All That I Have Written Is Straw. . .

Meanderings of a Catholic Devout

Reflections in preparation for the Year of Faith

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How to deal with dates? Yesterday was one of those dates that used to have meaning for me—it was the date of my former wedding anniversary. Of course, having been divorced (and annulled) for almost two years now makes me wonder why I even notice it. I’m a little taken aback by the power of such trivial things like a date. Perhaps it’s the timing of the year that makes me reflect on a time when I had such high aspirations for a new marriage. Yesterday when I did notice the date, I said a prayer after a split-second of self-pity (yes, I’m still human). Then I reflected on how much has changed since I last celebrated October 9. Onward and upward…

Tomorrow marks the opening of the Year of Faith in the Catholic Church and Rome will be buzzing with all sorts of ceremonies and demonstrations to commemorate the anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. Pope Benedict XVI has urged Catholics to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation as the key sacrament of this year. He has also urged Catholics to rediscover the Rosary. Ironically, all three of these events have ties for me.

As a theology student, I’ve been hammered with Vatican II documents for the last year and a half. If any Catholic hasn’t read them, it is worth reading the actual documents themselves. They aren’t hard to understand, although knowing some of the historical background will highlight the significance of what was being written. I’m also glad that it is Benedict XVI himself who gets to lead this commemoration. He was so young as a peritus attending the Council; so few attending clergy and laity are still alive.

Year of Faith Logo 2012-2013

Year of Faith Logo 2012-2013

This semester I’m exploring sacramental theology. Reconciliation is one of those sacraments that uniquely identifies Christians as Catholics. Considering its biblical origin (Jn. 20:21-23), I’m still a little confused why other denominations, particularly fundamentalists, don’t celebrate it.

Personally, I think the Sacrament of Reconciliation, along with the Eucharist, really epitomizes faith. The Eucharist requires such powerful faith: to understand that while it is bread that I taste, it is the Body of Christ. Perhaps I can believe that because it is geared to someone else—Christ. But in Reconciliation, there is a faith required that essentially says, “God, I believe in you. I believe that you are Love and that you love me. I believe that you forgive me.” Otherwise, why go? There’s no outward sign of God’s forgiveness—it is only felt by the lifting of my spirits. If I can’t believe that God can forgive me, then I’m saying that I don’t believe that God is love.

As for the Rosary, almost every prayer in the Rosary is biblically based. In the Middle Ages, the Rosary was a catechetical tool to the uneducated masses. They couldn’t read and weren’t rich enough to receive an scholastic education, so the repetition of the prayers of the Rosary “educated” them in the doxology of the Church. Our Father (Mt. 6:9-13), Hail Mary (Luke 1:41-56, including the Magnificat), and the Glory Be, which professes the Trinitarian dogma.

I hold the Rosary near and dear to my own heart: “Blessed is she who heard the Word of God and believed.” To Christ, through Mary’s faith.

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Written by Written Straw

October 10, 2012 at 8:55 am

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