Bishop Pedro Pablo Elizondo Cardenas of Cancun, Mexico urged the faithful to live their God-given faith courageously and share it with others during the Year of Faith which opens Oct. 11.

"The commitment of our faith is to share it, the commitment of our faith is to always evangelize, in all places and in every way that the Holy Spirit inspires us," Bishop Elizondo Cardenas said in an Oct. 5 message.

The Year of Faith, declared by Pope Benedict XVI, is slated to begin on Thursday and will serve to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.

In his statement marking the event, Bishop Elizondo Cardenas called faith a treasure "received freely from God," but adding that it demands "we care for it and protect it, because the enemies of God want to rob it from man's heart."  

Faced with these threats, the faithful have the example of the martyrs, who "preferred to lose their lives rather than lose the faith."

While faith is a gift from God, he noted, it is also "a true act of our freedom, and therefore it is up to us to prepare the soil of our souls to be able to receive the gift, make it grow and produce abundant fruit," the bishop said.

"Believing involves the intellect, the will, the conscience and the heart," he said. "It changes our life and gives new meaning to our existence."

"Faith is like the flame of a torch or a candle which when shared, does not burn out but instead multiplies and grows."