The Year of Faith has begun.
As with Pope Benedict, John Paul II spoke often of the necessity of an ongoing journey of faith: “It is true that being a Christian means saying ‘yes’ to Jesus Christ, but let us remember that this ‘yes’ has two levels: It consists in surrendering to the Word of God and relying on it in the initial act of faith. But it also means, at a later stage, endeavouring to know better and better the profound meaning of the faith received.”
He emphasised that this access to deeper faith is a right. “Every baptised person, precisely by reason of being baptised, has the right to receive from the Church instruction and education enabling him or her to enter on a truly Christian life."
Few would doubt that this catechesis (Greek for teaching), this adult faith formation is a deperate need.
Thomas H. Groome, in his book Will There be Faith?, writes of a teaching dynamic that leads people from life to Faith to life. It is an approach to adult catechesis that goes far beyond merely passively receiving information. He speaks of a way that can inform, form, and transform.
Inform – educate people to know, understand and embrace with personal conviction Christianity’s core beliefs and values.
Form – deepen people’s sense of Catholic identity through active engagement in and experience of a Christian community of prayer and service.
Transform – open people to a life-long journey to conversion toward holiness and fullness of life for themselves and “for the life of the world” (John 6:51).
It is a call to a faith that entails knowledge, relationship and commitment. Groome writes of the faith being embodied in a discipleship of “the head, the heart and the hands”.
In this time of grace may we be open to a deepening of the gift of faith, a faith that embraces all of life.