Yes. I was probably in 5th grade when a new, young sister came to teach us. I wasn’t afraid of her at all! Before this time, my faith was wrapped up in trying to stay out of trouble or else God would get me. Then Sr. Dolorosa showed up and she actually seemed happy. I was intrigued, first by her and then by the joy she seemed to have about her. I became very active in my parish and was enrolled in some Marian society just for girls. We helped take care of the altar and flowers and candles. This was when there were no girls altar servers, so walking up onto the altar or going into the sacristy was a very big deal. Hey, I was 10 or 11; it was a big deal. My favorite time of year was Lent and Easter when we would make a tomb at one of the side altars and then pray there after Holy Thursday. On Holy Saturday we would open the tomb (no Easter Vigil back then) and decorate with spring flowers. For my age and maturity level I had an active faith beginning with this time period and then moving forward throughout my entire life up to this point.
My faith sustains me in my life. And it is active in both the horizontal – to God and the vertical – to others directions.
Active means not only serving but especially moving closer toward God. Active means a faith that is alive and growing. My Ignatian bent tells me it also means finding God in all things. Passive is the total opposite; a faith that pays lip service.
In Your Parish: If a newcomer walked into your parish today, curious about the Catholic faith, would someone actively welcome him? Introduce him to others? Who would help him answer his questions?
Great question. Not sure of the answer. If a person walked into the Church on a Sunday there might possibly be no welcome at all. Yikes! If someone came into the parish office or after Mass coffee – definitely would be welcomed and directed to me (it’s my job at the parish where I work) if they had questions. So that’s what I think would happen where I work. Where I worship there is much more going on so the welcome at a Sunday Mass is very active and inviting. If people had questions they could be directed to the parish office, the rack of CD and pamphlets, an usher would probably look for someone from the staff and/or a deacon or priest to help the person out.
More discussion on the book over at Catholic Mom!