PRAYING WITH THE CHURCH

10/1/2021 9:48:09 PM
October 2021

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INTENTION : That every baptised person may be engaged in evangelisation, available to the mission, by being witnesses of a life that has the flavour of the Gospel.

The Call to Live as Missionary Disciples

The call to evangelise is at the heart of our Christian faith. We are evangelisers at our core; it makes up our very identity. And yet, if we were to ask most people sitting in the church pews at Mass if they are evangelists, they would probably shake their heads and identify themselves in other terms: vocation, occupation, role in the family, country of origin.

The laity are experiencing an "identity crisis." We do not know or have forgotten who we are as members of the Body of Christ and what our role is within it. Today, Pope Francis echoes his predecessors in reminding the laity of their call to become missionary disciples. This is a call that originates from God Himself, with the Risen Christ saying to his beloved disciples before ascending to the Father, "Go and make disciples of all nations." These words reverberate ever more powerfully for us today.

Though the universal call to holiness and a greater emphasis on evangelisation has roots in the papacy of Pope Paul VI and within the Second Vatican Council, Pope Francis calls the concept of sharing our encounter with Jesus Christ using the means available to us "missionary discipleship."

"The new evangelisation calls for personal involvement on the part of each of the baptised," writes Pope Francis in The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium). "Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelisation; indeed, anyone who has truly experienced God's saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love." Once we have encountered Jesus Christ and His merciful love, we are called to bring that encounter to others, therefore playing a unique role in salvation history.

Below are five practical tips we came up with for living out the call to be a missionary disciple.

1. Collaboration

If we are to be missionary disciples, we must be people of collaboration. This does not mean that we attend endless meetings, join committees, or fill every moment of our schedule. We propose collaboration from the beginning, which means a willingness to begin an endeavour communally with others-recognising the valuable role each person has. Collaboration must happen among, for, and with those in our parishes and organisations. It requires openness to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, humility, dialogue, and flexibility. How can you learn from others in your community, parish, family, workplace, or neighbourhood? How might God use the gifts and talents of a diverse group of people to strengthen His kingdom on earth?

2. Technology

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to use the tools of this present age in order to re-present the Gospel to our world in a way that is innovative and re-invigorated. Today, an important tool that can be used to spread the Gospel message is technology, especially the internet. We can share valuable digital content, such as Scripture, the Catechism, and Papal and Conciliar documents, to become better informed about our faith. Technology can also create a new type of community, enabling us to connect with others and share information in a way that is cost-effective and not limited to physical proximity.

What are some ways you can use technology to spread the Gospel and help build a civilisation of love?

3. Community/Parish Life

We do not exist in isolation. As Christians, our work of evangelisation will not bear much fruit if we do it alone. Our community, especially our parish, strengthens us and equips us to go outside our church walls in order to evangelise. It is within the parish that we receive the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, which gives us the grace of Christ Himself. In order to be effective as missionary disciples, we are called to have a vibrant sacramental life strengthened by our communities. Does your parish community strengthen you for your mission of discipleship?

4. Relationships

Relationships outside of the parish are also crucial to missionary discipleship. As mentioned above, we do not exist in isolation. Do we have a mentor or spiritual guide helping us to grow in our faith life? By developing faith-filled relationships and surrounding ourselves with mentors and guides, we ensure that we continue to grow in our role as missionary disciples.

5. Prayer

Prayer is crucial not only to a life of missionary discipleship but to the Christian life overall. Prayer is the foundation for our relationship with God, inviting us to get to know ourselves more deeply through his gaze of love and mercy and helping us to understand better our specific mission in building up the Body of Christ. Prayer can and should be both personal and communal. God speaks in the silence of our hearts, as well as through others.

Are we carving out time in silence to converse with God and hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit? Do we read Scripture, pray the Rosary, journal, sing hymns, or reflect? By having an active prayer life, we will be better equipped to become fruitful missionary disciples.

The call to missionary discipleship is both daunting and exciting, and we can live it out at any time. As Pope Francis wrote in The Joy of the Gospel, "Being a disciple means being constantly ready to bring the love of Jesus to others, and this can happen unexpectedly and in any place: on the street, in a city square, during work, on a journey."

Kate Fowler MD,
Leadership for the New Evangelization
from the Augustine Institute in Denver,

Colorado. USA.

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二零二一年 十月  第三百五十九期

和平 之聲    嘉理陵神父

願每位領受洗禮者都能以充滿福音喜樂和隨時待命的生活見證參與福傳

著洗禮,我們都成為跟隨基督的基督徒,恆常透過祂在福音給予的教誨,跟祂學習,最終接受祂的派遣,成為跟隨祂的宗徒。在一定程度上,我們的生命與教會的生命相連,有分於教會把真理與平安帶給世界,在身處的世界中延續耶穌的公開生活的使命,為基督作見證。此乃教宗在祈禱意向中所說的參與福傳。

月的祈禱意向,也許會讓許多人,那些幾乎將福傳與修道和司鐸生活畫上等號的人,感到疑惑。當然,除了直接宣講福音之外,還有很多不同的福傳途徑。我們可以不同的方式,參與或支持慈善團體的活動,即使這些組織未必有天主教,甚或基督宗教的背景。我們特別可以透過祈禱,來確保自己的參與具真正的信仰幅度和宗教意義。例如,我們可以選擇一所為兒童謀福祉的機構,作金錢上的支援,並特別為機構的某些兒童祈禱等。小小的想像力已經可以為拓展天國帶來無限的可能性。

二零二一年 十月《和平》

邁向天主有很多不同方法

在十月份,我們為兩位同樣叫德蘭的聖女舉行感恩慶典(十月一日和十月十五日)。兩位都是加爾默羅隱修會的修女,但國籍、文化和背景都不同。身為加爾默羅會的隱修女,她們的靈修和生活方式都很獨特,但兩人活出加爾默羅這獨特聖召的實質生活,卻相當不同 ── 這個不同不是我們一般所謂的相反。

懷著真正的基督徒態度去看待不同,我們必須承認,「不同」是身為天主子女,值得慶賀和享受的多元豐盛的一部分。

教會明確表揚並嘉許兩位聖女德蘭成聖的不同方式 ── 兩位都是加爾默羅修女,卻以不同的方式回應天主的恩寵和大愛。兩位聖女以同一種受教會表彰的靈修,但以兩種不同的方式回應天主;兩種方式都備受教會賞識和慶賀。

為兩位聖女德蘭是真確的,為全體天主子民同樣是真確的,即我們在彌撒中誦念的信經所包含的一個更大範圍。教會不需要將一種靈修,或一種虔誠投入奉獻的方式,強加於全體信眾。我們都像聖保祿在羅馬書8:21所教導的:都是得享光榮自由的天主子女。我們可以隨從自己所感覺到,有助自己更穩步邁向天主的方式,度我們的基督徒生活。

耶穌會士
嘉理陵神父

theology.org.hk
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