“The Open Door of Faith.” (Part I)
‘Review of Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei – Door of Faith’
Richard L. Lane, Catholic Evangelist
Yup, it's been almost TWO YEARS since I have Blogged. I know, and I am sorry. So much has transpired in the past two years and I thank God so very much for ALL the Blessings He has provided everyday. I PROMISE I will do better in the future, so here it goes.
Our Holy Father wrote an Apostolic Letter last year entitled Porta Fidei - "Door of Faith" which celebrates the new "Year of Faith" which opens for Catholic's around the world on October 11, 2012. The below article is Part I of a two Part Article which outlines or highlights part of this incredible document. Enjoy and please feel free to share.
|Forward is more important than what's behind!|
Have you ever wondered why the rear view mirror site picture is much smaller for the driver than the front view? What is in your PAST is not as important as what is AHEAD of you! If I have heard it once I have heard it a MILLION times; “I wish we could go back to the ‘good ol’ days’; why do we have to keep changin’ things up; I like it how things used to be.”
Since 2005, I have been blessed to travel the United States, preaching Parish Missions as well as Revivals North, South, East and West. When I do these I get a lot of prayer requests. While preaching a Lenten Revival in 2012, there were about 1,500 people in attendance. We had prayer lines for people to come forward for intercessory prayer. Do you know what almost 80% of all the requests were for? Healing of ailments? No. Cure for painful issues or circumstances? Nope. Relief from financial burdens, a job, a new job? NOPE! 80% of the requests were “for my children to come back to the Catholic Church; for my Grandkids to come into the Catholic Church.”
People are leaving the Church because of a myriad of different reasons, but most, the changes that have occurred as well as those changes that have not been embraced by the Church. The question I beg of you is this; “What is FAITH” in your PERSONAL experience; your daily PERSONAL life? How to you LIVE it, SHOW it and GIVE your Faith to others, not just weekly at the Parish, in your ministry (you have done for 30+ years and know you need to step down from and get some NEW blood in), lector; choir director; Eucharistic Minister; Knights & Ladies of Peter Claver?
The “Year of Faith”, October 11, 2012 through November 24, 2013, has been given to us by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI which give us an excellent view of why we should embrace this special year.
“This year will be a propitious occasion for the faithful to understand more profoundly that the foundation of Christian Faith is the ‘encounter with an event, and/or a person, which gives life a NEW horizon and a decisive direction” says Pope Benedict XVI in his Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei, “Door of Faith.” Let me try to exegete (break open), if you will, part of this beautiful document.
|God's Door is ALWAYS Open... He is waiting for YOU!|
Faith is an ‘Open Door’ (Acts 14:27), a bridge if you will, from where you are now, to where God wants you to be. God is always trying to do something NEW in our lives, but yet we allow ourselves to be weighed down by our past, what we ‘used’ to do; what things ‘used’ to be like. I always love to preach this; “Only with GOD, your future is brighter than your past!” Yet are we truly living out our Faith in our Daily lives; are WE being that encounter for someone else; are WE being that event (in our Celebration of the Mass or outside) where someone else is ENCOUNTERING God in a NEW way, to give their life a NEW horizon; NEW meaning; and a NEW direction? This is AUTHENTIC ministry; this is how we bring people HOME to the Church; this is the ESSENCE of the ‘New Evangelization’.
The Holy Father continues,“In our days... faith is a gift to rediscover, to cultivate and to bear witness to...” He is trying to get us to rediscover the beauty of WHAT we (as Catholic’s) believe and WHY we believe it. For instance, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC, para 26 defines faith in this manner; “Faith is man’s [our] response to God, who reveals himself and gives himself [God] to man, at the same time, bringing a superabundant light, as he [man] searches for meaning in his life.”
How are we RESPONDING to GOD (in our Faith) DAILY? What MORE are we doing for our PERSONAL relationship with God? Are we receiving the Sacraments frequently; weekly Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; just spending time with God? Are we spending MORE time watching TV, doing frivolous things rather than spending it with “the source and summit of our existence...” (Lumen Gentium)
If God reveals Himself to us as a Superabundant Light, then our job (daily... not just on Sunday’s) is to be that SUPERABUNDANT LIGHT in this world that is continually filled with darkness. Your Faith is a LIGHT that purifies and illuminates the world; “Beginning with ‘the light of Christ, which purifies, illuminates, and sanctifies in the celebration of the sacred liturgy and with His Divine Word’ (Dei Verbum), ... [we] elaborate on the intimate nature of the Church and [Her] relationship with the contemporary world.” ~ Pope Benedict XVI “Porta Fidei”.
The title of this awesome document is “Porta Fidei” or “Door of Faith”. St. Paul in many references in his letters uses “open door” as play on words, for us to realize that God’s Door is ALWAYS open to us, in our lives. “Behold I have left for you an Open Door...” (Revelation 3:8). But many of us are afraid of change; afraid to embrace what is VISIBLE and INVISIBLE in front of us. Our Holy Father is calling for us to embrace what we have; WE are called to be that encounter for others; WE are called to be the ‘door of faith’ that is open and illuminating the SUPERABUNDANT light of Christ, but brothers and sisters, that calls for CHANGE and RENEWAL. “We are called to be credible and joyful witnesses...” to the Light of Christ.
We are called to go out into the world and be that LIGHT; to ‘enkindle the flame’ (2 Timothy 1:6) as St. Paul tells us, the FIRE that was given to us through the imposition of hands we (as Confirmed Catholics) have all received. People left the Church because the fire went out in US.... once we get it back then we would realize the NEED and TRUE commitment to evangelize others. “Today… there is a need for stronger ecclesial commitment to New Evangelization in order to rediscover the joy of believing and the enthusiasm for communicating the faith.” (Porta Fidei).
|"Set the World Ablaze with the Love of Christ!"|
One of the things I love to do is to preach; Parish Missions as well as Revivals, because that is an opportunity for me to GIVE what I have received, the LIGHT that Christ has given me, to GIVE the JOY that I have discovered, to others. To take MY enthusiasm for the LOVE of God, and HIS One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, to others and set THEM ON FIRE! After all, “If you are who you are supposed to be, you will set the world ablaze!” ~ St. Catherine of Sienna
Take the time to read this beautiful document; take the time to REDISCOVER what we truly live out; and most importantly, take the time to SHARE YOUR Personal Faith with someone else. Remember, “Your Faith is the Bridge from where you are, to where God wants you to be!” Walk through God’s Open Door… He is waiting.
Part II of this article coming soon. God Love you and always.... “KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON!”
Catholic Evangelist Richard Lane
|Evangelist Richard Lane|
Mr. Lane has just completed a four-hour set of talks (Parish Mission / Lecture Style) on this particular document to help YOUR parish prepare for the “Year of Faith”. For more information or to book Evangelist Lane to come to YOUR Parish and conduct this workshop, please contact him directly at Richard@Qorban.net