Yesterday was the feast of Christ the King. The feast day is normally notable because it brings the end of the liturgical year and heralds the coming of Advent in only 7 short days. This year, it also marked the conclusion of the Year of Faith. Last year, Pope Benedict inducted the Year of Faith, calling all Christians and indeed, all people, to make time to seek and grow in a walk of faith with the Lord.
The Year of Faith provided me a focus and a goal at numerous times during the past year. I am already a bit nostalgic at its passing. I challenged myself to pray more earnestly for myself and others, attend daily Mass more often with children in tow, and talk more openly about matters of faith with my children and acquaintances. But, as with the turning of any page, I look back and I wonder, 'did I take full advantage of the opportunity? Could I have grown more? Did I make enough of a difference?"
The answers to those questions are inevitably 'no, yes and no.' But, there is good news. Our walk of faith, and our opportunities to share it, doesn't end with the Year of Faith. Pope Francis touched on this yesterday during his message at the closing Mass of the Year of Faith:
"Jesus’ promise to the good thief gives us great hope: it tells us that God’s grace is always greater than the prayer which sought it. The Lord always grants more, he is so generous, he always gives more than what he has been asked: you ask him to remember you, and he brings you into his kingdom! Let us go forward together on this road! " ~Pope Francis, November 24th 2013, Closing Mass for the Year of Faith
When we look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, we are at the beginning, not the end, of a journey. As the Year of Faith ends, the road is still long, there is still work to be done, faith to be found, and love to be lived. He remains with us to help us on our way.