Year of Faith-A A +A
The Living Spirit
Saturday, February 16, 2013
THE Catholic Church has declared October 2012 – November 2013 a Year of Faith for the Universal Church.
The Universal Church includes the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, the Anglican Church and all denominations of the Protestant Churches. But aside from these, there are also the Buddhist and Hinduist Churches and the Judean and Moslem Churches. In other words, all people of the entire world belong to the Universal Church. Why? Because, I believe, all people of the world are called to salvation.
The first question that comes to our mind is what do we mean by faith? Faith means belief in God. That means accepting that God exists, that He has created the world and all living creatures in there. But we Christians believe also in Christ, the Son of God, who came into the world in order to bring us salvation and eternal life in his Kingdom. Christ has left his teachings about Christian life and salvation in the Holy Bible, the Book of the Word of God. Christians not only accept these teachings but they must try to put them also into practice.
The second question that comes to our mind is: who or what is God, how does He look like? I have dealt already with this question in a previous column. If we want to know how God looks like, we must look at the figure of Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus hanging on the Cross and Jesus in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. More concretely, we can deduce from this image the idea of friendship with God. This sounds of course beautiful, the combination of the words ‘friendship’ and ‘God’. We must be careful not to get lost in the land of illusions. Jesus shows us clearly that we can be friends of God by being friends of our neighbors. ‘Love God with whole your heart and your neighbor as yourself’.
Jesus became man, became human in order to show us what is most essential in being man, in being human and that is friendship: being friends of God and being friends of each other.
St. Agustin said somewhere: ‘You can know somebody only through friendship.’ A friend is something like your other self, the half of your soul. St. Agustin again: ‘because my friend is my other self, I like to speak with him about that what I normally only speak about with myself.’ The best way of speaking about our relation with God is to compare it with friendship. Praying is looking for friendship with God. A lot of people have problems with praying, how do you do that, praying? I believe, one reason that people have problems with praying is: they themselves have no friends or they fail to look for friends in their life. You cannot speak to God as your friend if you don’t have other people who are your friends. In friendship you offer yourself, your life.
You look for God’s friendship precisely in your friendly relations with others.
During this Year of Faith, we must reflect on what faith really is and what are the implications, especially friendship with God and friendship with one another.
(For your comments, email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 17, 2013.