke about the meaning of Lent when he said during last year’s Ash Wednesday: “In these 40 days may we draw nearer to the Lord by meditating on His word and example, and conquer the desert of our spiritual aridity, selfishness and materialism.” 

In this issue, which arrives in the midst of Lent, several articles are tied closely to what the Pope meant. In an essay rich with content, “Missing the Mark” (Page 12), Msgr. William King, J.C.D., discusses vices, picking up on the main themes he addressed in the last issue, and presents a valuable lesson on the virtues. As Msgr. King writes: “Neither virtue nor vice arise from a single act: a single sinful act does not make a vice. One sin at a time, repeated often enough, builds a sinful habit, and that habit over time can form a vice.” 

At a time when we are all seduced, lured, intimidated or beckoned toward relativism, materialism, amorality and secularism, it seems all too easy to forget that virtue is truly something that must be perfected in our lives, in our daily decisions both large and small. In the same way, vice begins with small choices and compromises, a dulling of our moral sense and a loss of faith in what should be most important in our lives.  

For this reason, this issue also includes an article on the Year of Faith, focusing on the pontiff’s letter starting the special yearlong commemoration of faith, Porta Fidei (“Opening the Door of Faith,” Page 26). Faith is our antidote to the crises of the modern age, both on the global stage and in the deepest recesses of our hearts, and it is Pope Benedict’s great hope that Catholics everywhere will take this year to re-energize and recommit ourselves to faith. As he taught during a general audience on Oct. 17 of last year: “Having faith in the Lord is not something that solely involves our intelligence, the area of intellectual knowledge; rather, it is a change that involves our life, our whole self: feelings, heart, intelligence, will, corporeity, emotions and human relationships. With faith everything truly changes, in us and for us, and our future destiny is clearly revealed, the truth of our vocation in history, the meaning of life, the pleasure of being pilgrims bound for the heavenly homeland.” 

May all of us follow his call. A holy Lent and blessed Easter! TCA 

Matthew Bunson, D.Min., M.Div., is editor of The Catholic Answer and The Catholic Almanac and author of more than 40 books. He is a senior fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and a professor at the Catholic Distance University. You may e-mail him at mbunson@osv.com