Today begins what Pope Benedict declared a "Year of Faith." In this year, the Pope hopes to "usher in a time of rediscovery" of our Catholic Faith.
The Pope's Apostolic Letter, Porta Fidei, outlines this year, and the reasons behind it. You may read it at this link: Porta Fidei
Several Diocese in the United States have set up programs to help Catholics participate in the year. My Bishop, for example, held an Evening Prayer at the cathedral last night to start off. You can contact your local diocesan office and pick up an information packet. Fr. Mitch Pacwa has a book out to assist the individual with a Bible Study organized to use throughout the year. You can find it here: Year of Faith Bible Study There are several web resources, as well as many Catholic forums and blogs that will promote activities to deepen the Faith. The Pope also suggests reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church as well as the documents of Vatican II as tools for study during this year.
Of course, individuals can decide for themselves what they wish to do in order to take part. I decided to wake up an hour early and take that hour to pray. Prayer is instrumental in our relationship with God, and one cannot live out their Faith without that relationship. My meditation this morning was an essay on prayer by St. Claude de Colombiere. In it he writes:"[Prayer] is the only means of purifying us, of uniting us to God, and of allowing God to unite Himself to us and be glorified in us." So many of us may find prayer tedious, and boring at times. We may even go through periods of "dryness" in prayer, and feel we cannot do it. St. Claude says of that, "When we are distracted during prayer and find the time long because of our impatience to pass on to something else, it is good to say to yourself: 'My soul, are you tired of your God? Are you not satisfied with him? You possess him and do you seek for something else? Where can you be better than in his company? Where can you profit more?' I have experienced that this calms the mind and unites it with God."
I will pray for you as you begin this endeavor. Please pray for me!