The New Vision

About faith and good works

Posted on by Admin

When is the best time for adults to learn more about their faith? Is it when they experience a serious crisis of faith and desperately need to clarify concerns? Is it when they realize they’re starting to take their faith for granted and it doesn’t mean as much to them? Is it when they’re skipping Mass or on the verge of becoming a “Catholic in name only”?
The answer is “now is the best time for people with urgent issues.” Don’t put it off or let it simmer. Seek help from a priest or deacon to try to resolve concerns. The worst thing is to do nothing and assume their differences are irreconcilable.
For people with less pressing issues, maybe it’s time to sign up for an adult religious education class in their parish. Faith is a dynamic thing which needs periodic updating. Options for classes vary. Some meet weekly from September to June, while others last only a few days or weeks. Over the years I’ve tried them all. I’ve loved the sense of community among the adults attending long-term classes, but when my time was limited, I often found a one-day or one-evening course or retreat rewarding.
Some classes cover specific topics. Others are less-structured, like one in my parish, St. Francis de Sales in Tucson, which bills itself as a “free-flowing discussion of the Bible” and affords its members opportunities to ask questions on a variety of topics pertaining to their faith or to clear up misconceptions that go back to their childhood experiences.
Growing in one’s faith is critical, but faith without good works is not enough. Countless people perform good works quietly and make a difference every day in the lives of their family members, neighbors and friends. For those interested in volunteering, here are just a few organizations which provide help and hope to people in need: the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Knights of Columbus, Reachout Women’s Center, Casa Maria, Marriage Encounter, Rachel’s Vineyard, and the Sister Jose Women’s Shelter.
There are numerous ways to serve, including making sandwiches for the homeless, participating in grief support groups, teaching religious education classes, being a Hospital Eucharistic Minister, Eucharistic Adorer or Order of Christian Initiation for Adults sponsor, knitting booties and hats for newborn babies or serving as a Eucharistic Minister, usher or choir member at Mass.
I often remember the words of a priest who taught a Bible class I attended. He told the class, “God didn’t make us perfect, but He made us good.” I believe God rejoices whenever we try, no matter how imperfect our efforts, to learn more about our faith and serve others.

Pat Wargocki is a professional writer and member of St. Frances de Sales Parish in Tucson.

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