While the Year of Faith started on October 11, the beginning of 2013 gives us another opportunity to renew our faith in this Year of Faith, or to re-commit to our earlier resolutions that we haven’t quite carried out…yet.
As a Catholic writer, I spontaneously thought of three ways I can live the Year of Faith in my life. I share them in the hopes that you will be inspired to share your 2013 resolutions in the comments below!
1) Nurture our understanding of our faith.
Perhaps we have an area that we feel we are weak in understanding, or particular issues that we struggle to explain to others. A deeper reading of one of the major sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church might not only answer our questions but also give us a helpful context. Or if we aren’t familiar with the major documents of Vatican II (officially called Constitutions, unofficially called the “Big Four”), we can take time to not only read them, but study them with a commentary.
2) Strengthen our lived faith by daily conversion and prayer.
For me, living in daily conversion means becoming always more aware of my creatureliness and dependence on God, and my need not only for grace, but to become more receptive to the grace God offers. We cannot “convert” on our own, which is why prayer and conversion go together. Pope Benedict especially highlights deepening our participation in the Mass. It is in celebrating the Eucharist that we come to know how beloved we are and there receive the grace not only to live more faithfully, but to surrender ourselves completely to God’s loving hands, in imitation of Jesus on the cross.
3) “Jump in” to the New Evangelization both with our own writing and by supporting other Catholic writers
While Pope Benedict offers many models for how we can share our Faith in Porta Fidei, I’d like to suggest two documents that have also been feeding my prayer: The Message of the Bishops at the end of the Synod on the New Evangelization, and the 58 Propositions presented by the Synod Fathers to be considered independently. These documents—and the Instrumentum Laboris—or the document which the Bishops actually worked on during the Synod itself—are especially helpful in the timely approach/methodology they encourage: to communicate the joy and hope that we find in Jesus Christ. A few points that I am meditating on more often these days:
* dialogue…with culture, science, and the media
* the “way of beauty” as an important part of evangelization
* on family life and youth as needing special attention
* on holiness as absolutely essential (constitutive) to the New Evangelization
Each of these points give me a “way in” to topics that I want to write about in the coming year, as well as an approach to share with other Catholic writers.
This threefold resolution for living the Year of Faith flows circularly: if I nurture my understanding of the Faith and deepen my commitment to prayer and conversion, then my communication of Christ will be always more contagious, authentic, and joyful.
Invitation to Nonfiction Writers!
One way to engage in the New Evangelization is to support both our own writing and others’ by sharing our work in a group. The Alberione Nonfiction Critique Group is opening its door to new members, from January through March, 2013. The Alberione Nonfiction Group is for members of the Catholic Writers Guild who:
-write nonfiction in almost any genre
-are committed to improving the quality and craft of their writing
-want to encourage other writers with constructive critiques
Our patron is Blessed James Alberione, who, while still a seminarian in 1900, recognized the urgent need to evangelize with the media. A prolific writer and Founder (of the nine institutes of the Pauline Family), Alberione is one of the “advance guard” of the New Evangelization. For more about his life and spirituality (and his advice to Catholic writers), visit: http://windowstothesoul.wordpress.com/spirituality-for-communicators/
If you are interested in joining the Alberione Nonfiction Critique Group, feel free to check out the group’s guidelines and public forum, send me a message or email me at paulwriter @ gmail.com (just remove the spaces). Currently, the group has a monthly critique cycle, where two writers submit material to be critiqued. We also try to schedule a monthly group chat in the CWG’s chat room.
Personally, I have been greatly enriched by the critiques and interaction of this fantastic group, and I hope to connect with more CWG writers in 2013!