Sister Margie Lavonis, CSC 
Sister Margie Lavonis, CSC

Claiming our faith

This Year of Faith gives us a special opportunity to reflect on the church and on what we believe, especially for young adults. College-age students especially, believe because others say so or because it is what they were taught.

After high school, and sometimes during, it is not uncommon for one to question their faith. This is not a bad thing. In fact, those who question what they claim to believe usually end up with a stronger and more meaningful faith. Some characterize it as “owning” one’s faith.

A mediocre Catholic is one who “believes” just because others say so. Their faith is often minimal or superficial. Too many people are nominal Catholics who identify themselves as such but rarely grace a church with their presence.

Central to our Christian faith is our belief in Jesus. He is the core of what we profess. I always reflect on this every time I hear the words in the Gospel when Jesus asks Peter and the others, “Who do you say that I am?” To be a Christian, a follower of Jesus, each of us must answer that question for ourselves.

Have you ever really taken time to reflect upon your faith and who Jesus is for you? Is Jesus merely a historical figure who lived in the past and has stories written about him in the Bible?

Do you view Jesus primarily as a good person, someone ready to help others, especially the poor and the outcast, or someone to fear?

Maybe you view Jesus as a miracle worker who can help you get a good grade on a test you haven’t studied for, or who gets you out of trouble with your parents. Is Jesus someone you go to when you are desperate and can’t think of anything else to do, someone you think of last instead of first?

Or, hopefully, Jesus is someone who is there for you in the good times and when life is hard. Does your belief in his loving presence console you when your family is having difficulties or when you are feeling low?

Do you go to Jesus regularly? Is he real to you and a part of your ordinary life? Is Jesus a personal friend or a figure “out there somewhere?” Do you spend time with him? Do you desire to get to know him better and to love him more?

I heard in a homily recently that there is a difference between belief and real faith. We can believe everything our church teaches and obey all the commandments, but we will never grow in faith unless Jesus is in the center of it. The Pharisees conformed to the letter of the law, but never really knew and accepted Jesus.

Our faith is empty without him. Take some time during this Year of Faith and honestly reflect on your relationship with Jesus and the church. Are Jesus and the church an important part of your life? Who have you spoken to about him lately? We are called to claim and proclaim our faith.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, browse our “Living the Faith” archive to read some of Sister Margie’s past reflections.

 

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