The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops explains that the Year of Faith is an opportunity for every Catholic to turn towards Jesus Christ and to encounter him in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and to rediscover the Faith and Church. The USCCB is calling us to experience Jesus Christ in the Sacraments of His Church as a source of our renewal in the faith.
Now, why would the USCCB and the Holy Father call us into the “Year of Faith”, a year of frequenting Christ in the Sacraments? This is what we already strive for all the time, right?
But it seems that the Holy Father is inviting us to go deeper, to make a conscious and determined effort to take our faith to another level. As he writes in his Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei meaning “Door of Faith”, “We must rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the word of God, faithfully handed down by the Church, and on the bread of life, offered as sustenance for his disciples (Jn 6:51). Indeed, the teaching of Jesus still resounds in our day with the same power.” The call to embrace the Year of Faith is really a call to rediscover that ‘fire’ for the the Church, Sacred Scripture (the Catholic Bible) and the Bread of Life (Jesus in the Eucharist).
How do we as fathers live out this calling? Well, there are many answers to this question. First, we must ensure that we are turning our lives toward Christ and are faithfully living out our vocation as husbands and fathers. We must also make a serious and determined effort to strengthen our personal faith this year. As fathers we can embrace this in ways such as bringing our children to daily Mass once a week – dual benefit! Or even make sure we are going to Mass every Sunday with the family, if daily Mass isn’t an option. I would also urge you to consider reading the Gospels from the Catholic Bible every day with your family. Perhaps you can just read a few verses before dinner, or even at bedtime with the family every night. It’s easy to follow along with the daily Mass readings from the Catholic Bible available at the USCCB website.
At the end of the day, during this Year of Faith we, as fathers and husbands, are called to delve into a deeper relationship with Jesus, our Savior and Lord, however we can. As fathers we are called to encourage each of our family members to develop that deeper relationship as well. Fathers must challenge and facilitate their families to fully embrace Christ and to follow the Holy Father’s lead in this special Year of Faith.
I strongly encourage you to develop some new habits with your family in order to live out the calling of the Year of Faith. Be creative and discuss your ideas with your family, and maybe they will have some ideas of their own. What plans do you have for the Year of Faith with your family? What works for you and your family in developing a deeper relationship with the Lord?