Week 14, Thursday. Evangelizing Thought of the Day (ETD)

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

43. The causes of the social changes which we have witnessed in recent decades are complex, tracing their origins far back in time and radically affecting our perception of the world. The positive aspects of these changes are visible to all and are seen as invaluable contributions which have permitted the development of human culture and increased knowledge in many fields. However, these changes have also caused many to take a critical look at values and some fundamental aspects of daily life which deeply affect people's faith. In this regard, Pope Benedict XVI stated: "If on the one hand humanity has derived undeniable benefits from these changes, and the Church has drawn from them further incentives for bearing witness to the hope that is within her (cf. 1 Pt 3:15), on the other hand, there has been a troubling loss of the sense of the sacred, which has even called into question foundations once deemed unshakeable, such as faith in a provident creator God, the revelation of Jesus Christ as the one Saviour, and a common understanding of basic human experiences: i.e., birth, death, life in a family, and reference to a natural moral law. Even though some consider these things a kind of liberation, there soon follows an awareness that an interior desert results, whenever the human being, wishing to be the sole architect of his nature and destiny, finds himself deprived of that which is the very foundation of all things."
44. This critical situation in society — and also in the Christian life — demands a response. At this special moment in history, the Church needs to see how to muster greater energy in rendering an account for the hope we share (cf. 1 Pet 3:15). The term "new evangelization" calls for a new manner of proclaiming the Gospel, especially for those who live in the present-day situation which is affected by the growing trend of secularization, taking place to a great extent in countries with a Christian tradition. With this in mind, the idea of a new evangelization has come to term in the Church and has been implemented in a great variety of ways in an ongoing study up to now about its precise meaning. Initially, the new evangelization was primarily viewed as a necessity, then as a work of discernment and finally as an impetus for the Church in our times. (Instrumentum Laboris, “Chapter 2: Time for a New Evangelization,” paragraph 43 and 44)

O shepherd of Israel, hear us, You who lead Joseph like a flock: enthroned on the cherubim, shine forth upon Ephraim, Benjamin, Manasseh. Rouse up your might and come to save us. (Psalm 80:2-3, Liturgy of the Hours, Morning Prayer).

O God, Who in the abasement of Your Son
have raised up a fallen world,
fill Your faithful with holy joy,
for on those You have rescued from slavery to sin
You bestow eternal gladness.
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 final paragraphs of “Time for a New Evangelization” begin on a balanced note concerning advances in contemporary society. While acknowledging complex factors that have shaped current culture, the Instrumentum Laboris notes elements of cultural advancement that have contributed to both society and Church alike. One might ponder, though, whether the ‘cost’ of such advancement is worth the loss of the sacred and the escalating secularism that bellows an odious narcissism aggressively attempting to redefine fundamental realities of the natural order.

  • Pope Benedict spoke about an “interior desert” that forms when humanity seeks to be the architect of her or his destiny. How can the Church help all people to discover “the interior desert”?

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