Pastoral Vision letter #6
One of the many ancient traditions our Church still practices today is the choosing of a Saint Name at Confirmation. Our belief is that as we commit to living a Christian identity, our chosen Saint will serve as a model and guide in our fulfillment of our baptismal call to holiness. While, this may seem daunting—what with our natural inclination towards sin—we are assured, through faith, that God will give us the courage to seek out spiritual depth and growth. Nurturing this faith, love and knowledge of God and his Church requires that we nourish our spiritual roots by His Truth—that we grow in spiritual maturity.
Living Our Faith by a Renewed Commitment to Nurturing Holy Lives
(2 Timothy 1:8-11)
Nurturing our faith, or maturing spiritually, is not something we can do on our own because the essence of faith is communal. We do not relate to God in a me and Jesus relationship—there’s nothing personal about it—rather we nurture our faith, much like all things in life, through our shared experiences. Being a Christian is not about satisfying obligations—merely checking off a list of “dos and don’ts”—but about forming a community of believers who are committed to an active prayer life and are involved in spirit building activities.
The well-being of a church is measured by the quality of her ministries, and, thankfully, our parish is blessed with a number of groups and ministries that cater to various needs. Look around, is there one that interests you? If not, why haven’t you taken the initiative to start it? In order to grow into spiritual maturity we must have a place to share our faith. This is especially important when we consider our church’s size. We can’t deny that our church is blessed with many members—of varying cultures and languages—our challenge is not to allow our size and diversity to make us feel disconnected or that we somehow don’t belong. Everyone has a place at God’s Table, but, since it’s impossible to know everyone, we must remain involved in a ministry, association or faith community that will allow us to form the bonds of unity between us.
Meeting as a group or ministry can (and should) be very rewarding, but we must never lose sight of our purpose. The level of intimacy that a smaller church group offers can (and sometimes does) make us vulnerable to becoming either too exclusive or too much like a social club. Our faith calls us to inclusivity and mutual love. And while we will naturally form closer relationship with some people more than with others, this does not excuse us from being open to growth and change. Similarly, all groups, ministries and associations are naturally social events. But, if we are to ensure that our gatherings remain faithful to their intended mission, each meeting must be centered in faith and guided by prayer. All church groups, if they are to be successful, must challenge its members to live a healthy prayer life that is rooted in God and His Church. Our holiness is dependent on our commitment to faith and our understanding of the theological issues our lives face every day. Let us make a commitment to holiness by leading lives that faithfully reflect God’s Eternal Truth and Justice to a morally complex and confused world.