That's what the Center for Disease Control always tells us this time of year. We are entering into peak cold and flu season and health professionals are constantly urging all of us to get sufficient rest, maintain a healthy diet, take precautions against germs and viruses, develop good washing habits, and get immunized.
So people, get boosted and fortified!
That's also the message that has been proclaimed by our Church, with particular urgency, for over a year now. November 24, Christ the King Sunday, marks an end of the Year of Faith that was proclaimed last year by Pope Benedict. It has been a year in which we have been reminded, over and over again, that we need to boost and fortify our faith.
So we round now the final lap of this Year of Faith and, just as in the final lap of any good race, the rallying cries and cheers of encouragement spur us on, to turn it up full gear, and to finish strong.
We need the protection that our Catholic faith offers from all that attacks our spirit and weakens us. A good dose of Catholic doctrine can ward off heartaches and discouragement. It can bring to us clarity of thought and help us to recognize and avoid all that harms us. That’s why it’s so important to study the faith -- maybe especially the teachings that have most troubled or bothered you. Within every Catholic teaching there awaits a valuable treasure for those who are willing to dig deeply. Don't rest until you find the good news within every Church teaching.
We grow strong too through a healthy diet of prayer and the Sacraments. Some of the Sacraments we receive only once, like Baptism and Confirmation, and we are sealed or immunized for life. Others, like the regular washing of Confession and without exception the daily Bread of Life that is the Eucharist, are like super doses of grace and should be a regular part of our spiritual diet and routine. We need to be bolstered by God's invisible grace.
This Year of Faith has reminded us how important it is to give attention to our spiritual life and to make faith a priority. Growth in faith and holiness will not happen unless we are intentional about it. So resolve to pray more and to pray better. Tread deeply into the mystery for within lies the glory. Study and learn. In a posting last week I listed some of the books on my reading list. Share with one another what is edifying you.
The final stretch in the Year of Faith is upon us. It urges us to turn it up and finish strong -- for the great crown of glory awaits those who will persevere unto the end. U-rah-rah Nativity!