Tag Archives: Porta Fidei

Needed: Mature Christians today

Peter Preaching Lorenzo VenezianoThe New Testament is replete with references to believers being mature in their faith, in their manner of being a follower of Jesus Christ, of standing up and taking responsibility in the Church. Saint Paul speaks the people of Corinth in a direct way that helps us to see his view of being a mature Christian who takes adult faith formation seriously: “I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able,” (1 Cor. 3:2).

Through the decades the popes of have taught similarly. One example is Benedict XVI who exhorted priests to not be satisfied with “a childhood of faith”, meaning that many Catholics have yet to mature in their knowledge and practice of the faith. It seems as though we, in this most educated of centuries (at least in the first world) have yet to get past first level of discipleship. The pope observes that a lot of Christians “cannot — as adults, with competence and conviction — explain and elucidate the philosophy of the faith, its great wisdom and rationality” in order to illuminate the minds of others. To do this they need an “adult faith” and to see the bigger picture of a vigorous faith and a faith that works in mature ways that put what one believes into concrete action. It seems to me that we need a closer coherence between what we say we believe, how we worship and how we live. On many occasions Benedict has spoken thus to the Church through the bishops, priests and laity to be concerned with faith formation.

The current pope is echoing what his predecessors have said in spades, namely, Christians: grow up! You can see some of what the bishop of Rome is aiming at in his recent Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium) numbers 160-175. Mature Christians is means that the Christian responds fully to the Lord’s call to discipleship.

What is needed is an educated heart and mind. Our work is nothing more and nothing less than being educated to Christian maturity. In a very real sense that is what the Church is about, this is what the ecclesial movements of Communion and Liberation, Opus Dei and Focolare are about. Personal holiness, a reasonable expression of faith, and a enlivened response to human need is what defines the real Christian person. But don’t fret. We are in-process of becoming, real Christian living means recognizes that we all are on a journey to wholeness and holiness. Here the lens of faith informs and shapes life whereby our happiness in this life and in the next is realized.  Porta Fidei (the Apostolic Letter opening the Year of Faith by Benedict XVI)  has this line that I think each of us needs to recall: “Through faith, this new life shapes the whole of human existence according to the radical new reality of the resurrection. … ‘Faith working through love’ becomes a new criterion of understanding and action that changes the whole of man’s life.” What the Pope is getting at is that we take adult faith formation with a degree of purpose. Hence, as Christians we have the modalities of a community of faith, the priest, and spiritual direction to help us walk the path given to us by the Lord. Each of these experiences will help us to recognize the contours of sin and grace: they  keep reality alive.

The heart of the Gospel and the teachings of the Church is repentance and conversion. Conversion to what? Rather, it is not a what, but who. To convert means that we turn our lives over to Jesus Christ in a radical way: no reservations, no “ifs, ands or buts.” Our past is the past and it is redeemed, that is, our misdeeds and moral incompetencies are brought into the inner life of the Trinity (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) being made right. The Christian believes that it is the Trinity who renders judgement and mercy.

And here is the Good News: the offer of salvation made by God is crucial to the aim of belief and everything in the event of Christian proposal seeks to make this known. Good News “is the message capable of responding to the desire fro the infinite which abides in the human heart” (no. 165).

What I’ve quoted here before and what is renewed again: good catechesis needs good witnesses. How well does one “walk humbly with God.” Pope Paul VI said we need more witnesses than teachers of the faith. The “good witness” is the person who takes his or her faith seriously, who lives knowing that he or she is loved and redeemed by God. The saint, that is, the real Christian is not perfect perfect but the redeemed sinner.

Fr Pacwa on The Eucharist for the Year of Faith

In this Year of Faith there are some new books that have arrived and that are coming out to help all of us discover anew the the beauty of the Christian Faith. No one can ever say that they know it all, or, have heard it all before, and at the same maintain credibility in knowing the Truth. It’s not possible.

Pacwa The Eucharist.jpg

Father Mitch Pacwa, SJ, theologian and EWTN host, is in the middle of a publishing campaign to help us respond with confidence to the proposals of the Year of Faith.
Father Pacwa is a Chicago native who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Detroit, a Masters from the Jesuit School of Theology (Chicago) before being ordained a priest in 1976. He also earned a PhD from Vanderbilt in Old Testament studies which included learning 12 languages. Father Pacwa offers the Mass in both the Latin and Maronite Churches. He is the president of Ignatius Productions.
On 23 January, The Eucharist: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics will be released to the public. Order now.
The Eucharist is published in order to draw connections between the Holy Eucharist and the Bible. The author looks at Old Testament types of the Eucharist, shows the centrality of the Eucharist in Christian life, what Eucharistic Presence means to call Jesus the Lamb of God, the meaning of sacrifice as applied to the Sacrifice of the Mass and more.

Read more ...

Julián Carrón speaks st the Synod on the New Evangelization

JCarron Synod.jpg

Those who hold the rank of Ordinary members of the Synod Bishops are able to make a public contribution at the Synod. On Saturday, October 13, 2012, the President of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, Father Julián Carrón, made his presentation to the assembled Synod members, and the Pope. Pay close attention to exactly what Father Carrón said,

We can no longer “think of the faith as a self-evident presupposition for life in society”. In fact, “not only can this presupposition no longer be taken for granted, but it is often openly denied” (Porta Fidei, 2).

While reading the Instrumentum laboris (142), I was shocked by this observation: “a concern on the scarcity of initial proclamation taking place everyday”. All the efforts made until today are having trouble generating newness of life that will arouse curiosity on how the baptized live. How can the fracture between faith and life be overcome, a fracture that makes it harder for faith to be found in a reasonable way, and therefore, attractive? Without rediscovering and welcoming the precious gift that is faith, new evangelization risks being diminished to being a question for experts.

To incite this interest, we have an ally in the heart of man from any culture and condition. We know that the heart of man is made for the infinite. Awaiting its achievement remains in him. Because there is “no false infinite that can satisfy him”. “What, then, will anyone gain by winning the whole world and forfeiting his life?” (Mt 16:26).

A doctrine, a group of rules, an organization cannot answer this expectation, only an event. As Fr. Giussani said during the 1987 Synod, “What is lacking is not as much the verbal or cultural repetition of the proclamation. Today’s man perhaps awaits subconsciously the experience of the encounter with persons for whom the fact of Christ is such a present reality that it has changed their lives“. A place where everyone is invited to verify what the first verified on the banks of the river Jordan: “Come and see”, because “a faith that cannot be evidentiated and found in present experience, confirmed by it, that is not useful in answering its needs, will not be a faith capable of resisting in a world where everything, absolutely everything, says the opposite”.

The Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

Holy-Trinity-Peredea.jpgIn the Sacraments of Initiation, God invites us to
share in the life of the Most Blessed Trinity: we become recreated in the image
of Jesus Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, and adopted as sons and daughters
of the Father.

In Pope Benedict’s Porta Fidei, the Letter opening the Year of
Faith later in 2012, wrote: To profess faith in the Trinity – Father, Son and
Holy Spirit – is to believe in one God who is Love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8): the Father,
who in the fullness of time sent his Son for our salvation; Jesus Christ, who
in the mystery of his death and resurrection redeemed the world; the Holy
Spirit, who leads the Church across the centuries as we await the Lord’s
glorious return.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
coat of arms



Humanities Blog Directory