Saint John Paul II wrote “Life is entrusted to man as a treasure which must not be squandered, as a talent which must be used well” (Evangelium Vitae, 52).
Our late pontiff also wrote: It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal (Prayer Vigil, World Youth Day, August 19, 2000).
Another year of learning begins soon. Teachers everywhere will assemble students, engaging and encouraging them to discover their talents, recognize and focus on their potential, and understand more about life, faith, and the world.
Likewise, “Missionary Discipleship” calls each of us to commit ourselves to learning more about our faith. The need for ongoing formation and catechesis is not just for the young. It’s vital for everyone, throughout our lives. We respond to the call to be Missionary Disciples and gratefully receive the gift of our faith and cherish it. However, before we can share our faith with others in justice and love, we must tend to it, in a responsible and accountable manner.
What are some ways we could tend to our faith? Here are a few ideas: • Join, or lead, a parish Bible study group. • Start a book club reading religious books about saints, liturgy and Catholic practices. • Subscribe to or download an app for a daily devotional with reflection and commentary. • Participate in a diocesan faith-formation course. • Check a nearby seminary or Franciscan School for Theology (located at Mission San Luis Rey) for courses available to laity. • Read religious pamphlets and the diocesan Southern Cross newspaper • Look for Catholic educational resources online or on DVD. • Search for and read online the documents and summaries from the Second Vatican Council. • Pray every day, often. As regards to prayer, it would be a good idea to set aside time routinely for complete silence in order to listen for God’s still, small voice, like Elijah waiting in the cave. He too was humbly and patiently waiting to improve himself and society. The Lord called Elijah with a whisper, sending him on a mission to Damascus (1 Kings 19:12-16). We, too, are summoned to fulfill a role only we can play using the gift of faith entrusted to us. What is God pressing on your heart to do with your faith? How will you respond?