As I visit the School or celebrate the School Mass on Wednesdays, I engage our children in discussion about matters of Faith and about what is going on in their lives. I am always amazed and delighted at the way they see connections between things. Their questions are also very revealing. Encountering children in this way has been part of my own priestly ministry since my first assignment at St. Mary’s in
in 1985. During my years in Lancaster , I also taught at Lancaster . Fisher Catholic High School
Through the years, as I have visited with children to talk about the Faith, I have noticed several things. First, our children are asking the “deeper questions” earlier and earlier. What used to be asked at the College level moved to High School, and High School age questions are being asked in middle school and even earlier. Second, families are far busier outside the home than ever before. Religious practice has often been relegated to a secondary place in family life, both at church (Sunday Mass) and at home (religious devotions shared between parents and children). What this means is that the questions children ask at School or in the PSR classroom about Faith may receive an answer in class, but get little reinforcement at home. This situation calls for an intentional change in our Catholic family culture in order to ensure that the next generation learns the Faith.
The Solemnity we celebrate today, the Ascension of the Lord (moved in our region from Thursday to Sunday in order to allow a greater number of the faithful to experience the liturgical celebration of this Mystery), speaks to the need to make the connection between our culture and our Faith. The Ascension tells us that Jesus is always able to be present among us in a real but invisible way because He has taken our human nature into the very Life of God. His Divinity entered our humanity in the Incarnation.
Our humanity entered into Divinity through the Ascension. The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit that takes place on Pentecost is made possible by the “stretching” of our human nature to encompass Divine Life. What God has done in Jesus Christ is to take our earthly reality into the Divine Reality of the Life of the Trinity. So, our family life is meant to be lived in the awareness of our eternal destiny. Family prayer and devotions, and especially the weekly participation in the Mass are necessary to put our Faith into practice in anticipation of what God has in store for us.
Year of Faith
11, 2012 – November 24, 2013
We continue our journey through the Year of Faith. As one way of observing this year, each week a small section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is read before the start of
is a small way of offering some food for growth in Faith throughout this year. Mass.
The dogmas of the faith
Comment: It has become popular in our modern culture to discount the value and importance of dogma. Unfortunately, this attitude gets in the way of our understanding of the true meaning of dogma. It is possible to hold firmly to the dogmas of our Catholic Faith without being “dogmatic” as the culture considers us. Simply put, dogmas are the road maps of Faith. They make known to us how to get where we want to go. They are not chains binding us, but rather, tethers to Eternity, that help us to avoid traps and pitfalls that have proven false. To believe in the Faith of the Church, the Faith that opens us to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, we must give assent to the dogmas defined by the Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit Who leads us to all Truth. Only then do we have hope of coming to understand the Faith in its purity and in its completeness. How do you respond to the Dogmas of the Church?