Dear Friends in Christ:
In the coming days, we will begin many of our activities and ministries. While blessed with many participants, what is even more a blessing is the faith that compels our actions. A great deal of time and effort will be spent on teaching the faith. This is both good and necessary. Jesus calls us to have childlike faith not childish faith. To be mature in faith is to always be growing in the understanding of our faith. As faithful Catholics we must continually deepen and expand our knowledge of the Catholic faith. As St. Anslem of Canterbury stated: “I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but rather, I believe in order that I may understand”; or, as the theological dictum states, Fides quaerens intellectum – Faith seeking understanding.
Faith is not something that can be obtained or achieved from just sitting in a classroom or reading a book. More than being taught, faith is caught! A vibrant and living faith is one that is caught! For us to live a life of faith, it cannot be a mere factoid about us rather, our faith is something that we are infected with and is highly contagious!
When we are “infected with faith” we live in such a manner that it is contagious to others; they are impacted by our faith. A contagious faith is not merely a private, personal matter.
A Contagious Faith is …
A Faith that is risky. To believe and follow Jesus requires risk. We cannot be content to stay in the boat; we must be willing to get out of the boat and move towards Jesus even during the storms of life. We cannot rely just on ourselves. We are called to place our trust in God and trust that he will always be with us and give us everything we need. Anything worth having comes with risks.
A Faith that impacts others. The gift of faith is for our eternal salvation, but it is not for us alone. We are given the gift of faith and are called to respond in faith so that others too may be blessed. Living our faith gives others hope and challenges them to also have a relationship with Jesus and follow as disciples.
A Faith that is rooted in the Sacraments and Scripture. Faith is more than our personal opinion or feeling. There is certainty and truth in faith. There is an objective reality to faith. Faith makes demands on us. Faith is free but not cheap. Faith is nourished and strengthened by the grace of the sacraments and the truth of God’s Holy Word. Faith connects us to God and to the Church. Faith is both personal and communal (ecclesial). Faith does not make us free agents or independent contractors.
A Faith that is grounded in the love of Jesus. Faith is not wishful thinking. What we believe and who we believe in makes a real difference in our lives. Faith matters! We come into relationship with God the Father through Jesus, His Son. We know and believe in Jesus as Lord, Savior, and friend. Our relationship with God the Father is a gift of love from Jesus. We love Jesus and live in his love. Our faith is given life by the Holy Spirit who is the gift to us from the Father and the Son. Our love for one another is rooted in our love for Jesus. Our entire way of living is grounded in our love for Jesus.
Contagious faith is a gift to all those who catch it. It changes lives for the better. It gives meaning, purpose, connection, belonging, understanding, insight, peace, and surety. Faith does not exempt us from pain, suffering, heartache, disappointment, struggle or failure, but faith does give us a way to overcome these challenges and so many more. To be infected with contagious faith is to open ourselves to misunderstanding, ridicule, rejection, and even persecution; yet, contagious faith is a blessing to the one who has it and to the one who catches it!
In Pace Christi,