The prompt is this: "What the world is in particular need of today is the credible witness of people enlightened in mind and heart by the word of the Lord, and capable of opening the hearts and minds of many to the desire for God and for true life, life without end."
– Pope Benedict XVI, Apostolic Letter for the Year of Faith
In light of Pope Benedict XVI declaring this year the Year of Faith, describe how God may be calling you to become a credible witness to the faith, enlightened in mind and heart.
And here is the essay, right at 500 words. I think it's awesome, considering the word limit. I let my explanations speak for themselves, and I unfortunately could not explain some items in as great a depth as I could. If I had more freedom, I could probably have hashed out two to three pages. But, I have added some commentary, to explain what the readers don't get to see.
Evangelization in the Contemporary World
Credible witness to the Faith begins with participating in the sacramental life of the Church, particularly in the Divine Liturgy [I thought a more formal term for this was better, since the recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours is also a divine liturgy, and it is a better description of the service itself. Mass derives from 'missa,' which is from the dismissal, and doesn't actually make a whole lot of sense if you think about it]. I serve at the altar every Sunday and at as many extra liturgies as possible. Recently I have also begun serving the Traditional Latin Mass. “Introibo ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.” Serving the priest, the second Christ, engages my body and soul [No Descartes, they are not separate, but one. Thank you to Mr. O'Herron at Christendom, and also Supertradmum for getting me to realize this.] in Holy Mass, and forms my personal devotion to the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. As I hear the deacon sing, “Ite, Missa est,” I bear in mind the words of the Holy Father: “The Sacrament of the Charity of Christ must permeate the whole of daily life,” [from his 2012 Corpus Christi sermon] and to accomplish this, I confess at least twice a month.
Spiritual direction can come from unseen places. I attend a public school that is usually hostile to the Truth. My Theory of Knowledge teacher during my junior year lives a gravely sinful [I wondered if they can pick up what I meant by this...] life, yet he encouraged me to think more deeply about the Faith. At the year’s end, he said he wanted to know how I would handle complex moral questions in the world when I was about thirty. I wrote a list with qualities of particular saints I would like to imitate [the Blessed Mother, Joseph, Augustine, Francis, Bernard of Clairveaux, Dominic, Thomas Aquinas, Ignatius, Thomas Vander Woude, Emil Kapaun, Vincent Capodanno-not saints yet but soon., and have carried it with me ever since. 1 Tim. 4:12 says, “Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” [Thank you to the graphic from Generation Life where I first discovered this verse.] This year, after I developed a devotion to St Thomas Aquinas and was enrolled in the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, I learned that being a good friend and setting the example in imitation of Christ is more effective than using the tongue as a sword [Confession: I learned this phrase not in religious ed. but in AP European History....] I believe my witness is also more charitable, ‘willing the good of another,’ because I spend more time in daily prayer; I even stop to pray the Angelus at the end of French class.
During the Year of Faith, I have committed myself to two particular projects, since my devotion to St. Thomas Aquinas has gifted me with the grace to seek deep theological insights, for my own growth and to share publicly. First, I am reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church in its entirety. Second, I am writing a blog dedicated to the Faith, and I use social media to share quotes; I have also learned a great deal from other, more spiritually mature Catholics whom I have connected with through blogging and social media [Father Z, Mulier Fortis, several priests, and many, many others].
To prepare myself to be the best husband and father that I can be, I am already trying to follow St. Joseph and Thomas Vander Woude [no room in this essay to really discuss the family, sacrificial love, and friendship], whose cause for sainthood I wish to begin. I already can see some fruits of evangelization with a friend [who shall remain nameless for now, and in a way, it's sorta two friends], regarding my example as a Catholic man dedicated to the Faith and virtue. Perhaps she and others will convert one day, and I hope to die having married a saint, raised a family of saints, and influenced others to become saints.