What is faith?
Faith is, above all, a gift from God and an act of grace which transforms the heart of the believer.
“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.” (Hebrews 11: 1-3)
Faith is our response to God, who reveals himself and gives himself to us, at the same time bringing us a superabundant light as we search for the ultimate meaning of our lives. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 26)
Ways to deepen your own faith
Pray every day
Prayer means intentionally communicating with God whether you talk or simply listen. Thank God for the love, beauty, peace, kindness, gentleness, forgiveness, and joy you encountered today. Sit quietly in front of the Blessed Sacrament tabernacle in your parish church; look with love and gratitude at God… as God gazes back at you with love.
Show up at Mass every Sunday
Arrive early. Ask God to let you recognize when God is speaking to you during the Mass. Listen closely to every prayer and every Scripture reading. Join in the responses to the prayers and in the singing. Stay until the last note of the final hymn has faded. Leave the church to glorify the Lord with your daily life in the upcoming week.
Get a Bible and read it
Read it to yourself or to someone else. Read it every day for the rest of your life.
Make sure the text is easy to read (size of the font or type). Get a New Revised Standard Version – Catholic edition (NRSV-CE). This is the translation we hear at Mass in Canada. The Catholic Bible Society publishes an inexpensive one.
Get a Bible with lots of study helps inside, such as a Catholic Bible for youth (St. Mary’s Press or Harper Catholic Bibles have good ones) or The Catholic Faith & Family Bible (Harper Catholic Bibles).
Get a guide to the Bible such as Scripture 101: an Intro to Reading the Bible by Rev William Parker, CSsR, or The Scripture Source Book for Catholics.
A book called a “concordance” (which helps you find verses in the Bible when you only remember a word or two) is also a useful tool. Your pastor may have one, or you can buy one at your nearest Catholic bookstore.
Learn what the Catholic Church believes
Start with a copy of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church or a YouCat (a simpler version of the catechism written for youth). Each of these books provides a concise recap of the essential and fundamental elements of the Church’s faith. The complete Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes and explains the totality of what the Church believes, celebrates, lives, and prays.
Attend inspirational events
Sign up for a workshop offered by the diocese or your parish. Participate in Eucharistic adoration. Go on a pilgrimage, watch a Biblical movie, attend a concert of sacred or Gospel music, or join a Scripture study in a nearby Catholic parish. If you can afford to, go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Rome, Assisi, Lourdes, Fatima, or other holy sites around the world.
Sign up and attend a Catholic Scripture study
If there isn’t one in your parish, ask your pastor to start one or work with him and volunteer to lead it yourself! Leaders and facilitator(s) need to be gifted at leading and facilitating. You do not have to have a degree in theology, nor be a Scripture scholar to lead a published program. Usually the program outlines the process to follow clearly enough for ordinary Catholics.
Visit a Catholic bookstore near you and buy a good book to read
Start with something by one of our Popes, or Henri Nouwen, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Hilaire Belloc, John Henry Newman, Peter Kreeft, Fr. Ron Rolheiser, Bishop Robert Barron, Dr. Scott Hahn, Jeff Cavins…
Participate in or create a small Christian group or community formed around people’s interests and giftedness
For example, form groups of mothers, fathers, empty-nesters, newly retired, new immigrants, professions (accountants, lawyers, doctors), widows and widowers, new graduates, or suddenly singles. Gather together regularly to pray, share life, and pray with one another. You may follow a Scripture study or another adult faith program. Small groups provide everyone with a small band of folks with whom to journey through life… like Jesus did.
Start and maintain a prayer chain (through phone, email, or texting) for everyone in your small group and, by extension, the entire parish. Select a group leader who will be called when someone needs prayer; the group leader then notifies the others about the need.