By ZOE CANNON
GRATITUDE FOR THE GIFT OF FAITH
Our faith is a treasure! The early church in Jerusalem devoted itself to the teachings of the apostles, fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer (See Acts 2:42). These same duties are familiar to faithful Catholics in the church today. All that we believe is gathered from scripture and provided in a creed from the apostolic church. In the final words of the Apostles Creed, we profess: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting, Amen!”
Our union with the saints in heaven joins us to Christ. The doctrine of the Communion of Saints explains that the baptized form one body, and each share in the good of the church. St. Thomas Aquinas said, “Because Christ, the Church’s most important member is the head, his riches are given to all members through the sacraments.” Mary the Mother of Christ is the Mother of the Church. She joins with Christ in bringing about the birth of believers. Her role is inseparable in the work of our salvation (See CCC 963-964). We observe disciples here on earth; those who have died and are being purified, and others in the full glory of heaven.
We need the witness of holy people. There is much division of thought in our country and our church. The year 2020 has reminded me to be grateful for my Catholic faith and the gift of the sacraments. The works of holy people throughout salvation history give us purpose in joy and suffering. “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”( Matt. 16:18-19).
We hosted a beautiful, traveling statue of Our Lady, called Maria Rosa Mystica, in our home. The nine-day devotion of prayers is offered for the reform of the church, for priests and religious. It was very comforting during these troubling times. The story of Rosa Mystica begins in the spring of 1947. Our Lady appeared in a hospital to Pierina Gilli, a nurse living in Montichiari, Italy. The humble Italian woman understood Mary’s visit was to ask for prayers to reform the clergy and religious houses of the time. On Dec. 7, 1947, in a local church, Mary appeared for the sixth time with the two children of Fatima, Francisco and Jacinta. She was urging people to do penance and pray the rosary. You can read more about this nine-day devotion with the Rosa Mystica statue in the Evansville area at: https://www.mariarosamysticaevv.com/.
We encounter real challenges like the apostles did in the early church! There will always be a need to profess the faith, to stand up for truth and to help bring about the birth of believers. As Catholics, we have a responsibility to build up the Holy Church with priests and religious from our own families. I believe that soldiering for Christ is needed in our culture today, because the battle of good and evil is very real. A prayerful home, your family, your strong faith can make all the difference! “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). Amen!