Before much more of the Year of Faith proceeds, it may be worthwhile to look at Pope Benedict’s document from last Fall declaring the observance. Possibly it gives us an opportunity to review the Holy Father’s intent and to assess initiatives large and small.
Porta Fidei was issued on 11 October 2011. It is an apostolic letter, not the highest form of papal authority. But PF is an important document to consider.
The first section of these Church documents is often buttressed with citations of Scripture and offers a pep talk to believers, setting the tone in a positive way:
1. The “door of faith” (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church. It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace. To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime. It begins with baptism (cf. Rom 6:4), through which we can address God as Father, and it ends with the passage through death to eternal life, fruit of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, whose will it was, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, to draw those who believe in him into his own glory (cf. Jn 17:22). To profess faith in the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is to believe in one God who is Love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8): the Father, who in the fullness of time sent his Son for our salvation; Jesus Christ, who in the mystery of his death and resurrection redeemed the world; the Holy Spirit, who leads the Church across the centuries as we await the Lord’s glorious return.
The door is a great metaphor. If we are observant, it is one we relive every time we enter a church. Note the proclamation of the Word that precedes our (first) entry. I’m heartened that the Holy Father does not present the reception of transforming grace as a submission of the mind. It is much deeper than a willful assent to church teaching.
What do you readers see in this first section?