Don't get me wrong—I often do receive wonderful consolations from living in a family, from living a life of Grace, from trusting that God's plan is bigger and more wonderful than I can imagine. I have good feelings and good times, and I'm grateful for all the gifts in my life.

When I talk about rice and beans, I'm referring specifically to consolation in the spiritual life—the warm fuzzies, the vibrant prayers, the delight in learning some new teaching or practice of my faith of which I was unaware, the newness of it all, the first blushes of love that make you come back again and again to prayer and Adoration with longing and gratitude.

I think this Year of Faith is designed specifically for the soul who feels dryness at times, who feels depleted, who perhaps knows their faith, and knows it well, but who's lost the loving feeling. I picture it sort of like mid-life marriage counseling: Of course we're still in love, but let's make it better. I don't want to reinvent myself alone. I want to reinvest in our love. 

I am appreciating the simplicity of the Year of Faith, and some of the guidelines our Bishops have provided for living it out. 

Go to Mass: have Faith that Christ is present in the Eucharist and that when you receive him he animates you whether you feel anything or not. 

Go to Confession: believe that your sins are truly forgiven, even when you don't leave the confessional in tears. 

Read the Bible: even when you feel you've read it a thousand times before, it is amazingly, always new, because it speaks to you at the particular state of life in which you read it. 

Learn about the lives of the Saints: if you think your life is dull, look to others who've gone before you for inspiration.

Read the Catechism and Vatican II: reflect on them, and perhaps spend less time arguing with others about what we think these documents mean.

Help those in need: Nothing takes your mind off yourself like engaging in practical ways in the suffering of others.

We can approach the Year of Faith like a child, like a beggar, like a poor young man rather than a rich one, like someone who believes there is still so much in this 2000-year faith tradition that we can learn. If there's a particular virtue required for approaching the Year of Faith, it is humility.



Read more from the Patheos Year of Faith series here.