This makes me think… about the role of Christian friendships and community in the Year of Faith

[T]he Year of Faith is a path, an opportunity, that the Christian community offers to the many people who possess a longing for God and a profound desire to meet him again in their lives. It is essential, therefore, that believers recognize the responsibility to provide an authentic companionship of faith, to become a neighbor to those who seek the reasons for and explanations of our Catholic beliefs. These opportunities, provided by the Year of Faith to form authentic friendships in faith, bring to the fore the very question of community. The new evangelization tends to make our sense of personal identity grow in relation to our sense of belonging to the community. A sociological tendency of our time presses us to distinguish between ‘identity’ and; ‘belonging’, as if it were a question of two contradictory realities. There is nothing more dangerous, in my opinion, than this contra-position. A belonging which was without identity could not be defined as belonging; it would remain always bound to a form of living together in society which modified its own coordinates according to the changing of the seasons, without any possibility of impressing upon them a real sense of common feeling and of active participation. From the reciprocal relationship which exists between identity and belonging there arises the possibility of verifying how the new evangelization can be effective and fruitful. Without a strong Catholic identity, by means of which our awareness of our own responsibilities in the world may grow, it will not be possible to understand even the requirement of belonging to the Christian community; on the other hand, without a deep sense of belonging to the Church, it will not be possible to have an identity which is aware of the mission it discharges. Identity and belonging determine our understanding of the permanent formation which applies to Christians in view of an ever more adequate knowledge of the faith, one which corresponds to each one’s own state of life. A knowledge of the contents of the faith which remains linked to the adolescent stage could never allow someone to grow in their identity as a believer, no matter what roles they might occupy in civil society. In the same way, the lack of these contents often impedes people’s own social, political and cultural action in harmony with their belonging to the Church. A fissure between identity and belonging is likely one of the causes which have contributed to the current crisis.

The Year of Faith will attempt to fuse this very rupture between identity and belonging, thus, increasing the faith of believers, who in the face of the daily pressures and challenges of life do not cease to entrust courageously and with conviction their lives to the Lord Jesus.

~Archbishop Fisicheslla of Sydney, Austrailia, “Jesus at the Heart of the New Evangelization”


Related: You might be interested in listening to Among Women 146: “The Power of a Praying Friend”