Evangelii Nuntiandi 78: Faithfulness to the Truth

The Christian believes that the Gospel provides for human liberation, peace, and a fulfillment of our destiny. This is an optimistic message as head to the concluding sections of Evangelii Nuntiandi, but they also place on all believers an important responsibility:

78. The Gospel entrusted to us is also the word of truth. A truth which liberates[Cf. Jn 8:32] and which alone gives peace of heart is what people are looking for when we proclaim the Good News to them. The truth about God, about (humankind) and (our) mysterious destiny, about the world; the difficult truth that we seek in the Word of God and of which, we repeat, we are neither the masters nor the owners, but the depositaries, the heralds and the servants.

We should temper expectations of ourselves by this news. Certainly, all believers should take their role as heralds and servants seriously. But … God is ultimately responsible. We do our best. Grace makes up the difference.

Every evangelizer is expected to have a reverence for truth, especially since the truth that (she or) he studies and communicates is none other than revealed truth and hence, more than any other, a sharing in the first truth which is God Himself. The preacher of the Gospel will therefore be a person who even at the price of personal renunciation and suffering always seeks the truth that (she or) he must transmit to others. (They) never betray or hide truth out of a desire to please (others), in order to astonish or to shock, nor for the sake of originality or a desire to make an impression. (They) do not refuse truth. (They) do not obscure revealed truth by being too idle to search for it, or for the sake of (their) own comfort, or out of fear. (They) do not neglect to study it. (They) serve it generously, without making it serve (the evangelizer).

Part of doing our best means preparing our humility (not being people-pleasers), our egos (not impressing others), our will (not refusing the truth), our courage (no fear), our minds (attending to study), and our hearts (serving others, not ourselves).

Individual affirmations for clergy:

We are the pastors of the faithful people, and our pastoral service impels us to preserve, defend, and to communicate the truth regardless of the sacrifices that this involves. So many eminent and holy pastors have left us the example of this love of truth. In many cases it was an heroic love. The God of truth expects us to be the vigilant defenders and devoted preachers of truth.

… for theologians:

(People) of learning- whether you be theologians, exegetes or historians- the work of evangelization needs your tireless work of research, and also care and tact in transmitting the truth to which your studies lead you but which is always greater than the heart of (a person), being the very truth of God.

… and for those who work with youth:

Parents and teachers, your task- and the many conflicts of the present day do not make it an easy one- is to help your children and your students to discover truth, including religious and spiritual truth.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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