Ad Gentes Up

Six down, ten to go. Introducing the newlyt organized page for Ad Gentes.

Over the years, Neil and I have contributed a handful of essays on many of the Vatican II documents. But not on Ad Gentes, at least none that have surfaced on a site search.

The search did net this sparkling essay from Neil, Mission as Telling the Story of Jesus, reporting on an address from then-bishop Luis Antonio Tagle, before he became a cardinal-archbishop papabile. I was struck by this reflection on the ecclesial value of listening:

A listening Church tells the story of Jesus. Stories find their completion in the listener. But stories that are imposed are not listened to. The Church in Asia must trust in the vitality of the story it offers, without any thought of forcing it on others. It is already a beautiful story that will surely touch those who have even a bit of openness. Pope John Paul II tells us in Ecclesia in Asia that we share the gift of Jesus not to proselytize but out of obedience to the Lord and as an act of service to the peoples of Asia. Let the story speak and touch. Let the Holy Spirit open the hearts and memories of the listeners and invite them to transformation. The multitudes of poor peoples of Asia can find compassion and hope in Jesus’ story. The cultures of Asia will resonate with the disturbing challenge to true freedom in Jesus’ story. The various religions of Asia will marvel at the respect and appreciation towards those seeking God and genuine holiness in Jesus’ story. The Church in Asia is called to humbly allow the Spirit to touch its listeners. As a storyteller of the Holy Spirit, the Church in Asia is to enter the worlds and languages of its listeners and from within them to tell Jesus’ story just like at Pentecost. But that means the Church in Asia must be a good listener to the Spirit and to the poor, cultures and religions if it is to speak meaningfully at all. A storytelling Church must be a listening Church.

About catholicsensibility

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