Week 13, Friday. Evangelizing Thought of the Day

DAILY SEQUENTIAL EXCERPTS from The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith – Instrumentum Laboris:

31. Evangelization consists in proposing the Gospel which transforms the human individual, his world and his personal story. The Church evangelizes when, in virtue of the power of the Gospel proclaimed (cf. Rm 1:16), she takes every human experience and gives it rebirth through the death and resurrection of Jesus (cf. Rm 6:4), immersing each one in the newness of Baptism and life according to the Gospel and in the Son's relationship to his Father, so as to feel the power of the Spirit. The transmission of the faith is the goal of evangelization which, according to the divine plan, is to bring all people through Christ to the Father in the Spirit (cf. Eph 2:18). This experience of the newness of the Gospel transforms every person. Today, we can hold to this conviction with greater surety, because history has left us extraordinary examples of courage, dedication, boldness, intuition and reason in the Church's work of bringing the Gospel to every person, acts of holiness which are displayed in a variety of notable and significant ways on every continent. Every particular Church can boast of persons of outstanding holiness, who have been able to give renewed power and energy to the work of evangelization through their activities and, primarily, through their witness. Their example of holiness also provides prophetic and clear indications in devising new ways to live out the task of evangelization. They have repeatedly left us accounts in their writings, prayers, models and methods of teaching, spiritual journeys, journeys of initiation into the faith, works and educational institutions.
32. While strongly referring to the power of these examples of holiness, some responses also mention the difficulties in making these experiences contemporary and transmissible. Sometimes, it seems that these historical works not only belong to a past age, but are almost confined there, because they lack the ability to communicate the evangelical character of their witness in the present-day. The Synod is asked to discuss these difficulties and attempt to discover the underlying reasons why the activities and witness of various Church institutions lack credibility when they speak as bearers of the Gospel of God. (Instrumentum Laboris, “Chapter 1,” paragraph 31 and 32)

Cry out with joy to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness. Come before him, singing for joy. (Psalm 100:1-2, Liturgy of the Hours: Morning Prayer).

O God, Who through the grace of adoption
chose us to be children of light,
grant, we pray,
that we may not be wrapped in the darkness of error
but always be seen to stand in the bright light of truth.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever.

Proposing the Gospel in such a way that transforms the person, the person’s world and the person’s story is a task that is joined to proposing the lives of the saints so that their witness may not remain ‘just a story’ shackled to a particular historical era. Both are urgent tasks because they serve a greater hermeneutic of the New Evangelization: the personal encounter with the Person Jesus – Who, in the power of the Holy Spirit – leads all people to His Father through Word and Sacrament in His Body, the Church.

Too often, even among the parishioners who are ‘engaged in the parish,’ a school, an organization or an activity defines parish participation and as such, is the essence of Faith practice for that person or persons. Many in pastoral ministry know well the difficulties when a parish school closes or a cherished, time-honored activity of the parish that was inaugurated by a relative generations ago ceases to be. In dealing with much of the emotion that naturally surfaces in these events, it is quite difficult to hear any talk of the Person Jesus, His Word and Sacraments.

  • How do we propose the Faith so that the encounter with Jesus Christ is experienced as central?
  • What do the lives of the Saints have to offer us today in our current cultural climate?

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