Renewed Faith

This piece comes from Jerusalem.  Here I am, in great company of fifty priests from the archdiocese, on a ”retreat-pilgrimage.”

Can you think of a better place to renew faith in God and hear again the call to discipleship from His Son, Jesus?

We are keeping your intentions in our prayers, as well as those of our Jewish neighbors, for whom this land is especially holy.

It’s said that reading or listening to the Bible is never the same after a pilgrimage to Israel.  I’d agree.

Of the multiple spiritual fruits of a retreat here, one stands out for me:  we have a God who has intimately and powerfully inserted Himself into our history.  As the old saying has it, it actually becomes “His-story.”

So, our God revealed Himself personally to people whose names are still revered here:  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David . . .

And, for us Christians, God actually entered history in His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who walked this sacred ground.

This is important for us.  We Americans live in a culture formed by the Enlightenment.  In many ways this is very good.

Part of the Enlightenment is Deism, which holds that, while there is, indeed, a Supreme Being, it is distant, aloof, impersonal.  This Divinity has set creation, and our lives, in motion, and now leaves us alone, to greet us one day when it’s all over.

We Christians (and Jews) do not have a Deistic approach to God.  For us, God is personal; He has revealed Himself to us, entered into covenant with us, called us, formed us, and is intimately part of history.

We Christians dare to take it a step further as we profess that this God took flesh in Jesus Christ, the mystery we call the Incarnation.

Tough to settle only for Deism at Bethlehem, Nazareth, the shores of the Sea of Galilee, the Mount of the Beatitudes, Cana, Capernaum, Naim, Bethesda, and Jerusalem. . .

See why one’s faith is renewed?

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6 Responses to “Renewed Faith”

  1. Nancy Whalen says:

    Thank you for sharing this experience. Your witness and the witness of others like Bishop Jenky, Father Barron, Father Klamut, Monsignor Brownsy, the Kenyon priests who are at our parish in Peoria and all my school of community friends from CL are amazing and abundant gifts from God. It is the fuel that keeps me going.
    God Bless.

  2. Irene says:

    My understanding is that life is very difficult for Palestinian Catholics in the Holy Land. I have purchased craft items from Palestinian Catholics and my parents, when they went on pilgrimage to Israel, patronized Catholic-run businesses, but I think we need to do a lot more than that. It would be terrific if the USCCB would launch a concerted advocacy and fundraising campaign so that we better-off Catholics in America could help Palestinian Catholics in need.

  3. Pete Ascosi says:

    Archbishop Dolan,

    Thanks for sharing. The incarnation is truly magnificent… Glad your faith is being renewed in Israel.

    in Jesus,
    Pete

  4. Theresa says:

    Dear Archbishop Dolan,

    Thank you for the wonderful post and for the prayers! I am sure you are receiving many graces from being in the Holy Land. I have never visited but hope to visit soon! I am sure you are inspiring many to renew their faith there during the upcoming Year of Faith.

    I am keeping you and the other priests in prayer and may Our Lady of Loreto protect you on your return.

    Blessings!

  5. My heart hears you, Archbishop, and I am called to remember my own journey to the Holy Land. You are so right about renewal and (for some of us who never really knew our faith) it can be a time of spiritual awakening!

    May your pilgrimage be a time of rest and renewal. May you be strengthened to continue to fight this good fight of faith. As you walk hand in hand with our Mother Mary, may she guard you in the folds of her mantle and intercede always on your behalf!

    Thank you, Cardinal-Elect, for the witness of your faith and for your courage to share Truth in Love! Your fidelity to Christ and to His Church has strengthened my own resolve to live out His call to discipleship in my own life!!

    Safe journey…

  6. Dr. Frank Marotti says:

    The threat to Catholics posed by President Obama’s health care mandates regarding contraception and abortion, like a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, present U.S. Catholics with a tremendous opportunity for a renewal of our faith. Let us use it well!