PRAYING WITH THE CHURCH

12/24/2018 12:01:17 PM
December 2018

 

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INTENTION: That people, who are involved in the service and transmission of faith, may find, in their dialogue with culture, a language suited to the conditions of the present time.

Christ teaches us how to evangelize, how to invite people into communion with him, and how to create a culture of witness: namely, through love.

 

A Christian life lived with charity and faith is the most effective form of evangelization. Evangelization testifies to the transformative power of the Gospel and the mission of the Church to sanctify society, hand on the faith to future generations, strengthen the faith of her members, and renew the faith of those who have slipped away from the Church: "Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses," . . . It is therefore primarily by her conduct and by her life that the Church will evangelize the world, in other words, by her living witness of fidelity to the Lord Jesus - the witness of poverty and detachment, of freedom in the face of the powers of this world, in short, the witness of sanctity. (Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, USCCB, 1975, #41)

 

The faithful become agents of evangelization through living witness and commitment to the Gospel. The everyday moments of one's life lived with Christian charity, faith, and hope provide witness to family members, friends, neighbours, colleagues, and others who have stopped actively participating in the life of the Church. This witness is essential for reaching others in today's modern world.

 

The witness of Christians, whose lives are filled with the hope of Christ, opens the hearts and minds of those around them to Christ. This openness to Christ is a moment of conversion (metanoia). It is the moment in which a person's life is reoriented to Christ, when he or she - by grace - enters into a relationship with him and thus enters into a relationship with the community of believers, the Church. "The purpose of this [new] evangelization is to bring about faith and conversion to Christ. Faith involves a profound change of mind and heart, a change of life, a metanoia," (National Directory for Catechesis, USCCB, #17A)

 

The New Evangelization does not seek to invite people to experience only one moment of conversion but rather to experience the gradual and lifelong process of conversion: to draw all people into a deeper relationship with God, to participate in the sacramental life of the Church, to develop a mature conscience, to sustain one's faith through ongoing catechesis, and to integrate one's faith into all aspects of one's life.

 

The process of conversion and evangelization must include the witness of the Church through her members in the everyday living out of the Gospel. In light of today's cultural contexts and situations, many struggle with how to create a culture of witness that will invite our missing brothers and sisters back to the Lord's Table.

 

Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization was developed as a resource by the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

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