Week 17, Wednesday. Saint Alphonsus Liguori. Evangelizing Thought of the Day (ETD)

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

74. The responses describe a very different situation in those places where the Church is in the minority. In those cases where Churches are free to profess their faith and live their religion, minority status is seen as an opportunity to give Christianity greater visibility, to seek avenues of involvement in the world and to work to bring about change. However, where persecution is part of the minority status, evangelization is more closely aligned to what Jesus experienced in his being faithful, even to the cross. Such a situation reveals the bond existing between evangelization and the cross. These Churches bear witness to this close association as a gift to the entire Church, a fact which these Churches should not overlook themselves. These Churches rightly serve as a reminder that evangelization cannot be measured in quantitative terms of success.
75. The renewal to which we are called is greatly assisted by the Eastern Catholic Churches and those Christian communities which, either in the past or in the present, are hidden, marginalized, persecuted and experiencing intolerance of an ethnic, ideological or religious nature. Their faith-witness, perseverance, resiliency, enduring hope and the intuitive character of certain pastoral practices are a gift to be shared with those Christian communities which, having had a glorious past, are now showing signs of weariness and a dispersion of energy. Churches unaccustomed to practicing the faith in a minority situation can certainly benefit from hearing experiences which can instill the necessary courage required in the work of a new evangelization. Even more spiritual benefits can come from welcoming those who are forced to leave their homelands because of persecution and who bear in their spirit the untold richness of the signs of martyrdom which they have personally experienced. (Instrumentum Laboris, “Chapter 2: Time for a New Evangelization,” paragraph 74-75)

God is my refuge on the day of distress. (Psalm 59:17, Mass).

O God, who constantly raise up in your Church
new examples of virtue,
grant that we may follow so closely
in the footsteps of the Bishop Saint Alphonsus
in his zeal for souls as to attain the same rewards
that are his in heaven.
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.

It is hard for many to grasp the reality of a Church that is universal. Often the experience of Church is limited to one’s parish and anything bigger, even on a diocesan level, is simply not on a person’s or community’s radar. While there is something natural about this, it has the potential of creating a rather insular view and experience of Church. Today’s selected paragraphs reference places in the world where the Church is a minority presence in culture or a persecuted community, or both. Due in part to a lack of knowledge of contemporary Church happenings, many people think persecutions refer only to those atrocities that happened centuries ago, in a land far removed from one’s sphere of living. Even when news of these difficulties are brought to people’s attention, there is an air that somehow this is unreal and does not affect me in my circle of Church life. The Instrumentum Laboris is clear that these communities have much to teach the rest of the Christian world that has perhaps become too comfortable, too cozy with the world. Hence the warning to the ‘bean-counter’ and assessment approach to evangelization: “evangelization cannot be measured in quantitative terms of success.”

  • When I hear of martyrdom or persecutions for the faith, what comes to mind - something remote in time and place or a current reality?
  • How comfortable have I become in living the life of Jesus Christ to the neglect of bearing the Kingdom in my life?

1 comment:

  1. If you read the small articles on the back pages of the newspaper, you find all kinds of stories of persecutions and martyrdoms (although they are usually not referred to as such by the secular press). It reminds us almost daily that what Jesus promised to his Apostles is also true for his disciples today - if they persecute me, they will persecute you. At least on the back pages of the newspaper, the Church is alive and well.