Praying our Faith draws on this Sunday’s images of God’s shaping, strengthening, calling, and naming us (June 24th, Nativity of John the Baptist).
Growing in Faith flows from this Sunday’s readings, but may be useful at any time to deepen our understanding of a particular aspect of Catholic tradition and practice. This week, we are exploring Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, calling us all to Rejoice and Be Glad as ordinary saints. It may be useful for individual study as well as for faith groups.
Finally, Living our Faith is an opportunity for story-telling: How are we living holiness in our daily lives? You are invited to add your stories and insights in the comments section.
PRAYING OUR FAITH
SOLEMNITY, NATIVITY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST (ISA 49, PS 139, ACTS 13, LK 1:57ff)
We are wonderfully made, knit in our mother’s womb (Ps 139) . . . A people called to be light to the nations (Isa 49) . . . John the Baptist growing strong in Spirit (Lk 1)
Pray the readings. Consider some words and images that get to the point (from St. Louis University). What words and images, perhaps these or others, touch your heart – showing you who God is and how God is active in your life?
Singing our Prayer: “Christ, Be Our Light” might seem like a strange song to sing in the summer (as we do at St. Michael’s this weekend), when the sun is blazing. And yet, this annual celebration of John the Baptist’s birth comes mere days after the summer solstice. For those in the northern hemisphere, our days are as long as they will be, and now will begin to shorten in the many months to come. Similarly, John the Baptist says of Jesus, “he must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30). Our lives of discipleship are about allowing anything that gets in the way of our self-giving calling to decrease, and for the presence of Christ to increase and build up strength within us. If we can open ourselves to this and embrace our call as “light to the nations,” we may find that Christ “shines in our hearts” and also “shines through the darkness” of today’s world. (Justin Huyck)
SONG: Christ, Be our Light by Bernadette Farrell (Copyright 1993, 2000) – Published by OCP. Led here by Notre Dame Folk Choir. PHOTO: Artemisia Gentileschi, The Birth of St. John the Baptist (1635). Hosted at the Life and Art of Artemisia Gentileschi and curated by The Text This Week
IF YOU HAVE TIME FOR MORE:
(Both reflections connect the readings to Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, Rejoice and Be Glad.)
GROWING IN FAITH
(If possible, wait to explore this section until after you have participated in Mass this week.)
We are all called, even before our births. This call is activated in a particular way in our baptism and lived out in our lives. The Second Vatican Council referred to this as the “universal call to holiness.” Recently, Pope Francis released a new apostolic exhortation on the call to holiness in today’s world – calling us all to be saints in our ordinary lives.
“The important thing is that each believer discern his or her own path, that they bring out the very best of themselves, the most personal gifts that God has placed in their hearts (cf. 1 Cor 12:7), rather than hopelessly trying to imitate something not meant for them.” —Pope Francis, On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World (Gaudete et Exsultate: Rejoice and Be Glad), no. 11
Videos by the Vatican’s Migrants and Refugees Section (Office) and America Magazine based on Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, Rejoice and Be Glad.
IF YOU HAVE TIME FOR MORE:
LIVING OUR FAITH
In St. Michael’s summer newsletter, we reflect on the gift of time – even though we sometimes feel we have so little of it!
How are we called to live holiness in today’s world – with our own gifts and passions, and with our own schedules?
In the newsletter, one parishioner puts it this way, reflecting on her involvement in St. Michael’s Social Justice ministries:
Since joining St. Michael’s Social Justice ministries . . . I have had the privilege of helping with a number of different projects. In a short time, I have seen so many wonderful things get accomplished and the huge positive impact that our Social Justice Ministry is making in our community. Whether you are someone with a lot of time on your hands or only a little, or if you enjoy working with people one-on-one or would rather be behind the scenes, there are so many different ways to get involved and share your talents.
Tell your story:
- What are – as Therese of Lisieux put it – the “little ways” that you live your call to be a saint?
- What are your “big dreams,” tugging at you, perhaps as a calling? How do they connect with your passions, skills, and gifts – the person God “knit” you to be and to become? (Psalm 139)
- How are you a light for others? (Isa 49)