The Month of Mary is a Great Opportunity for Scots to Deepen their Faith and Develop their Relationship with Jesus
by Anthony Horan
The tag line on our homepage is ‘The Catholic Faith in Scotland is Alive’. The sentence could have been constructed in a number of different ways; for example, it may seem more obvious to say ‘The Catholic Faith is Alive in Scotland’. However, we felt it appropriate to finish off the line with the word ‘Alive’. That’s the real message we want to get across through this site. We want the word ‘Alive’ to be the last word you read in our title because that is the true impression of our faith in Scotland.
Being alive is what our faith gives us. It gives us the confidence to be completely and unconditionally alive. Not just alive in ourselves or alive in our daily lives with our families and work colleagues; but more importantly, alive in Christ! God has given us life and we live each and every day with Jesus by our side. This is the case irrespective of creed, colour, race or religion. Jesus walks with each and every one of us through each and every day; through each and every hardship; through each and every bit of pain and suffering; and through the good times too!
This is being alive in Christ. It is being with him through our life journey. In the Catholic Church we are blessed by being able to receive our Lord and Saviour in the Eucharist. It is the gift left to us by Jesus himself in the upper room on the occasion of the Last Supper. By raising the bread and wine to the Father and specifying that the bread is his body and the wine is his blood and by instructing the disciples to “do this”, Jesus instructs the whole of mankind to partake in that Last Supper again and again. In receiving the Eucharist we become completely alive in Christ and we share in his Passion; we share in his Resurrection.
In Scotland, we are truly blessed to have Holy Mass available, not only on a Sunday, but through the week, particularly in our parishes around major cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh. This is essential for our faith as it makes us completely at one with the Lord in celebrating the Eucharist at Mass.
However, our faith journey does not stop there. In Scotland we are also blessed to have an incredibly active spiritual and social life in and around the Church. Why should our faith start when we dip our hands in the font on entry to the Church, and then end when we repeat that process on the way out? Isn’t Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross worth more? If he walks with us each and every step of the way on our earthly journey; if he is with us all that time; how well have we got to know him? Can we say with confidence that we have striven to learn more about his man who died for us and who never leaves our side?
In Scotland we have an opportunity to deepen that relationship with Christ; to get to know him better. One way to do this is to be around the Church, to be around our priests and religious who can teach us more about Christ. In May alone we have 21 events (that we know of) in and around Glasgow; events which afford us an opportunity to grow in our faith. These include a Vigil of Prayer at the Shrine to Our Lady of Fatima in Howwood, a children’s procession at St Andrew’s Cathedral, pro-life chain in Uddingston and various talks around the city on adult faith and education. Please check our events page for full details of all of these events.
Looking further ahead, into June and July, there is significant evidence of an increasing youth movement within the Church with the next instalment of the wonderful Nightfever event (click here for details) in mid-June and Scotland’s very own ‘Rio’ between 25 and 28 July; an event that will afford young people in Scotland the opportunity to spiritually join the Holy Father and thousands of youngsters in Rio for World Youth Day. Fore more information on World Youth Day and Scotland’s Rio, click here.
Sometimes it is hard to think outside the box with faith and to consider other options for investing time and developing our relationship with Jesus. It’s often a case of feeling a bit awkward about attending these types of event for the first time, not knowing what to expect. Will it be full of over-zealous religious nuts who will rush to judgement and castigate anyone who doesn’t reach a required standard of zeal? Will people want to rope me into things around the Church that I don’t feel comfortable doing?
Well, it’s fair to say that there is always the risk of being roped into Church work; but only if you want to do it! There is no compulsion. And as for the over-zealous religious nuts, these people don’t exist in my experience. These events are an opportunity for everyone to grow in faith and are a source of real spiritual joy. The key thing to remember is that everyone is there for ultimately the same reason; to grow in faith. We all just want to be closer to God, closer to Jesus.
In Scotland, we are truly blessed with a strong, vibrant faith spanning all ages. Perhaps now, with so much going on around us, it is the perfect time to develop our relationship with that Saviour who walks in our shadow, longing for our love and longing for us to turn around and take a step towards him.