WE AND THE YEAR OF FAITH
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
The Year of Faith, announced by pope Benedict XVI, is coming to the end. It was a call referring to all members of the Church – clergy and secular believers. Many of us have reflected deeply on the importance of faith in our life, undertook particular resolutions and sacrifice, whereas priests were thinking on how to raise faith in the society effectively, among people interested in religion to various extent. There were also various meetings and symposia during which the issues connected with faith were discussed, and retreat preachers were pursuing spiritual practices, deepening the issue. There would surely be interesting to do a survey about how the Year of Faith contributed to the revival of religious life, prayer and appearing new ideas connected with evangelization of the world, and these investigations were undertaken. It is also interesting that the Year of Faith was marked in the work of catholic editorial teams or they somehow contributed to the development of a religious thought and religiousness of the society.
In ‘Niedziela’ we decided that the Year of Faith is an excellent occasion to talk about this issues and write articles devoted to faith. We are also glad with the fruits of the literary contest entitled ‘A letter in the Year of Faith – We are preaching the Gospel’, announced on the pages of our weekly. Let’s notice the book edited by the Library of “Niedziela’, entitled in the same way. Participants of the contest expressed their faith, religiousness, prayer and their emotional relation with God. Truly speaking, we expected more priests participating in this contest – in the Church , the form of a letter is quite a natural way of communicating with people (we know beautiful letters of St. Paul and other biblical authors , popes, bishops, Fathers of the Church, Christian philosophers always expressed their opinions in letters). Today priests are unwilling to do it. What a pity! Before the war, in Catholic newspapers, among the others, in our ‘Niedziela’ many priests expressed their opinions, also those working in parishes, who were willing to write about pastoral matters. Today’s priests seem to avoid it, although, undoubtedly, they could contribute to the growth of faith among people in this way. It is good that some of them are present especially on Internet.
The Year of Faith is still going on, and it is not finishing what we have to say about faith and pray for. So, we can undertake new initiatives used for the development of religious life. The most important of them is the prayer. It is the man who expressed his faith the most, when he prays, what’s more – he feeds his faith then, strengthens it and commemorates. And, now, we have a beautiful occasion for the rosary prayer, to mobilization of pastoral ministry of the rosary in parishes – and this is a valuable proposition, which we give to pastors and people engaged in the missionary or pastoral apostolate.
We strongly believe that many practices, whose aim is to strengthen faith and love to God and our neighbor, can be developed by observation of pope Francis’ activity. We can see now how the Church is getting stronger thanks to his faith and love to God, how many people want to tell him about their poverty and look for God’s support. Moreover, he is being tested with Christ’s words: ‘Do you love Me more than them?’ (see J. 21.15).
So, the Year of Faith is ending, but faith is not ending, it is not the end of time given to the man to live the faith and be Christ’s witness. It is not the end of Divine Grace which enables us to live faith, that is, implementing love towards God and our neighbor. So, let the last weeks before the end of the Year of Faith be an inspiration , so that our faith would be more and more beautiful and bring us closer to God. Let’s also ask Blessed Mother who has been the Patron of the Year of Faith, who is presiding over our faith all the time and to whom pope Francis is going to entrust the world through the Act of Entrusting it to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 13 October this year, to make the prayer ignite a living light in the hearts of millions of people and help people open up to God’s plan towards the world and the man.
In the end, I will quote the meaningful words of pope Francis, from the encyclical ‘Lumen fidei’ (n.22): ‘Faith is not a private matter or an individualistic notion, subjective opinion, but it is born from listening and its purpose is to express one’s opinion, proclaim the Gospel. “How could they believe in Him whom they had not heard? How could they hear Him, when nobody had preached the Gospel about Him?” (the Genesis 10.14). Let this message of faith be our inner commitment.