This Sunday evening will mark the official conclusion of our Family of Faith catechesis program. As you hopefully know by now, this program is not just about the few families who have children in the program. It is meant to include the entire parish. This is why we have done our best to keep the topics for the program in front of you, especially in our weekly bulletin. As we come to the conclusion of this year, I would like to revisit a point that I offered at the beginning of this year of formation regarding the moral life in Christ:
Do we truly appreciate that what Christ (and by extension the Church) teaches us and asks of us is actually a true path to freedom and joy? We will only come to that understanding if we start with the person of Christ and our relationship with Him, hearing His words addressed to us that summarize His desire for us in offering us His teaching: “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) Do you desire this for your life, to have life and have it more abundantly? I guarantee the answer for each of us is a resounding “yes”! So what do we have to lose in following the way of life Christ and the Church invites us to live? I hope you will come to discover, over the course of this year, that we have absolutely nothing good to lose. Rather, by letting the life of Christ be lived in us, we have everything to gain, most importantly eternal life in Heaven.
In light of this goal that we had for this year, it can be fruitful to bring these points to our prayer. How have you experienced a more abundant life in Christ through what you have learned over the past year? Do you feel a greater sense of freedom that comes from following Christ more completely? Where are you still feeling a lack of freedom in your life? Where have you found joy over the past year, especially with regards to your faith? Where have you experienced sadness?
These are just some suggestions to help you in processing this last year, but I want to stress that this processing is not just a private, individual exercise. Share your thoughts, feelings, questions, desires, and struggles with the Lord in a very honest and authentic dialog. As I mentioned, living the life of Christ is first and foremost about our relationship with Him, so I invite you to spend some time with Him as you consider these things.
Another very beneficial practice could be to share with another person or two, perhaps your family, some of what is moving in your heart as you consider how the Lord has been working in your life this past year. While somewhat intimidating if you are not used to sharing on this level, the benefits can be profound, not just for yourself, but for others who will be inspired by your willingness to share on a deeper level.
If you are not where you had hoped to be at this point in your journey with the Lord, do not be discouraged! The Lord is looking upon you with great delight that you at least desire to love Him more and follow Him more faithfully, weak though you may be. Ask Him to help you to continue to grow. Go to our Blessed Mother too, asking for her continued encouragement and prayers. Just as it delights a parent to be asked by their child to help them with something, so too does our Heavenly Father and our Blessed Mother delight in us when we ask for their help in a spirit of trust and love.