EG 121: Called To Maturity

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdalenePope Francis suggests evangelization is always a work in progress. What do you suppose he means by that?

121. Of course, all of us are called to mature in our work as evangelizers. We want to have better training, a deepening love and a clearer witness to the Gospel. In this sense, we ought to let others be constantly evangelizing us. But this does not mean that we should postpone the evangelizing mission; rather, each of us should find ways to communicate Jesus wherever we are.

The Church and world are not full of perfect evangelizers; only persistent ones.

All of us are called to offer others an explicit witness to the saving love of the Lord, who despite our imperfections offers us his closeness, his word and his strength, and gives meaning to our lives. In your heart you know that it is not the same to live without him; what you have come to realize, what has helped you to live and given you hope, is what you also need to communicate to others. Our falling short of perfection should be no excuse; on the contrary, mission is a constant stimulus not to remain mired in mediocrity but to continue growing. The witness of faith that each Christian is called to offer leads us to say with Saint Paul: “Not that I have already obtained this, or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Phil 3:12-13).

Pope Francis has said earlier in this document that Evangelii Gaudium doesn’t provide the full blueprint, but only an outline of topics and a beginning. Clearly this is one such beginning. Where are we to go from here? This would be a loose end for bishops and pastors to pick up from here, as well as lay people.

When we fall short of perfection, what are we called to do? Pray more intently, and add this to out intercessions. My suggestion is to read some of the more accessible evangelical materials produced by our Protestant sisters and brothers. They’ve been doing it effectively for decades. We also listen for the inner impulse from the Holy Spirit. Is there a call for study the Bible, join a prayer group, or attend a lecture or go to Mass more often? Then we do it. It all helps.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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