In my experience, few Catholics read the letters written by our Popes. I myself am new to the reading Church documents unless assigned as part of classes I was taking or teaching. I would like to see more people reading the words of our Holy Fathers, both past and present.
Since I am responsible for our adult programming where I work, we are going to start this year reading, most appropriately, “The Year of Faith.”
I have put together some questions to guide the reading of the letter. The answers are below the questions for ease in copying just the questions if you want to use them for a small group.
- What are a few of the reasons Pope Benedict has decided to announce a Year of Faith?
- What historic events in the Church are commemorated this year?
- What does Pope Benedict ask us to do during this Year of Faith?
- Does faith require our free cooperation?
- Why is the Creed such an important part of our faith?
- In Sec 9 St. Augustine is quoted; what does this quote remind you of?
- Is belief a private or public act?
- How does faith grow?
- What does faith need to bear fruit?
- What personal steps can you take to profess, celebrate and witness during this Year of Faith?
These are possible answers, not the last word.
- Pope Benedict has spoken often since the beginning of his pontificate “on the need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ” (sec 2). It also coincides with the Bishops’ Synod “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith” and the pope’s desire that the faith of all the faithful be reinvigorated.
- The fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican II; the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
- We are asked to study the Catechism; Vatican II documents; the Creed; learn the history of our faith; participate in works of charity.
- There are many examples in the letter which point to our free cooperation being necessary. A few include: sec 1 “…the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace.”; sec 6 ¶2“To the extent that he freely cooperates, man’s thoughts and affections, mentality and conduct are slowly purified and transformed, on a journey that is never completed finished in this life.”; sec 10¶1 “…there exists a profound unity between the act by which we believe and the content to which we give our assent.”
- The Creed is a public, community profession of all we believe and hold as truth. It is a synopsis of our beliefs.
- The Great Commandment, “Hear, O Israel” from Deut 6:4-9.
- Belief is a public act, sec 10 ¶3.
- Faith grows through knowledge, prayer, sacraments and action. See also sec 7 ¶2.
- “Faith without charity bears no fruit, while charity without faith would be a sentiment constantly at the mercy of doubt” (Sec 14 ¶2).
- Answers will vary.
Copyright © 2012, Deanna Bartalini
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