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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
January 8, 1988     The Message
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Faith Today Supplement, The Message, Catholic Diocese of Evansville, January 8, 1988 3 i i '11 i |11 i iii i i i Re-energizers ting through reruns of old movies. "The nse of God was like a plume or smoke that floated through the service and disap- peared before we reached the park- ing lot," said Millie. Then a new priest came to their parish. He told stories that con- nected the readings to the morning newspaper, movies, community needs and parish happenings. I remember the enthusiastic way Steve explained what happened using engineering terms: "Father Dan sho:cd us how to tear away the insulation we had packed around the word of God and helped us see that its meaning could energize our daily lives!" That was five years ago, he said. "Millie and I are still continually astonished how each reading calls out to the reality of today." Becky and Tony are another cou- ple who went through a learning process regarding their faith. At the international airport they looked like a high-spirited "yup- pie" c'ple setting off for a backpacking vacation in some ex- otic land. Passersby smiled upon them, sensing that they were heading off on an adventure. Adventure it was, but different from what met the eye at the air- port. Tony and Becky's destination was a poor village in Brazil where they would become lay mission- aries for a year teaching carpentry 1 I I J I and reading. Tony, a successful lawyer, and Becky, a teacher, have been married for 18 months. "As we grew in our love for each other, we became more and more sensitive to the presence of God in our life together," Becky explained simply. "We needed to say thank you so this is the way we are doing it -- by serving the poor and through them learning the meaning of really loving as God loves us." Finally there is jovial, 55-year-old Herb. "I wasn't sure what I was walking into," he said of his ex- perience in sponsoring a prospec- tive convert to Catholicism enrolled in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program at his parish. Herb thought that it was his role to be friendly and helpful but that the whole RCIA process would be somewhat impersonal. Wrong. Instead, Doug, the candidate Herb sponsored, became like a brother as well as  dear friend. Moreover, Herb thought he "was going to be the giver." Wrong again. "Doug and I grew together as we studied with the catechists and with each other. My eyes were opened to how much I could lcmrn about the faith I hid lived all my years!" 61Irs. Hughes is a religious education consultant and a fi'ee- lance u,rito: ) 00earts are restless...' get out of a tight spot. He was ah'eady in the clear. But his curiosi- ty had been piqued. He had to find out what made these men tick; or- dinary people would have been out in a flash when the}, saw the jail do.r'.standing open. The jailer's question took the form it did because he was aware of the circumstances of Paul's ar- rest and knew something about his preaching. It voiced a deep con- cern of every human heart: "What must 1 do to be saved?" It is a distinctly adult question. Often it arises after people have ex- Perienced something of life, after the gratifications that promised so much in a person's youth turn out to be maddeningly unsatisfying. TIld. the truth dawns that such desires are bottomless. Then the search begins in earnest. "Our hearts are restless and they will know no rest until they rest in you," as St. Augustine said in "The Confessions." St. Mark tells of a serious young man who approached Jesus with a question: "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (10:17). It turns out that this fellow was rich but evidently had come to realize that riches were not the answer he wanted. It was not that he had no religion. When Jesus suggested that he keep the commandments, the young man was able to reply that he had observed them from his youth. Still, he yearned for something more. Unfortunately, he did not like Jesus' answer. The point is, however, that the young man was looking for something. And not because misfortune forced him to do so. He already "knew" God, and that was the very reason he was looking further. A taste of the in- finite had whetted his appetite. As Augustine says somewhere else, "I would not be seeking you if I had not already found you." The experience of the jailer and the young man have been repeated endlessly. In our own day many people are growing up to the realization that only increased knowledge coupled with more in. timate experience of God can satisfy their gnawing restlessness even in the midst of plenty. (Father Castelot is a professor of Scripture at St. John's Seminar),, Plymouth, Mich.) IIIllllllll I FOOD FOR THOUGHT What are some occurrences in life that cause people to take stock of the meaning of their existence? What are some occurrences that cause people to want to grow in faith -- to understand faith more, to live faith better? What does it mean to say that people need to discover and rediscover their faith throughout their lives? Nell Parent talks about the circumstances that led two people who were struggling with faith into adult parish programs. What two lessons does Parent draw from their experiences? -o.-o..o.. Secol'ld Help}rigs, conversion is an experience that should be "lived and tasted" rather than theorized about, says Emilie Griffin in Turning: Reflections on the Experience of Conversion. It needs to be talked about in quite practical, concrete ways. In a sense, "every conversion story is the same story," she writes. "It is in fact the story of Abraham, o Moses, of Jacob, the story of Paul. We know the plot in advance. The details differ only in their externals." Ms. Griffin describes conversion as "the discovery, made gradually or suddenly, that God is real. It is the perception that this real God loves us personally and acts mercifully and justly toward each of us." She adds that conversion "is not an event, not an action, not an occur- rence. Instead it is a continuing revelation and transforming force" in peo- ple's lives. (Image Books, Doubleday and Co. Inc., 245 Park Ave., New York, N.Y. 10167. 1982. Paperback, $4.95.) OW DO YOU ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR FAITH? When friends, neighbors or relatives ask about the Catholic Faith, do you struggle to find a simple explanation? Do you know where to find the answers? The Catholic Church Extension Society offers a new brochure that clearly explains the basics of the Catholic Faith as never before. In 16 easy-to-read, full-color pages, The Catholic Church -- Who Are We? invites readers to learn what Catholics believe and what the Church can offer them. This booklet gives practicing Catholics renewed pride in their faith, and is a perfect gift for anyone seeking to know what it means to be Catholic. The Catholic Church -- Who Are We?, produced in cooperation with Franciscan Communications, is part of Extension's commitment to extend the Catholic Faith across America. Yhe Catholic (Church FT 0901 tmXTIENSlIIN so=iw 35 E. Wacker 0rive Chicago, Illinois 80801 312 38-740 Enclosed is $____ for ___ Who Are We? at $1.50 each. copy(s) of The Catholic Church -- Name Address l City. State__Zip I I 1 rl I: ...... i ': /' ::i  ' ....  :  .... : :   : i ii i00il : z ,;  i,: