The Joy In Truth
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).
The Feast of Pentecost is a reminder that the power of the Holy Spirit is available to help us persevere in our earthly trials. The fruit of the Holy Spirit comes in one part with many characteristics: “Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). St. James was telling his followers to focus on three letters, j-o-y! Much like today, the culture in the early Church was faced with challenges when following the teachings of Christ.
We must be formed, informed and transformed! The Church provides the love, catechesis and sacraments we need. While pursuing a career, people seek an education – and we work hard to be successful in our chosen profession. As a participating member of the Catholic Church, the Body of Christ, we must also prepare faithfully. The Church offers many opportunities to make our life joyful.
There are concerning statistics about the instability of faith in America. People are changing religious affiliation early and often, and Catholicism suffers the greatest loss in the process. Two-thirds of former Catholics who have become unaffiliated say they left the Catholic faith because they stopped believing in its teachings, as do half of former Catholics who are now Protestant.
My husband, Dick, and I just completed our second year of facilitating a Wednesday evening adult-formation class at our parish, Sts. Francis and Clare in Greenwood, Ind. During this two-year period we have covered more than 125 different topics concerning the teachings and traditions of the Church. We created our syllabus from an RCIA process designed for those interested in becoming new members of the Church. The topics form a perfect refresher course for everyone – whether they attend Mass every week or have been away from the Church for a period of time.
This class provided us with the opportunity to meet other couples who also relocated to be close to their grandchildren. The desire to be more confident in sharing the faith was the goal of every one attending the class; and by sharing thoughts and experiences, we accomplished that and so much more. We have a group email with more than 60 people who have joined us for the course. The diverse age groups and the different levels of knowledge provide great discussion. Single, married, working professional, retired, young parent or grandparent; we can learn so much from one another, while gaining a wealth of knowledge about truth!
A standard or rule of teaching existed very early in the Church to assure that the teaching and preaching was an authentic expression of the deposit of faith left in our care by Christ. Our witness of faith to family members is also a timeless legacy. Empower yourself with the gifts of the Holy Spirit! The teachings of the Church are explained thoroughly in “The Catechism of the Catholic Church,”which, by the way, is a great gift! “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed” (Romans 6:17).Be steadfast in love! Amen!