|"IT IS THE LORD...."John 21 : 7|
The Holy Father reminds us that St. Paul highlights through the story of the conversion of Lydia, that to properly receive and assimilate the Word of God as it is preached and taught to us, we must first open our hearts to the Word and embrace the Truth. “The heart indicates that the first act by which one comes to faith is God's gift and the action of grace which acts and transforms the person deep within.......the heart, the authentic sacred space within the person, is opened by grace that allows the eyes to see below the surface and to understand, that what has been proclaimed, is the word of God."
Nowhere is this better demonstrated than at the first Pentecost. Immediately after the receiving of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles begin to preach to the masses and with great effect.
The Church is the essential realization of Faith. The Baptism of each individual builds up the Mystical Body of Christ which the Church is.
"Knowledge of faith opens a door into the fullness of the saving mystery revealed by God."
The Holy Father draws our attention to the vast numbers of people in modern society who, without any faith, are "searching" for some ultimate truth. This quest can lead them to the mystery of God, and finally to the fullness of revealed Truth. Their quest begins from an indelible summons written on the human heart, from, and leading to, the One who already sets out to meet us when we are sincere.
The CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH , that authentic fruit of the Second Vatican Council, is the ideal vehicle for conveying full and reasoned systematic knowledge of the Faith to which assent of the heart and mind, with God's grace, can be given. It was described by Blessed Pope John Paul II as making "a very important contribution to that work of renewing the whole life of the Church........a sure norm for teaching the Faith." Here, says Pope Benedict XVI, "...we see the wealth of teaching that the Church has received, safeguarded and proposed in her two thousand years of history. From Sacred Scripture to the Fathers of the Church, from theological masters to the saints across the centuries, the CATECHISM provides a permanent record of the many ways in which the Church has meditated on the Faith and made progress in doctrine, so as to offer certitude to believers, in their life of faith."
The CATECHISM he says provides a veritable encounter with the Person who lives within the Church. Beginning with the Creed the CATECHISM proceeds to examine and expound upon the Sacraments through which Jesus Christ is present, operates and continues to build His Church. The liturgy and sacraments give efficacy to the Creed and its profession. And the moral teaching of the CATECHISM is similarly given vitality by being placed in context with faith, liturgy and prayer, providing the fully developed Christian Life.
|THE ARMS OF CHRIST ARE OPENED TO WELCOME THE WORLD|
To facilitate the use of the CATECHISM during the YEAR OF FAITH the Holy Father has asked the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to prepare a document in co-operation with the other Curial Dicasteries providing Catholics, and thus the whole Church, some guidelines on how to live the Year of Faith most effectively and appropriately at the service of faith and evangelization.
Pope Benedict XVI notes the Church's ability and readiness to confront the spirit of the age with its great skepticism and selective preference to consider only quantifiable "science" at the expense of faith. Yet the Holy Father reminds us that there can be no conflict between Faith and Science because both pursue Truth, though by different routes.
HISTORY will , in the Holy FATHER's view, be of decisive importance in the Year of Faith. Understanding the two thousand year history of the Communion of Saints lived out in Christ's Church will provoke in each person a sincere and continuing work of conversion as we recall the lives of the saints, the failures of the sinners and experience the mercy of the Father held out to everyone.