They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles
and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.
Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders
and signs were done through the apostles.
All who believed were together and had all things in common;
they would sell their property and possessions
and divide them among all according to each one’s need.
Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together
in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes.
They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart,
praising God and enjoying favor with all the people.
And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
– Acts 2:42-47
The Apostles and the Early Church grew quickly in their faith as they took over the leadership and the spreading of the faith to the far reaches of the known world. Their faith could not remain in a simple, “infant like” form but had to develop quickly to meet the needs of the Church. Have you ever thought about what resources they had to develop their faith before the Bible, fellowship, and Bible studies?
As we discussed last week, the early Church had Mary as the direct connection to Jesus along with the Apostles’ own sharing of the life of Jesus. I can only imagine what the gathering of Mass was like when you could hear from the people who were taught directly by Jesus! What an amazing gift to be taught by the Mother who raised the Savior! Also, they had the guiding of the Holy Spirit whom they received at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit spoke to, invited, and challenged them in their faith journey. He kept them faithful to the teaching and mission of Jesus’ Church.
In addition to the communal gathering mentioned in the verses from Acts above, the Apostles and the early Church’s faith were nurtured from personal experience and sharing together. They could remember the words of Jesus that echoed still in their ears and in their hearts. They felt the depth of His love by recalling all the miracles He had performed, but most of all how He loved them despite their failings. The Apostles began to understand those years of His patient teaching of them. The parables now began to make more sense and their deeper meaning became to unfold for them. Their faith grew by leaps and bounds as they shared with each other the continual conversion of their hearts to the message of Jesus. Their fellowship, sharing of the faith, and reflection on Jesus’ message were truly the kindling that enabled their faith to develop new generations of Catholics.
As we continue to journey with the Apostles during this glorious Easter season, let us ponder what our faith age is? Do we still have the same faith that we received our First Communion or Confirmation with? What have we done to grow in our faith?
As a modern Church, we have a myriad of opportunities to grow in the faith from the comfort of our own home and through our Church community.
There are Bible studies that help us to engage directly with the word of God. Those Bible studies can be taken at the Church or from one of the many credible sources for Bible studies such as the following:
Other options are found in a Catholic podcast that inspires us to take the time to listen. There are so many amazing ones but here are just a few for those who might want a place to start:
- Catholic Sprouts (for families),
- Discerning Hearts (Spiritual formation, Church History, prayers, Saints, etc.)
- Abiding Together (for women)
- Word on Fire Show Podcast (weekly)
- Letters from Home (reflection of daily reading from St. Paul Center)
- The Catechism in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz)
- The Bible in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz)
- Or this list of great Catholic podcasts
To follow in the footsteps of the Early Church, find and support Catholic fellowship. That fellowship can be good friend(s) or a Church group to join. That group can help us to grow in your walk by supporting and calling us forward in your journey. Check the Sacred Heart fellowship webpage for a variety of fellowship opportunities.
Also consider supporting the Faith Formation of children by volunteering to be a catechist for next school year. This is an amazing way to grow our faith as we prepare weekly Faith Formation lessons and share with the next generation of Catholics.
Let us push ourselves to not just go to Church but to become the church to each other in the way that Jesus taught the Apostles!
Want your faith to age to mature?
Commit to doing something new to help to grow your faith age a little bit more, but even more importantly to fall more in love with Jesus and your Catholic faith!
Author: Laura Stephens