Catholics Come Home

The New Evangelization

In response to the call for a New Evangelization by the late Pope John Paul II, a group put together an organization called Catholics Come Home. This group has produced many “evangomercials” to help spread the Good News. Here is one with Lou Holtz that is playing during the college football bowl week.

Coach Holtz from Catholics Come Home on Vimeo.

There Is No Time Like the Present

Believe and Have Faith

We are in the midst of a great gift that Pope Benedict has given -- A Year of Faith. To effectively receive this gift, it is important for us to ask ourselves an important question, “What is Faith?” Living in a culture that was predominately formed by Protestantism, Faith has taken on a certain character in the minds of many. Take that same culture and overlay secular humanism and what Faith is and ought to be is even more obscured.

For Protestants, Faith is central and the way of salvation -- Believe in Jesus and you will be saved. As Catholics, we certainly agree that Faith is necessary for Salvation. However, Protestants tend to reject works and other pious actions by the believer. From their very foundation, they labor under the yoke of relativism because their very origins were relativistic. Faith is the only thing that crosses all of the different strains of Protestantism. However, depending on the strain one finds a variety of views to Faith, which leaves Faith as a view one can choose -- pick the strain of Faith that matches your view and make that your form of Christianity. If you find after some time that the view does not match your own, search for another one.

Secular humanism, with its worldly dependance on scientific demonstration and operational skepticism, characterizes Faith as irrelevant and only for the weak and feeble. Because Faith claims cannot be verified, they are roundly rejected in favor of the measurable. Although they often speak of those who have Faith as people to be tolerated, they are mostly intolerant toward believers. As their worldview is now a dominant force in Western Culture, the impact of their approach has left many confused or disenchanted with regard to Faith. Even believers have not been immune to their skeptical ways.

As Catholics, we have a long Tradition and understanding of what Faith is. Despite the impact suffered in recent decades, the Church still promotes Faith as a critical aspect of human existence in which we come before the Unfathomable Mystery of God and are not crushed by it. When we refer to Faith, the Catechism of the Catholic Church has great detail about what we mean. First and foremost, in paragraph 150 the Catechism states, “Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God. At the same time, and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed. As personal adherence to God and assent to his truth, Christian faith differs from our faith in any human person. It is right and just to entrust oneself wholly to God and to believe absolutely what he says.” This statement is at the heart of why we have A Year of Faith. Throughout this year we are to be assenting to God and the Truth He reveals. Faith is what we give in return to God Who gives us Himself. Such cannot happen without the believer both praying and engaging in acts of charity and penance.

As we read further in the Catechism (166), “Faith is a personal act -- the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself.” Faith must first admit that we are more than the sum of our parts and certainly more than can be measured. We are not in the process of developing Truth but ordered to the Truth that already it. Faith begins and ends with Truth and is not relative in any way. As people of Faith we must not fall into the temptation of relativizing God or dismissing the fullness of our Faith because it does not fit with our own individual fallen experience. In this regard, we must remember that God created us and so we are responsible to do all for Him. As St. Cyril of Jerusalem reminds us, “Faith is rather like depositing in a bank the money entrusted to you, and God will surely demand an account of what you have deposited.” God has given us everything and all Truth -- what have we done with It and will we be able to give that accounting to God.

New Evangelization

Fr. Barron on the New Evangelization

While much has been said about the New Evangelization, leave it to Fr. Barron to put it in perspective. This video reminds us of the qualities we should be seeking for ourselves to make the New Evangelization successful.

Year of Faith

Faith and Prayer

We are reading a series in the Office of Readings from the letter of St. Augustine to Proba. In it, the great saint is giving a strong reminder to his good friend the need for prayer. To make his point, he uses the Our Father as the example of the perfect prayer. I could not help but connect these readings with the Year of Faith. For Faith to be real and effective, it must be rooted in a relationship with Christ. For that relationship to be nurtured, prayer must be understood as a daily spiritual need, like sleeping and eating to the body. Without Christ interwoven in our day, the day quickly slips into a weakened relationship with the source of our existence. A day without prayer is like a day without food -- we can keep going but we will be weak.

Today more than ever it seems that Catholics do not understand prayer and no longer perceive a need for it. So many people come to church to have idle conversations with neighbors. They come before the Lord of Heaven and Earth to focus attention on another human being, all the while ignoring God. Rather than directing their words to the Lord, they direct them to those around them. I truly believe this practice is the reason so many say to me they do not know how to pray or for what they should pray. Even when they do offer prayers, they conclude that God was not listening. The Year of Faith is to be an affirmation that not only does God listen but He also answers. The breakdown we must address during this Year is the fact that we are the ones not listening and responding -- we are the ones failing in prayer. His answers are given in such a way that originates from realizing it is not my will but His. This is the foundation of Faith and Prayer. We need to voice our prayers in the right context -- as St. Augustine notes, “We need to use words so that we may remind ourselves to consider carefully what we are asking, not so that we may think we can instruct the Lord or prevail on him.”

Prayer will certainly require us to use words and to form requests but the mistake made today is that many think the request is the prayer. Prayer does not truly begin until self-abandonment to the Divine Will takes place. In the Our Father we repeat often “Thy will be done!” Yet when many people form requests and say they are praying, they do not really do not act in such a way as to confirm they want God’s will to be done. It is more like, “God do my will because I know you agree with what I want.” And when it does not happen it must be because God was not listening. That is not prayer because it is built on Pride. The goal of prayer is Union with God but that Union comes from ascent by the one praying. All of the idle chatter and all of the constant avoiding people do while in church is subconsciously an avoidance of truly meaning, “Thy will be done!” If I stop for just a moment and truly communicate with God, if I truly get beyond the requests and enter into self-abandonment, only then is there room for God’s will to be done. Thus, this Year of Faith is a gift and encouragement for all believers to grow in relationship with God by saying, “Thy will be done!”

As the Year of Faith begins, the perfect model of One Who truly prays is the Blessed Mother. She is the One Who said, “Be it done to Me according to Thy Word.” May we always attach ourselves to Her and follow Her instruction to “do whatever He tells you.”