Week 14, Saturday. Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. Evangelizing Thought of the Day (ETD)

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

45. What is the "new evangelization?" Blessed Pope John Paul II, in his first discourse to the bishops of Latin America, sanctioned and defined the term which received great resonance in the Church: “The commemoration of this half of the millennium of evangelization will achieve its full meaning, if as bishops, with your priests and faithful, you accept it as your commitment; a commitment, not of re-evangelization, but rather of a new evangelization; new in its ardor, methods and expression.” Some time later, at a different time, addressing the Church in Europe, the Pontiff made a similar appeal, emphasizing "the urgent need for a 'new evangelization', in the awareness that 'Europe today must not simply appeal to its former Christian heritage: it needs to be able to decide about its future in conformity with the person and message of Jesus Christ'."
46. In its initial stage, the new evangelization responds to a demand that the Church have the courage to rise to the occasion in order to take bold steps in revitalizing her spiritual and missionary vocation. Christian communities, affected by the strong social and cultural changes taking place, need once again to find the energy and means to ground themselves solidly in the presence of the Risen Christ, who animates them from within. They must allow themselves to be guided by his Spirit so that they can newly experience the gift of communion with the Father which is theirs in Jesus Christ, and, in turn, offer to others this same experience as the most precious gift that can be possessed. 47. Responses to the Lineamenta were in accord with the words of Pope John Paul II. In addressing the specific question — "what is the new evangelization?" — many overwhelmingly indicated that the new evangelization is precisely the Church's ability to renew her communal experience of faith and to proclaim it within the new situations which, in recent decades, have arisen in cultures. The same phenomenon is taking place in both the North and South and the East and West; in both countries with an age-old Christian tradition and countries which have been evangelized within the last few centuries. The coalescing of social and cultural factors — conventionally designated by the term "globalization" — has initiated a process which is weakening traditions and institutions and thereby rapidly eroding both social and cultural ties as well as their ability to communicate values and provide answers to perennial questions regarding life's meaning and the truth. The result is a significant fragmentation of cultural unity and a culture's inability to hold fast to the faith and live the values inspired by it. (Instrumentum Laboris, “Chapter 2: Time for a New Evangelization,” paragraph 45-47)

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name through all the earth!. (Psalm 8:2, Liturgy of the Hours: Morning Prayer).

O God, Who desired the Virgin Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha
to flower among Native Americans in a life of innocence,
grant, through her intercession,
that when all are gathered into your Church
from every nation, tribe and tongue,
they may magnify you in a single canticle of praise.
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.

The next section entitled “The Question of a “New Evangelization,”” gets at an important question: just what is the “New Evangelization?” Papal teaching is quite clear that what makes the New Evangelization “new” is essentially its pastoral methodology expressed in the Instrumentum Laboris as “ardor, methods and expression.” The Who and What of evangelization remains unchanged: the Person, Jesus Christ. “How” He is proclaimed constitutes the newness of evangelization in our times. This is not something new for the sake of new: it is to address the alarming, painful and urgent situation in our Church – many have left the practice of the faith. Remedying the situation is not about forming another committee, sitting through interminable meetings and developing programs. These activities often produce nothing except more bureaucracy, reams of reports and frustration. Paragraph 46 suggests that an initial step involves recapturing both the spiritual and missionary elements of ecclesial life, followed by ‘de-fragging’ the divisions that have moved into life and culture and have eroded the sense of the Sacred (paragraph 47).

  • As an individual believer grounded in the life of Christ and His Body the Church, how can you foster both the spiritual and missionary elements of life?
  • What cultural fragmentation do you deal with in life? How will a spiritual and missionary vision of life heal that fragmentation?

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