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The Faith in Slow Motion  
The Catholic Faith in Slow Motion:  A Year of Faith, October 11, 2012 – November 24, 2013
Fr. Phillip Johnson
Around the year A.D. 50, St Paul, with his missionary partner Barnabas, returned home to Antioch in Syria, having completed a long missionary tour through what is now southern Turkey. St Luke records that “when they arrived, they gathered the Church together and declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of Faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:28). This phrase, a door of faith (in Latin, porta fide) was chosen by Pope Benedict XVI as the title of his Apostolic Letter of October 2011, announcing the Year of Faith. God opened the door of faith to us in our baptism, the Pope reminds us. Let us return again to that door, and pray that God will open it anew.
During these coming months, the Holy Father urges us to rediscover the joy of believing and to deepen our understanding of the central mysteries of the Faith received in Holy Baptism. In the face of the growing secularization of our culture – a secularization that has deeply compromised and “watered down” the faith of many Catholics – the Pope calls us to a re-conversion, to the work of re-evangelization among our fellow Catholics, for the sake of a renewed relationship of love with Jesus Christ. Only by such a personal renewal will we be competent to “re-propose” the faith to those who have rejected it.
The Sources
Porta Fide sets a specific agenda, it names the sources for this Church-wide deepening of faith.
  • October 11, of this year, marked the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. The Pope urges us to study and discuss the teachings of this ecumenical council – to go beyond the popular and shallow characterizations of the Council to its own words. He wants us to understand the context and background and to discern Christ-centered spirit of the Council's work.
  • October 11 was also the twentieth anniversary of the promulgation of the new Catechism of the Catholic Church. In the Year of Faith, Catholics around the world will be studying and discussing the texts of this remarkable document. Again, we are to go beyond our vague impressions and hurried media reports of what the Church teaches, to attend to the Catechism first-hand and make it our own.
  • We are called to deepen our participation in the Liturgy of the Church by understanding more deeply the way the Liturgy communicates Christ to God's gathered people and makes us the Church Eucharist by Eucharist.
  • These texts of the Council, of the Catechism, and of the Liturgy are to be “re-read” expressly in the direct light of the Holy Scriptures which are the source and well-spring of the Church’s faith and worship.
Going Deeper TogetherTo celebrate with you this Year of Faith, I will be starting a new series of bulletin articles entitled The Faith in Slow Motion. We will be returning to the specific phrases of the Creed which we received in our baptism. We will re-read the Creed leisurely, pondering each phrase according to (a) its Scriptural basis, (b) its elaboration by the Council and the Catechism, and (c) its expression in the Church's liturgy.
But, of course, this is but one way the Year of Faith will be marked and celebrated in our life together. Please don't hold back, please give yourself this opportunity to return to the porta fide, praying that God will open the door and show us anew the beauty of the Faith we profess. + + +

The Catholic Faith in Slow Motion (no. 1)
As we work our way leisurely through the Creed of the Church, we will not always take the phrases in order; we'll jump around, partly depending on the Church's liturgical calendar, partly on my own sense of the momentary pastoral need. However, in this first entry, we start with the opening verb of the Creed.

The Catholic Faith in Slow Motion (no. 2)
I believe in one God, . . . maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. The first words of the Creed reflect the first words of the Bible: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This is the very first truth, the foundational truth, that whatever exists does so by the act of God.


The Catholic Faith in Slow Motion(No. 3)
We enter the season of Advent – perhaps the most counter-cultural of the liturgical seasons. While the world around us somewhat frantically launches the “Christmas season” earlier and earlier, the Church observes a kind of pre-Christmas lent, a time of prayerful waiting and spiritual preparation. And the first announcement of Advent is not the coming of the Christ Child; it is Christ's final advent. “He will come to judge the living and the dead”.
The Catholic Faith in Slow Motion (No. 4)
The mystery of the Immaculate Conception is about how God prepared the way before hand for the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, preparing a human “vessel” as mother of the redeemer

The Catholic Faith in Slow Motion (No. 5)
We cannot fully explain the Christmas mystery. But we can at least profess it knowingly; we can know what it is the Faith professes, even as our minds are forever startled at what we are professing. Here is a brief, blunt statement of the identity of the babe in the manger.
The Catholic Faith in Slow Motion (No. 6)
The season of Lent draws near. Once again, we are offered the opportunity to intensify our prayer, to enter more deeply into the mystery of prayer – maybe even to receive the life of prayer as if for the first time, as a little child (Mark 10:14-16). “What will I give up for Lent?” the traditional question goes. Remember, the giving up is for the sake of receiving all that God wants to give us. During Lent, these weekly reflections will focus on Christ's gift of prayer to his disciples.

The Catholic Faith in Slow Motion (No. 7)
“Our Father” is not a generic name for God used by all faiths and religions. It is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who reveals to us his Father in heaven, and brings us into relationship with him. And so, as the Liturgy teaches us, “At the Saviors command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say, “Our Father . . . . That was the gist of my first reflection on the Lord's Prayer (02-17-13).
The Catholic Faith in Slow Motion (No. 8)
The past is not to be simply forgotten, but it is, after all, the past. The future may be prudently anticipated, but it remains always uncertain and beyond our control. In the life of faith, it is today that claims our attention. “Today” is a recurring spiritual theme in Holy Scripture. “Oh, that today you would hear the voice of the Lord” (Ps 95:8). “Do not be anxious about tomorrow. Let the day's own troubles be sufficient for the day (Matt 6:34). “Encourage one another every day, as long as it is called “today” (Heb 3:13). So we are taught to pray: Give us today, bread enough for today.

The Catholic Faith in Slow Motion(No. 9)
What's the difference between a problem and a mystery? A famous Catholic philosopher once explained it this way. A problem is to be solved; a riddle is to be worked out. A mystery – not as in a “whodunit” plot, but in a spiritual sense, is never solved. A mystery is entered into, explored, lived. We can indeed understand something of a mystery; we can understand it more and more as we live in the mystery. But we never fully comprehend it. The mystery keeps showing us ever-new depths and dimensions. We never “get to the bottom of it.” As we “know” the mystery, we know that there is more to know.
The Catholic Faith in Slow Motion(no. 10)
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them: “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side (John 20:19-20).

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