well, that is Overkill.

I think that I may have gone just a little, tiny bit overboard with the Year of Faith. It started and I whole-heartedly committed to about 5 new things in a week. My prayer life began to look a little ridiculous. In addition to doing the things I’ve already been doing (i.e. daily Mass as often as I can, the Rosary at least once a day, etc.) I took on new things for the Year of Faith. Isn’t that what it is all about? Learning your faith and going deeper?

So, I set out. I committed to reading the Catechism in a year, by reading only 7 paragraphs a day, I’ll finish the whole thing by the time the Year of Faith is over. Then, my office bought each of us the Magnificat Year of Faith companion which features different profiles and reflections for every day of the Year of Faith. Then I thought, I think I’ll commit to an hour of adoration. Suddenly, ideas for how to increase my faith were cropping up everywhere.
I’ll volunteer with this new ministry, I could help out at a soup kitchen, I could work more hours and not put them on my time-card, etc. The list went on. I took all of these grand ideas to prayer. As I was journaling one night I realized all at once, this is not what the Year of Faith is actually about. Pope Benedict isn’t calling us to do a zillion new things to deepen our faith. The Year of Faith isn’t so much about what we do, it is about who we are.

Are we people of faith? Do we know our faith? Do we live it out? I also realized when I was journaling that my prayer journal is the only non-structured format of prayer I have. The Rosary, beautiful as it is, is a memorized, structured prayer. It doesn’t require all that much thought to pound out a Rosary (it should, if we are really meditating on what we are saying, but that’s another blog). Going to Mass is a rote thing as well. Come in, kneel down, read the readings for the day, sit down and wait for Mass to start. Stand up, sing, opening prayer, you know the routine. It doesn’t require that much of me (again, it should, but it doesn’t at the same time, the decision to truly enter in is entirely mine). Journaling requires more of me. It requires that I sit there in the stillness of God’s love and reflect on exactly what He is and isn’t calling me to. Journaling isn’t something I can sit down and pound out without any actual thought. That is what the Year of Faith is about. The Year of Faith is about truly entering in. Yes, it is about learning your faith (seriously, join me in reading the Catechism, I promise you won’t be sorry), but is about living your faith, our faith. It is about living in the spirit of the Law, and understanding exactly why Jesus came. The Year of Faith isn’t meant to fill your life with a thousand new devotionals, thousands of hours in the adoration chapel, or a new mailing address of your local confessional. All of those things are good, but like Saint Paul says, they are meaningless if we don’t do them with love.

In that sense, this year may as well be called the Year of Love (though that makes me think of a bunch of hippies running around at the Vatican). This year is about drawing closer to His heart in whatever way He moves you to do so. Pray about it. Maybe take up the Rosary, maybe take up a new hour of adoration, make Mass one extra day a week, start a prayer journal. Do something, if you feel so called, but ultimately be deepened in your faith.

What I’m Listening To:
“Check Yes Or No” by George Strait
“I Was Gonna Marry You” by Tristan Prettyman
“You Move Me” by Garth Brooks
“This Moment Now” by Tyrone Wells

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