We’ve just begun observing the Year of Faith and already, I feel a refreshing breeze sweeping through the Church. Bye, bye, modern cynicism! So long, spiritual doubt! Hasta la vista, critics of faith! I, probably just like you, have had enough of the negativity and am ready to embrace this new perspective.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website reports:
…The Year of Faith is an opportunity for Catholics to experience a conversion – to turn back to Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with him. The “door of faith” is opened at one’s baptism, but during this year Catholics are called to open it again, walk through it and rediscover and renew their relationship with Christ and his Church.
This year can be life-changing for anyone that grabs hold of this opportunity and makes the most of it. There are many blessings and graces available to everyone in this special season, especially for single Catholics.
First, you can take advantage of the opportunity to receive a plenary indulgence. Who couldn’t use having a lifetime of temporal punishment getting wiped away? These opportunities for graces like these make a huge impact upon those who receive them.
It’s also a great time to focus on your interior life and see what aspects might require your attention. If you are trying to get through a difficult time and have many worries and doubts, recommit yourself to trusting in God. Of course that doesn’t mean you just sit back and wait for things to happen, but it does mean that you move ahead with a childlike faith, trusting that God will work all things for your good (cf. Romans 8:28).
Next, it’s a great time to stop and evaluate the relationships you have with your friends, dates, and family. Especially as we get closer to Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas, is there a relationship that could use a boost? Someone who hasn’t heard from you in a long time? Someone that could use an unexpected emotigram, positive email or phone call from you? This is a perfect opportunity to bridge any relationship gaps.
The holiday season is a time when it’s easy to feel disappointed if you are not in a relationship and one of the best ways to combat that feeling is to focus on someone else. As you read this, is there anyone that comes to mind who could use a little cheer? If so, don’t wait for someone else to make the first move – be magnanimous. Take the initiative. Now is a great time to invite someone to go to Mass with you.
In Disciples Called to Witness: A Statement On The New Evangelization, we are reminded of our call to bring others to Christ:
According to a recent Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) study, the most common reasons given by Catholics who do not regularly attend Mass are not related to controversial issues. The reasons given instead point to a gradual slipping away from the faith. Most Catholics stop attending Mass because they (1) have busy schedules or a lack of time, (2) have family responsibilities, (3) have health problems or disabilities, (4) have conflicts with work, (5) do not believe missing Mass is a sin, or (6) believe that they are not very religious people.7 In other words, many of our brothers and sisters have simply drifted away from the Church.
By taking up the call of the New Evangelization, we will do as St. Paul commands us: “Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you.”
Now is the perfect time to recommit yourself to trusting God with your future and bringing joy to others who may not have any joy in their life.