Today, with The Holy Shepherd as our guide, we begin as a Church the Year of Faith. It begins on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and also marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a text promulgated by Blessed John Paul II. As I prepare to start out this year of Faith I can't help but think of the example of two very holy women...
St. Therese, the little flower, whose feast day we celebrated last week is a constant reminder of faith. She expressed her "little way" with great love and since has spread that way in a quiet boldness throughout this world and I'm sure onto the next. Her great faith was very hidden and holy, relying only on Jesus and with great humility drew close to his merciful Heart. She came to Jesus as a little child with great faith, just as He asked us all to come to him.
But Jesus called the children to him and said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. In truth I tell you, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. -Luke 18:16-17
By faith, Mary accepted the Angel’s word and believed the message that she was to become the Mother of God in the obedience of her devotion (cf. Lk 1:38). Visiting Elizabeth, she raised her hymn of praise to the Most High for the marvels he worked in those who trust him (cf. Lk 1:46-55). With joy and trepidation she gave birth to her only son, keeping her virginity intact (cf. Lk 2:6-7). Trusting in Joseph, her husband, she took Jesus to Egypt to save him from Herod’s persecution (cf. Mt 2:13-15). With the same faith, she followed the Lord in his preaching and remained with him all the way to Golgotha (cf. Jn 19:25-27). By faith, Mary tasted the fruits of Jesus’ resurrection, and treasuring every memory in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19, 51), she passed them on to the Twelve assembled with her in the Upper Room to receive the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14; 2:1-4).I invite us all in this Year of Faith to strive for a greater sense of faith and holiness. Pick up the Catechism of the Catholic Church and read the treasure within. Take time to read and meditate upon the Gospels. Attend The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and Adoration when possible. Recite the Creed often and let it always be silently on our lips. God will faithfully do His part if we only do ours. With these amazing resources and unfailing faith we can transform the culture and show that real women, relying solely on Christ, can set the world ablaze!