The Catholic Church has declared October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013 as The Year of Faith. As a committed Christian and theologian-psychologist I applaud this emphasis.
I believe The Year of Faith expresses the heartfelt cry of Christians worldwide to draw close to the Lord Jesus Christ in our modern day. As Paul says, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).
I want to share with you some of Pope Francis' first apostolic letter “Lumen Fidei” (“The Light of Faith”). I do this with admiration for his spirit of pastoral care, and with the conviction that he is speaking on behalf of the Body of Christ, Catholics and Protestants alike:
The light of faith is unique, since it is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence. A light this powerful cannot come from ourselves but from a more primordial source: in a word, it must come from God.
Faith heralds the transforming power of belief in Jesus. Faith does not merely gaze at Jesus, but sees things as Jesus himself sees them, with his own eyes: it is a participation in his way of seeing.
We trust the architect who builds our home, the pharmacist who gives us medicine for healing, the lawyer who defends us in court. We also need somebody trustworthy and knowledgeable where God is concerned. Jesus, the Son of God, is the one who makes God known to us.
Faith makes us aware of a magnificent calling, the vocation of love. It assures us that this love is trustworthy and worth embracing, for it is based on God's faithfulness which is stronger than our every weakness.
To receive the transforming power of Jesus requires a personal transformation, a journey never completely finished in this life. But we can benefit from psychological and spiritual tools that help us move forward. One of these is the Self Compass. The Self Compass helps us renew our personal conversion to Jesus and cooperate with the Holy Spirit in guiding our daily lives.
This Vatican endorsed model for personality transformation is based on Christ's personality and lets the radical new reality of his resurrection shape our personalities. By applying the Self Compass growth tool, your life can be purified and transformed during this Year of Faith.
LOVE & ASSERTION
Faith is deeply connected to personality health. Faith helps to counter the corrosive effects of anxiety, depression, and anger. The Self Compass promotes personality health and thereby increases a person's faith.
Love and Assertion are two complementary compass points within every person's Self Compass. What is the connection between faith and Love? In order to love God or another person, we must reach out to them. We must open our hearts. We must risk caring for them. This requires faith! I have counseled hundreds of people who suddenly received this insight and gasped: "Oh no, now I realize I've lived my whole life to be safely self-contained. I've been too afraid to ever really love anyone."
To grow in Love requires the courage of Assertion. Mary risked trusting the Angel Gabriel's message to her. Though she no doubt felt some fear, and though she certainly didn't know how she could become the Mother of our Lord, she ended the conversation assertively: "May everything you have said about me come true" (Luke 1:38). Mary dared to assertively express faith in the God whom she loved and trusted. We can become more like Mary.
WEAKNESS AND STRENGTH
Spend a few concentrated moments today or tonight hungering and thirsting for Christ’s presence in your life. Don’t be afraid of any Weakness. Integrate your vulnerability and even self-doubts into your faith in God’s Strength. The Catechism says, “Only faith can embrace the mysterious ways of God’s almighty power. This faith glories in its weaknesses in order to draw to itself Christ’s power” (273). Out of Weakness we are made strong. This humble Strength is what God loves to foster in us. A rhythm between Weakness and Strength never makes us arrogant.
The Self Compass helps you cooperate with grace, so that you may be transformed in Christ. To help your journey of faith this year, I'm including a link to God and Your Personality: Revised & Expanded Catholic Edition. You can imagine my humble gratitude when I was notified that this book has been added to the Vatican Library.
Paul Cardinal Poupard of The Vatican has this to say: “God & Your Personality is no New Age influenced waffle clouded in a mystique of blurb, but a useful tool for all those who seek to address personality issues and quench their innate spiritual thirst with the living-water which truly satisfies.”