Week 15, Wednesday. Evangelizing Thought of the Day (ETD)

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

53. This subdued tone, which gives secularization its charm and seductive character, has also enabled it to enter the lives of Christians and Church communities, becoming not just an external threat to believers, but one inherent to everyday life. Traces of a secular understanding of life are seen in the habitual behavior of many Christians. The "death of God" proclaimed by many intellectuals in recent decades has given way to an unproductive, hedonistic and consumer mentality, which leads to a highly superficial manner in facing life and responsibility. In this way, faith runs the real risk of losing its fundamental elements. The influence of secularization in daily life makes it increasingly difficult to affirm the existence of truth, which, realistically speaking, eliminates the question of God from a person's examination of self. To respond to religious needs, persons revert to individualistic forms of spirituality or forms of neo-paganism to the point of forcibly spreading a general climate of relativism.
54. These dangers, however, must not overshadow the positive things which Christianity has learned from secularization. The saeculum is where believers and non-believers interact and share in a common humanity. This human element is the natural point for faith to enter and, consequently, can become the privileged place for evangelization. In the fully human nature of Jesus of Nazareth dwells the fullness of the deity (cf. Col 2:9). Purifying the human through the human nature of Jesus of Nazareth, Christians can create an encounter with people who exhibit a secularized mentality but continue to question what is really and truly human. Encountering these people in search of truth can help Christians purify and develop their faith. The inner struggle of people in search of truth, though not yet possessing the gift of faith, is a real incentive for us in our duty to live and witness to the faith, so that the true face of God can be seen by every person. In this regard, the responses showed great interest in the initiative of the "Courtyard of the Gentiles". (Instrumentum Laboris, “Chapter 2: Time for a New Evangelization,” paragraph 53-54)

The Lord will not abandon his people. (Psalm 94:15, Mass).

O God, Who show the light of Your truth
to those who go astray,
so that they may return to the right path,
give all who for the faith they profess
are accounted Christians
the grace to reject whatever is contrary to the Name of Christ
and to strive after all that does It honor.
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.

‘Charming and seducing’ describe secularization in the Instrumentum Laboris. Both words help to explain why secularism is so difficult to battle because each has more than a passing appeal to those areas of life that have yet to be fully configured to the sacrifical selflessness of Jesus Christ. Worse still is the fact that since the Church and Her members are in the world (not of the world) secularism has managed to sink deep tentacles into ecclesial life that have caused scandal leading people to ask, ‘Is there any difference between the Church and the world?’ It does not help when institutionally the Church chooses ways of decision making that have more in common with a Fortune 500 company than the Gospel.

  • Given secularism’s charming and seducing characteristics, how can the Church credibly speak to secularism’s dangers for the human person and human community?

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