Did you grow closer to God? Start a new prayer regimen? Become more familiar with the Catechism? Peruse the life of a favorite saint or discover the writings of one of the Doctors other than David Tennant or Matt Smith? Did you start last year’s Year of Faith with the best of intentions only to Saint Peter out by the time Lent finished up?
I know I had the biggest of plans. I’d even written a piece, listing 100 things to consider and perhaps try in the course of the subsequent 365 days. Rather like diet plans and budgets, it was a great theory, execution however remained uneven. God appreciates the enthusiasm and the attempt, but honestly, I look at my spiritual struggles of the past twelve months and have to pause and say: “I think you could have worked a bit harder or at least smarter. You wasted a lot of time and energy.”
The year of Faith may be almost over, but the reality is that our whole life is just year after year of Faith, in which we should be seeking to grow ever deeper in our love, appreciation and, yes, even understanding of God’s will. The execution of God’s will, once discerned will require we hold tight to grace and drop everything else. So having tried a plan of great ambition last year, reading a psalm a day, discovering a new saint, plus the daily rosary and maybe even the whole rosary, all four sets of mysteries and then adoration once a week plus a daily mass once a week on the side kind of nuttiness that could only be described as a spiritual triple-decker Sunday Sundae of ambitiousness, this time around, I’m going small in an attempt to go to the home of the matter.
This year, the catechism is at my bedside, and I will read a page or two a day. That’s it. That’s all.
It’s a sublimation to say this is all I will do, because my brain immediately starts to want to reconstruct that giant confection again, and it is mandatory because part of growing one’s faith is discipline and obedience. Becoming the person God intended us to be, is a mandatory act of the will, done with full knowledge and a full heart. That’s why I’m keeping it small. It is a little act, requiring only a little time, not because I don’t want to offer all, but because I want to be absolutely sure, I will offer and I am offering. There are still 45 days left in the year of Faith, time enough to start this walk toward Damascus from the rock where I have been resting, distracted by the shiny pebbles of the everyday from the journey.
If for some reason, you sat down or forgot or didn’t do something this year to grow your Catholic faith, pray and ask for the smallest thing God wants of you, then opt to do it for the duration, until the feast of Christ the King. Don’t worry about what to do once Advent starts, allowing the Holy Spirit to deepen and broaden one’s understanding of the Faith over time, the directions that follow, will follow naturally. God will flood in where ever we allow. The goal of the Year of Faith is to bring us into closer communion with Christ. Even starting or restarting this late in the game, can bring us to the stable, can orient us toward the star, can guide our feet to the foot of the cross and to knowing the heart of our Lord and Savior.