We all struggle with spiritual dryness at some point in our lives. Maybe your faith is feeling a little sluggish. The Year of Faith is an ideal time to strengthen and rejuvenate it. Take a look at your faith life by asking these questions, and check out some helpful tips.
- Do you know what faith is? Faith is not simply a statement of beliefs. Faith is action. Faith means responding to and cooperating with God's intimate gift of grace.
Tip: Take just a few minutes each day to respond to grace by talking to God in prayer.
- Do you know your Catholic faith? Knowing truly is half the battle. If we don't know our faith, we cannot actively live it out. So, let's take time to learn about the beauty of our faith.
Tip: Join thousands of other Catholics as they read the Catechism of the Catholic Church in a year. You'll receive a few paragraphs in your inbox each day.
- Are you feeding your faith? Just as your body needs food, your soul needs spiritual nourishment. In addition to learning the facts about your faith, your soul needs to be fed by praying, reading Sacred Scripture, attending Mass and receiving the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.
Tip: Attend a daily Mass during the week in addition to your regular Sunday obligation.
- Are you building a relationship with God? Faith is meant to bring us to God. The grace that he extends is a loving, intimate gift of himself, and he asks the same of us in return. A personal relationship with God, like any relationship, takes time and effort – and it is well worth it.
Tip: Spend time with Jesus in Eucharistic adoration.
- Are you a public witness? Now, that doesn't necessarily mean standing on a platform and preaching. Rather, a living faith permeates everything we do. The way that we live, work and love every day is a witness of our faith to the world. The choices we make, where we spend our time and what we value reflect our commitment to our faith.
Tip: Try giving up complaining for a day, or simply smile and greet people you see.
- Do you embrace suffering? An important part of faith is trusting and surrendering to the will of God, believing in his plan for your life – and not your plan. Suffering is a human experience that Jesus knows very well, and we can grow in our faith with Christ in an exceptional way through our own trials.
Tip: Pray the Stations of the Cross or read about the lives of the saints.
- Is your faith demonstrated through works? Our faith is not meant to be kept to ourselves. Motivated by Christ's love, we must share his love with those around us. As St. James said, "What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but no works? ... faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead" (Jas 2:14, 17).
Tip: Go out and meet your neighbors, introduce yourself to someone at Mass that you have never met, help serve meals at a soup kitchen or visit the elderly at a nursing home.
- Are you obedient to the Church? The Catholic Church guards the faith. It was handed down by the apostles and is protected by the Holy Spirit. Under this care, the Church cannot error in any official teachings on faith and morals. We are obligated to believe and profess everything that the Catholic Church teaches.
Tip: If you question any of the Church's teachings, study them. Read the Catechism and other Church documents, and pray for God's wisdom.
- Are you sharing your faith through evangelization? Our faith is not meant to be kept to ourselves. Not only are we called to be a witness in the way we live; we are called to proclaim our faith in Christ.
Tip: Ask someone to come to Mass with you.
- Are you passing your faith on to your children? If you are a parent, you are the first educator of your children. You have a responsibility to educate your children in the faith by example, through catechesis and in practice. This means actively living your faith, praying together and instructing them in the faith.
Tip: Say grace before meals, and pray a daily family rosary. For catechesis, explore these Teaching Catholic Kids resources and the YOUCAT.
There are always ways to deepen our faith. These are my questions. How do you keep your faith alive?
Jennifer Rey is the web editor of Our Sunday Visitor Publishing.