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Keeping Faith Alive – Part 1

With the Apostolic Letter of October 11, 2011, “Porta Fidei”, Pope Benedict XVI declared a Year of Faith. The year began on October 11, 2012, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and 20th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and ends on November 24, 2013, the feast of Christ the King. This sacred and special time will provide us opportunities to celebrate, understand, deepen and share the spiritual richness of our Catholic faith and our Judeo-Christian spiritual tradition.

The opening words of the Apostolic letter say, “The “door of faith” (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church. It is possible to cross that threshold when the Word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace. To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime.”

The “Year of Faith” is a wonderful opportunity for us to experience a conversion of life, to rediscover the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus, to turn to Jesus again and develop a deeper relationship with him and to others from that relationship, to deepen our understanding and appreciation of the Eucharist and to grow as a praying, worshiping and serving community. It is a time to let our faith come more fully alive. We definitely have to make our faith and our hope and our love more real for us and for the world around us.

We now begin a series of meditations on letting our faith come more fully alive and making our faith and our hope and our love more real for us and for the world around us.

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.

Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Sit still…..Relax…….Do not rush………

Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……

Now from the depth of your heart begin to wish your mind well……….

Take a moment. Bless your day. Let your day Bless you……Take another moment. Bless your world. Let your world bless you……

Every day that we wake up is a good day. Every breath that we take is filled with hope for a better day. Every word that we speak is a chance to change what is bad into something good…….Now from the depth of heart, wish your mind well……

Now I invite you to consecrate this day and all that come with this day….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

I pray for you and I pray for all, who, at this moment, are receiving the gift of this new day! May God bless you and keep you safe in the center of His Love!

I invite you to pray for each other and for all, who, at this moment, are receiving the gift of this new day!

The “Year of Faith” is a wonderful opportunity for us to experience a conversion of life. This meditation is on conversion as an ongoing process, a way of life, a journey of faith, a continuing experience of forgiveness and grace.

The Prophet Joel says, “Even now, say the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting
and mourning” (Joel 2:12-18). Joel proclaims an urgency for repentance, conversion, a real turn toward God and God’s ways. It is time to sanctify the whole community, he says.

Paul urged (begged) the Corinthians, “We implore you, in Christ’s name: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2).

When Jesus began his ministry, His first message was the call to “Repent and believe: the Kingdom of God is near.” Jesus proclaimed the necessity of repentance, change of heart and faithfulness to the Gospel values.

Joel, Paul and Jesus proclaimed urgency for conversion, change of heart and the transformation of life for all. Just imagine what would happen to us if we did feel this urgency! Urgency has a way of moving us to do what needs to be done now and not wait for the next day or for an auspicious time. We tend to put things off for another moment, another day…tomorrow is the word!

The call to conversion is not about changing religion or denomination of religious and church. Conversion means radical change – change of mind and heart, change of values, change of relationships, change of attitudes – change of the way we live.

Those of us, who have followed Christ for a long time, often do not recognize this need for conversion. We are already in Christ, we are Christians, we are Catholics and we are already a people of faith. This is the way the Jews felt when John the Baptist came and when Jesus began proclaiming the Kingdom of God.

Each of us needs to reflect on where, in our life, conversion is needed. It may just be a conversion of an attitude that we have toward a person or a whole group of people, or toward a culture, or toward a particular religion. It may be a conversion of our behavior patterns. It may be a conversion of the way we see God, Church, people, the world, our future, etc. It could very well be a conversion of the way we have been interpreting our past or future or the way we have been judging or treating others.

Take a few quite moments and reflect on where you need conversion and what you will do to bring about a conversion in your personal life during this year of faith!
The call to conversion is a call to……..

• Find your way back to God
• Make room for God
• Let go off those things that hold you back and hold you down.
• Face your sinfulness, struggle if you have to, and transform your lives.
• Look into your hearts, search your hearts and discover the need for purification.
• Be prepared to let go off some part of your comfortable self.
• Proclaim a fast
• Pray constantly – have a prayer in your heart.
• Give to the poor and the needy – almsgiving is a sign of gratitude
• Free your self from distractions.
• Create silence and listen to your heart, listen to others, listen to God

Take a few moments and pray….

The psalmist reflects (Psalm 15): Yahweh, who has the right to enter your tent or to live on your holy mountain? And he finds his own answer…..

Those whose way of life is blameless,
who always do what is right,
who speak the truth from their heart,

whose tongue is not used for slander,
who do no wrong to friends,
cast no discredit on neighbors,

who look with contempt on the reprobate,
but honor those who fear you,
who stand by a pledge at all cost,

The Psalmist prayed (Psalm 51): Create in me a clean heart, Oh God….

Do not drive me from your presence,
Nor take from me your Holy Spirit.
Restore my joy in your salvation;
Sustain in me a willing spirit. …………..

Keep praying: Sustain in me a willing spirit

May the “Year of Faith” be God’s wonderful gift to you and I pray that you will make it a gracious and joyful gift to others.

Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs