The Catholic Faith
Catholics are Christians. They believe that Jesus Christ lived, died and rose from the dead that we might be fully human. Being Catholic means different things to different people. Even amongst those who name themselves Catholic. This is because the rich tradition of the Catholic faith provides something for all people. For Catholics being Catholic is how they experience God in the world and follow Jesus.
What is Faith?
Books and books have been written about faith. Simply put faith is belief in God. This is both a gift and a response. God gifts us with an invitation to believe and we are free to choose our response, to accept or reject this invitation. It is impossible to say that we believe in God and leave it there. Every dimension of life is affected by our belief in God. As Christians we are missioned to live our faith; claiming it, naming and sharing it with others. Faith is not static because we can never fully understand God.
A popular book by Kenneth Stokes Faith is A Verb (1989) encourages readers to appreciate that growing in faith is a life-long process. The title is also a reminder that the gift of faith is not something static. It’s more than something we are given which we thank God we have, then leave on the shelf to gather dust. Faith is active it is missionary. At the conclusion of Mass having been fed by the Eucharist we are dismissed with words such as, “Go forth, the Mass is ended” or “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord”. In colloquial terms we are being challenged “Don’t stand around! As a community we have shared the Word and Eucharist and this means you are ready. Go out and serve others”. “Go forth in mission”.
In our busy lives it is easy to justify not bothering with others. As we rush from home to work and back again our instant age makes it easy to juggle numerous things. Many of us are gadget rich and time poor. Still others of us do not have a lot of money to share. We’re just scraping by with school donations, increased costs of living and more demands on our time. And at other times it all seems overwhelming and it’s easy to think what can I do?
As it happens we can do quite a lot. Simple non-expensive actions can have a big impact.
- We may not be able to find accommodation nor afford to feed the homeless person on the street but we can smile and say hello to them rather than dip our eyes and avoid them. We can reverence their human dignity.
- Similarly we can spend time and befriend the person at Church, work or school who is on the edge, a little different and a bit lonely.
- We can share the world’s resources more equitably by making the effort to ensure we use the recycling systems in our communities fully. We can also choose to buy FairTrade goods.
- .......and so much more.
Further, we are a community of disciples. Together we can change hearts and minds.