This was the message relayed by Sonia Roco, Student Catholic Action of the Philippines (SCAP) Executive Director and wife of the late senator Raul Roco, to delegates of the 3rd SCA National Capital Region (NCR) Cluster Leadership Conference held at the College of the Holy Spirit Manila from July 19 to 21.
Roco called on young leaders to be heralds of faith in the present generation, noting that Catholics must heed the call of Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI to have a deepened and renewed understanding of the Christian devotion and give it a chance to lead people toward spiritual conversion.
“Faith is an encounter with God who speaks and acts in history who converts our daily lives, transforming our mentality, value judgment, choices, and concrete actions,” she said.
“We have to believe that in every situation we are into, we can make an act of faith and believe that it has the power of touching God,” she added.
Acts of faith
Roco urged the student leaders to do acts of faith everyday even just through small and simple means.
“We are being called to greatness in faith and service. What will you do? Will you give faith a chance?” she said.
“Every time you make an act of faith, the power of God comes out and fills you,” she added.
However, she noted that even if Christ offers Himself openly to His people, the laity must still exert efforts to heed the call of the church to renewed evangelization and keep a strong connection with Christ amid modern influences of secularization.
“The act of faith comes from God but our humble response is required. If God says, ‘Come to me,’ and you do not respond, the connection is still not established. God is always there, but if we do not connect, nothing will happen. The connection will come from your initiative, your response,” she said.
By letting oneself be evangelized, calling the Holy Spirit as an ally in this spiritual endeavor, and being a witness of the Risen Christ, one acquires the support needed to successfully heed the church’s call for a renewed understanding of one’s faith, she noted.
“A person of faith is someone who is not afraid to manifest his faith in his everyday life. He knows how to look at life as a whole for redemption and happiness for the future. Whoever believes is united with God, and it opens with grace and to the power of love,” Roco said.
Faith as ‘supernatural gift’
Roco described faith as a “supernatural gift” that is “given by God infused in our reason that enables our minds to go beyond the limits of reason.”
“It is the Lord that we should bring to others because it is He who touches hearts by His words and spirit, and by calling people to faith and communion with the church,” she said. “Show the importance of recognizing God and the prime mover in all apostolic activities which must always be preceded, accompanied, and followed by prayer.”
With the current state of the modern world, Roco described the Year of Faith as a “pilgrimage in the desert of today’s world.”
She urged people to live out the faith they possess by welcoming and proclaiming Christ in their lives and placing their intentions in the protection of Mary.
“Few are called to be evangelizers. It follows that you must do your work preceded by prayer,” she said.
She added that to be heralds of new evangelization, the laity must pass through a door of faith, which means embarking on journey that lasts for a lifetime—a journey that starts with baptism and ends with passing through death to eternal life.
“Let us enter the door of faith because it is always open for us…Do your part with all your heart, filled with love for others and God above,” she said. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)