EG 10: Life on a Higher Plane

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdaleneThe Holy Father cites the Aparecida document, paraphrasing one of the more difficult teachings of the Lord, that by the paradox of sacrifice, much is gained.

10. The Gospel offers us the chance to live life on a higher plane, but with no less intensity: “Life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort. Indeed, those who enjoy life most are those who leave security on the shore and become excited by the mission of communicating life to others”.[Aparecida Document 360]When the Church summons Christians to take up the task of evangelization, she is simply pointing to the source of authentic personal fulfilment. For “here we discover a profound law of reality: that life is attained and matures in the measure that it is offered up in order to give life to others. This is certainly what mission means”.[Aparecida Document 360]

A characteristic turn of phrase for Pope Francis introduces an idea that is not at all new, something Pope Paul VI raised with us at the very end of his 1975 document, one of the chief obstacles to fruitful evangelization–ourselves.

Consequently, an evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral! Let us recover and deepen our enthusiasm, that “delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing, even when it is in tears that we must sow… And may the world of our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope, be enabled to receive the good news not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervor, who have first received the joy of Christ”.[Evangelii Nuntiandi 80]

The recovery of enthusiasm can be a challenge–this I know from many years in ministry. There are days when I feel like I’ve been to a funeral. But these are the times to rely on God’s grace, and not our own cleverness or ideology or what-has-worked-before.

And for those of us who are without the glow, or who feel it fading, that is the time we can turn more intently to God.

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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.
This entry was posted in Evangelii Gaudium, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to EG 10: Life on a Higher Plane

  1. John Donaghy says:

    I think it is very significant that Pope Francis quotes a statement of several regional or national bishops conferences. I don’t think this happened in any earlier papal encyclical or apostolic exhortation (though I’d love to be proved wrong).
    Also, I think Pope Francis sees Evangelii Nuntiandi as an extremely important document (as do I and many in Latin America.)

  2. Todd says:

    I don’t think Europe’s bishops meet en masse. JP2 would have been an active serving bishop in his day. B16 only spent 4 years as an active bishop. And before Vatican II I doubt bishops’ conferences produced much of anything–it probably never occurred to them.

    Even so, it seems very significant that Aparecida is being quoted quite often. More than just because PF was one of the formulators of it.

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