Yes, I watched Lamb Chop as a child. I apologize to anyone who now has that wonderful song stuck in his or her head, but it is really quite appropriate. Not only did the Year of Faith extend for 409 days, but it is also a theme and a focus that should continue on in our daily lives as Catholics. As Pope Francis said in his homily
this Sunday, when Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI gave us this Year of Faith, “he gave us an opportunity to rediscover
the beauty of the journey of faith
begun on the day of our baptism” (emphasis mine).
The Year of Faith is a stepping stone to reigniting a fire for Christ. It is a “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world” (Porta Fidei
6). It is meant to be an enduring encounter with Christ in the sacraments and in the teachings of the Church
, that is, as Pope Francis said, “[a] journey which has as its ultimate end our full encounter with God, and throughout which the Holy Spirit purifies us, lifts us up and sanctifies us, so that we may enter into the happiness for which our hearts long.”
That happiness is in Christ. Since it was the feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Pope Francis’ homily reflected on St. Paul’s vision of Christ at the center, the center of creation, the center of the people of God and the center of the entire history of the human race — and that means the center of our own lives.
According to Pope Francis, “the attitude demanded of us as true believers is that of recognizing and accepting in our lives the centrality of Jesus Christ, in our thoughts, in our words and in our works.”
So even though the Year of Faith is officially over, we need to keep the Faith alive, in our thoughts, in our words and in our works. How do we do that? Here are a few ideas — they may sound very, very familiar.
- Go to Mass. I don’t just mean our Sunday obligation. Make an effort to attend a weekday Mass.
- Go to Confession. Frequent confession is essential to the spiritual life. Pope Francis goes every other week.
- Pray daily. If Christ is the center, we really should talk to him every day. We cannot build a relationship with him if we do not spend time with him.
- Read Scripture. Dive into the Word of God. Maybe read a psalm or a chapter of Proverbs each day, work your way through the 14 narrative books of the Bible or simply keep up with the daily readings.
- Attend extracurricular activities in your parish. Our faith can flourish within a community, so take advantage of opportunities at your parish for faith learning, faith sharing and service activities.
- Learn more about the Faith. Pick a topic you have questions about or would like to understand better and read what the Church has to say about it. There are many resources available, but you can start at Vatican.va.
- Explore OSV.com. You’re already here. Our Sunday Visitor has news, answers to your questions, ways to live the Faith and more. Check it out.
Join me on the journey. Yes, it goes on and on my friends.
Jennifer Rey is the web editor of Our Sunday Visitor Publishing.