Week 16, Thursday. Evangelizing Thought of the Day (ETD)

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

65. Many responses, however, have voiced a concern about the naive and emotional character of this return to a sense of religion. Instead of being a gradual and complex development in a person's search for truth, the return to religion, in many cases, has not been a very liberating experience. Consequently, the positive aspects of rediscovering God and the sacred are viewed as impoverished and obscured by a fundamentalism which frequently manipulates religion to justify acts of violence and, in extreme but fortunately limited cases, even terrorism.
66. According to the responses, this is the framework for treating the pressing problem of the proliferation of new religious groups which can be likened to sects. In this regard, they repeatedly cite the contention in the Lineamenta that these groups exercise an emotional and psychological dominance and promote a religion promising prosperity and success in life. At the same time, some responses state that the situation needs to be carefully watched so that Christian communities will not allow themselves to be influenced by these new forms of religious experience and give in to the temptation to imitate their aggressive, proselytizing methods, instead of following the Christian approach to proclaiming the Gospel. On the other hand, the responses insist that Christian communities need to approach proclaiming the Gospel and providing pastoral care in the faith in such a way that the presence of these religious groups could serve as a means for these Christian communities to become more zealous and prepared to work towards giving individuals a sense of meaning in their lives.

67. This situation gives even greater meaning to the Church's encounters and dialogue with the great religious traditions which have grown over the decades and continue to intensify. These encounters are a promising opportunity to better perceive the complexity of the vocabulary and forms of the element of religion in humanity as seen in other religious experiences. Such encounters and dialogue also allow Catholics better to understand the ways in which the Christian faith expresses the religious nature of the human soul. At the same time, they enrich the religious heritage of humanity with the unique character of the Christian faith. (Instrumentum Laboris, “Chapter 2: Time for a New Evangelization,” paragraph 65-67)

With you is the fountain of life, O Lord. (Psalm 36:10, Mass).

Show favor, O Lord, to Your servants
and mercifully increase the gifts of Your grace,
that, made fervent in hope, faith and charity,
they may be ever watchful in keeping Your commands.
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.

For some who found the previous day’s discussion about religious revival interesting, today’s selections concerning the religious sector should put things into better perspective. “The return to religion, in many cases, has not been a very liberating experience” is a most telling statement. Similar to points raised earlier in the Instrumentum Laboris as well as in the Lineamenta, there is danger in the ongoing conversion experience when the intellect is not part of that experience. Not long ago, for example, a few people in different venues told me that I had to read ‘this book’ – a somewhat popular novel that sounded much like the Holy Trinity in the minds of these readers. I read the book and grasped a possible reasoning for the connections between the novel and the Holy Trinity. When I saw the group at a later date, I recommend some other titles, gems of the Christian Catholic theological and spiritual tradition. Even though these folks had never read the books I suggested, one immediately opined, “I’ll never understand it. They are way over my head and give me too much information.” Again, that statement was made without reading so much as a word from the titles I suggested.

  • Why do you think there is an aversion to any solid study of Catholic Theology?
  • Why do so many choose to leave the intellect out of any approach to Christian living?

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