79. At times our media culture and some intellectual circles convey a marked scepticism with regard to the Church’s message, along with a certain cynicism. As a consequence, many pastoral workers, although they pray, develop a sort of inferiority complex which leads them to relativize or conceal their Christian identity and convictions. This produces a vicious circle. They end up being unhappy with who they are and what they do; they do not identify with their mission of evangelization and this weakens their commitment. They end up stifling the joy of mission with a kind of obsession about being like everyone else and possessing what everyone else possesses. Their work of evangelization thus becomes forced, and they devote little energy and very limited time to it.
As a family man, I’d have to say the thinking is there, in part. Even compared to clergy, my family vacations are quite modest. Priests I know go to Rome, Ireland, the Caribbean. My last getaway alone with my wife (while the young miss was at camp) was in Duluth on the shores of Lake Superior. Not hardly a tropical romantic spot. I find more real the temptation on the other side: a self-satisfaction of my relatively impoverished state, compared to bishops, clergy, and the breadwinning spouses of some of my lay colleagues.
How to find the energy and avoid the poison? It requires attention, at least from me.
Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium is available here.