Week 20, Thursday. Saint Rose of Lima. Evangelizing Thought of the Day (ETD)

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

“And they devoted (προσκαρτεροῦντες, proskarterountes) themselves to the Apostles’ teaching (τῇ διδαχῇ τῶν ἀποστόλων, te didache ton apostolon) and fellowship (καὶ τῇ κοινωνίᾳ, te koinonia), to the breaking of bread (τῇ κλάσει τοῦ ἄρτου, te klasei tou artou) and the prayers (ταῖς προσευχαῖς, proseuchais).
And day by day, attending (προσκαρτεροῦντες, proskarterountes) the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook (μετελάμβανον, metelambanon) of food with glad and generous hearts (ἀγαλλιάσει καὶ ἀφελότητι καρδίας, agalliasei kai apheloteti kardias) and praising God (αἰνοῦντες τὸν θεὸν, ainountes ton Theon) and having favor (χάριν, charin) with all the people. And the Lord added (προσετίθει, prosetithei) to their number day by day those who were being saved (σῳζομένους, sozomenous) (Acts 2:42, 46-47).”

Praise the Lord for He is good; sing to our God for He is loving. (Psalm 147:1, Liturgy of the Hours: Morning Prayer).

O God,
you set Saint Rose of Lima on fire with your love,
so that,
secluded from the world in the austerity of a life of penance,
she might give herself to you alone;
grant, we pray, that through her intercession,
we may tread the paths of life on earth and
drink at the stream of your delights 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.

As mentioned yesterday, we are going to spend some time ‘breaking-open’ God’s Word from the Acts of the Apostles. The above-cited verses not only open chapter 3 of the Instrumentum Laboris, but they also provide a framework for grasping the Holy Spirit’s various challenges to the Church that are spelled out with clarity in “Transmitting the Faith (chapter 3, Instrumentum Laboris).” Building on yesterday’s reflections of how many came to be baptized (kerygmatic preaching), we turn today to examine how ‘being baptized’ (receiving and accepting the encounter with Jesus Christ) translates into ‘acting as a baptized’ (discipleship in the Lord Jesus).
In verse 42 and 46, we learn the first activity of the newly baptized is to “devote (verse 42)” and “attend (verse 46).” While translated into English differently in each verse, the Greek verb, προσκαρτερέω (proskartereo) – meaning “to remain with” “to stay by” or “to give of oneself” – is the same in both verses. προσκαρτερέω is used in these verses as a ‘present-participle’ meaning that the action is continuous. Biblically, when an action is continuous it can suggest that the activity is a manner of living or how one lives. In verse 42, προσκαρτερέω describes how the baptized live 4 specific facets of Christian discipleship. What προσκαρτερέω ‘does’ is to underscore what we might call the level of commitment or depth of dedication characteristic of the newly baptized. In receiving and accepting the Person Jesus Christ, the new baptized realize that there is something very different about their lives that require, by definition, a new way of living. This new way of living is not just ‘Jesus among other people and things’ in which everything and everyone has equal standing. It is the radical way of living Jesus expressed in the Sermon on the Mount: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all things will be given besides (Matthew 6:33).”
προσκαρτερέω, as a unique and total way of living the baptismal encounter in Christ Jesus, is the grounding of what Blessed John Paul II termed the “new ardor and courage” of The New Evangelization. While The New Evangelization embodies Jesus’ missionary mandate, while The New Evangelization seeks to remedy the reality of the baptized who no longer live Christ’s life – The New Evangelization also seeks to encourage more deeply those already engaged in the Christian mission.

  • What practically can be done to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in experiencing a ‘new ardor’ in our parishes and dioceses where apathy and indifference appear so intrenched?

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