…pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith
(1 Timothy 6:11,12).
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Through the Sacrament of Baptism, God calls us as His own and we accept the call to bring Him forth within our daily living. Simply, we are called to share our faith with one another. Sharing our faith means that we know what we believe, so that we are able to live as God calls us to live; within the light of His grace. Imagine a world where all the baptized Catholics earnestly pursued God’s call? Indeed, what a wonderful world it would be!
Just as we are formed by our parents or guardians who are first to bring God’s love to us, so we need each other to guide us that we might compete well for the faith. If you or your children are participating in a Catholic school, then you have faculty and staff who are trained specifically to help you know what you believe and grow in your faith. These men, women, clergy and religious teach about all areas of the world as seen through the eyes of God.
Even more do not participate in a Catholic school and attend public school. We are grateful to the public school system which also provides for the education of our young people. These young people also thirst for greater knowledge about God. Catechetical leaders throughout the diocese are trained to provide faith formation classes to children of all ages as they prepare for the Sacraments of Holy Communion or Confirmation and to grow as Catholics that they have the eyes to see and ears to hear what God has ready for those who love Him. Many of these catechetical leaders are volunteers and have taken their role as baptized Catholics to share their faith with all whom they encounter, particularly those whom they purposefully encounter within a classroom setting.
And still, there are other ministers who assist our adults as they grow in their faith for knowledge about our faith does not happen within a period of eight years or 12, but throughout our lifetime. This is an essential understanding of our call through the Sacrament of Baptism. Our faith can only excel if we continue to nurture it through our entire lifetime. For me, my knowledge continues to grow as I prayerfully study papal documents or participate in lectures or study Scripture. My knowledge also grows as I encounter each one of you, for you are my teachers as I am yours.
Yes, the responsibility is awesome and can seem overwhelming. Yet, our Holy Church provides us with many opportunities to know who we are. We can begin with reading and studying Scripture or the Catechism of the Catholic Church or learn of God’s beauty through the many papal documents. We can pray, individually and as a family within our homes and in public.
We can partake of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote in Sacramentum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity):
The Holy Eucharist is the gift that Jesus Christ makes of himself, thus revealing to us God’s infinite love for every man and woman. This wondrous Sacrament makes manifest that “greater” love which led him to “lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13). What wonder must the Eucharistic mystery also awaken in our own hearts!
God is love. What is our call? To bring that love to each other!
On Sunday, September 18, we raised our voices of acclaim and thanksgiving to God for all those who choose the ministry to form us in our faith. Enlightened by God’s Word and the teaching of the Church, catechists help form the faith of all those entrusted to their care. They are stewards of God’s gifts and profess an active part in bringing God’s love to each person. By their leadership may we also nurture each other to pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. May we compete well for the faith.