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October 11, 2012

The Year of Faith--Togethor Let us seek the Face of Christ!

Pope inaugurates Year of Faith 
and invites all to rediscover 
the Second Vatican Council!

The Opening Mass of Year of Faith

If today the Church proposes a new Year of Faith and a new evangelization, it is not to honour an anniversary, but because there is more need of it, even more than there was fifty years ago! And the reply to be given to this need is the one desired by the Popes, by the Council Fathers and contained in its documents. Even the initiative to create a Pontifical Council for the promotion of the new evangelization, which I thank for its special effort for the Year of Faith, is to be understood in this context. Recent decades have seen the advance of a spiritual "desertification". In the Council’s time it was already possible from a few tragic pages of history to know what a life or a world without God looked like, but now we see it every day around us. This void has spread. But it is in starting from the experience of this desert, from this void, that we can again discover the joy of believing, its vital importance for us, men and women. In the desert we rediscover the value of what is essential for living; thus in today’s world there are innumerable signs, often expressed implicitly or negatively, of the thirst for God, for the ultimate meaning of life. 

"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. It begins with baptism (cf. Rom 6:4), through which we can address God as Father, and it ends with the passage through death to eternal life, fruit of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, whose will it was, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, to draw those who believe in him into his own glory (cf. Jn 17:22). 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."  Porta Fidei,1

The Year of Faith and Vatican II

Benedict XVI, in Porta Fide also commented on the Year of Faith and the Second Vatican Council. "In some respects, my venerable predecessor saw this Year as a “consequence and a necessity of the post -conciliar period”  fully conscious of the grave difficulties of the time, especially with regard to the profession of the true faith and correct interpretation. It seemed to me that timing the launch of the Year of Faith to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council would provide a good opportunity to help people understand that the texts bequeathed by the Council Fathers, in the words of Blessed John Paul II, “have lost nothing of their value or brilliance. They need to be read correctly, to be widely known and taken to heart as important and normative texts of the Magisterium, within the Church's Tradition ... I feel more than ever in duty bound to point to the Council as the great grace bestowed on the Church in the twentieth century: there we find a sure compass by which to take our bearings in the century now beginning. I would also like to emphasize strongly what I had occasion to say concerning the Council a few months after my election as Successor of Peter:'if we interpret and implement it guided by a right hermeneutic, it can be and can become increasingly powerful for the ever necessary renewal of the Church.' " Porta Fidei,5
The Year of Faith
 Seeking the Face of Christ

Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
    be merciful to me and answer me.
 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
    Your face, Lord, I will seek. Psalm 27:7-8

Today is the first day of the Year of Faith, and also is the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. . . (Vatican II) and the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. During the Year of Faith, Catholics are asked to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church so that they may deepen their knowledge of the faith.

The Year of Faith is a year of Grace concept which is inspired and based upon the Apostolic Letter ‘Novo Millenio Ineunte’ by the late Blessed Pope John Paul II—recalling the events in Rome during the Jubilee Year of 2000 and his challenge to the whole Church to “contemplate the face of Christ” and to “start afresh” from Christ.

Benedict XVI in his Apostolic letter, Porta Fidei elaborates on this theme: "During this time we will need to keep our gaze fixed upon Jesus Christ, the “pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:2): in him, all the anguish and all the longing of the human heart finds fulfillment. The joy of love, the answer to the drama of suffering and pain, the power of forgiveness in the face of an offense received and the victory of life over the emptiness of death: all this finds fulfillment in the mystery of his Incarnation, in his becoming man, in his sharing our human weakness so as to transform it by the power of his resurrection. In him who died and rose again for our salvation, the examples of faith that have marked these two thousand years of our salvation history are brought into the fullness of light." Porta Fidei,13

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