Skip to main content

Operation Evangelization

I try to keep up with what is afoot in the Anglican Communion. The current Anglican turmoil serves as a serious harbinger of danger as it follows the path advocated by many dissident (read “spirit of Vatican II”) Catholics. It has been heartbreaking to watch the Anglicans move farther and farther from Rome and become way too cozy with moral relativism. Currently, many of the world’s Anglican bishops are meeting in Lambeth for their once-a-decade gathering. It is a tumultuous gathering with nearly one third of the Anglican bishops boycotting the meeting because of the disagreements with the American and Canadian churches. The Church of England struck a blow to reconciliation with Rome when it endorsed the ordination of women as bishops just days before the conference began. As part of the conference program, Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Roman Catholic Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples addressed the Anglican bishops. His speech was a masterpiece of evangelization. Read the whole thing, but this is one of the more remarkable passages:

The theme of evangelisation must be considered in the wider context of the spiritual combat which began in the Garden of Eden with the fall of our first parents, in the wake of fierce hostilities between God and the rebel angels. If this context is ignored in favour of a myopic world-vision, Christ's salvation will be conveniently dismissed as irrelevant.

The spiritual combat, described in the Books of Genesis and Revelation, has continued unabated all down the ages. St Paul described it in very vivid terms: "We are not contending against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph 6:12). This combat rages fiercely even today, aided and abetted by well-known secret sects, Satanic groups and New Age movements, to mention but a few, and reveals many ugly heads of the hideous anti-God monster: among them are notoriously secularism, which seeks to build a Godless society; spiritual indifference, which is insensitive to transcendental values; and relativism, which is contrary to the permanent tenets of the Gospel. All of these seek to efface any reference to God or to things supernatural, and to supplant it with mundane values and behaviour patterns which purposely ignore the transcendental and the divine. Far from satisfying the deep yearnings of the human heart, they foster a culture of death, be it physical or moral, spiritual or psychological. Examples of this culture are abortions (or the slaughter of innocent unborn children), divorces (which kill sacred marriage bonds blessed by God), materialism and moral aberrations (which suffocate the joy of living and lead often to profound psychic depression), economic, social and political injustices (which crush human rights), violence, suicides, murders, and the like, all of which abound today and militate against the mind of Christ, who came that "all may have life, and have it in abundance" (Jn 10:10). Two vital institutions of the human society are particularly vulnerable to such a culture of death: the family and the youth. These must, therefore, receive the special attention, guidance and support of those whom the Holy Spirit has placed as shepherds of the flock entrusted to their pastoral care.

Whereas, in the past, the traditional areas of evangelisation were the heart and the home, health and education, care of the sick and the aged, we cannot ignore the new horizons which must be illumined by the light of Christ. Recalling St. Paul's preaching about the "unknown God" in the Areopagus of Athens, we must be aware of the many modern Areopagoi which need to be evangelised today: among these are notably the mass media, the world of science and technology, of politics and social communications, of refugees and migrants, and others.

Then there is the vast gamut of non Christian religions and cultures, with their varied scriptures and sages, prayers and symbols, places of worship and ascetical practices, each exerting a deep influence on the thoughts and life-styles of its followers. This mosaic of religious and cultural -isms is now complicated by a deep questioning about man's identity and purpose in life, rising from the human and social, as well as the physical sciences. While this soul-searching questioning about human life and purpose could be an appropriate context for the proclamation of the Gospel, many answers being proposed in our post-modern world have become disconnected from authoritative sources of moral reasoning, ignoring the transcendental dimension of life and seeking to make God irrelevant. In the Western world, which is increasingly becoming distanced from its Christian traditions and roots, a context of moral confusion has ensued, and sound Christian ethical and moral principles and values are under threat from various quarters.

In the face of such a world context, we Christians - and Bishops, in the first place - can ill afford to remain on the sidelines as passive spectators, or to fall back on a purely maintenance mode, trying to cling on to worn-out clichés, and hiding our light under a bushel (cf Mt 5:15). True to our mission to be "salt of the earth" and "light of the world" and "leaven in the dough", we must be pro-active, and not merely reactive, in reading the signs of the times and projecting our missionary thrust, firmly convinced that He who holds the destinies of humankind in His hands has promised to be with His disciples till the end of time. And hence, as a Chinese proverb goes: "Instead of cursing the darkness, let us light a candle".

You may notice a theme in my most recent blog posts: God calls each of us to a mission; each of us has a unique role to play in Salvation History; each of us must discern our vocation. I didn’t plan to make this the message of the week. It just seems this concept keeps popping up all around me. It is like a spiritual call to arms. The Holy Spirit is saying, “Forward march!” As part of the Church Militant, I guess I better salute smartly and get going!


Anonymous said…
In your post, you put the following words into italics:

"God calls each of us to a mission; each of us has a unique role to play in Salvation History; each of us must discern our vocation."

This may be a dumb question, but I am curious if those words come from somewhere else? If so, could you point me in that direction and tell me precisely where those beautiful words originated?

Thank you.
Catholic Mom said…

The words in italics are my own. I put them in italics to illustrate the theme that seems to be taking hold of my blog posts recently. I am happy you enjoy them!
battfam said…
I am not in any way advocating any non-Christian religion. That said, many Eastern traditions have held for thousands of years that the true mission of life is to find one's vocation (although different traditions use different words) through real and sometimes difficult "discernment," to use your word. This philosophy should speak to us as Christians even more because we have been given and accept the Gift He has given us, a tremendous gift that was only given 2,000 or so years ago. That gift is Jesus. I think your words are beautiful and wise. Mankind has been searching for thousands of years. Now is the time for us Christians to listen for God's call to each and every one of us.

Popular posts from this blog

Parent Letter from a Catechist

I am going to be teaching seventh grade CCD this year. We do most of the preparation for confirmation during this year since Confirmation is usually scheduled for the fall of the eighth grade year.I have composed a letter to the parents to try and keep them active in their children's religious education. I thought I would post it here and get your feedback before I send it out in a couple of weeks.

I am privileged to be your child’s seventh grade CCD teacher for the 2006-2007 school year. This is a very important year. We will focus on your child’s preparation for confirmation. Of course, you have already been preparing your child for this sacrament for many years. You are the primary catechist for your child. You show how important your Faith is by making Mass attendance a top priority and by family prayer.

Confirmation is one of the Sacraments of Initiation. It is a beginning. It is not a graduation. This year we will work to solidify the foundation of your child’s Catholic Faith.…

Dispelling the Myth of the Travel Dispensation

One of the fun things about having a site meter on my blog is I can see which posts garner the most attention. I can also see how people find my blog. One of the most read posts from my two years of blogging is this one that discusses finding Mass while traveling. I would like to think this post is so popular because it is so well written. The truth of the matter is that it generates so much traffic because I use the words “travel dispensation for Mass”—as in “There is no such thing as a travel dispensation for Mass.” I would guess that nearly a dozen times every week, someone googles “travel dispensation for Mass” and finds my blog. I wonder how many of these folks are poor souls trying to assuage their Catholic guilt with evidence of a justification for missing Mass while on the road.

I know that when I tell my seventh grade CCD students that attending Mass every Sunday is a commandment (one of the top ten!) and not just a pretty good idea they are amazed. Missing Mass has become so …

United Breaks Guitars

This guy is really talented and what a creative way to get your message across. I think he captured the "indifferent employee" perfectly. They don't just work for airlines. I think I ran into them at Walmart on Friday!