Pope Francis, giving “Reasons for a Renewed Missionary Impulse” in Evangelii Gaudium, suggests a believer pray and work. He begins by making a very audacious statement:
262. Spirit-filled evangelizers are evangelizers who pray and work. Mystical notions without a solid social and missionary outreach are of no help to evangelization, nor are dissertations or social or pastoral practices which lack a spirituality which can change hearts.
Would some interpret this as a criticism of many Catholic intellectual and working strains? What is the problem if some dissertation expresses the truth?
These unilateral and incomplete proposals only reach a few groups and prove incapable of radiating beyond them because they curtail the Gospel. What is needed is the ability to cultivate an interior space which can give a Christian meaning to commitment and activity.[Cf. Propositio 36]
A balance of contemplation and action:
Without prolonged moments of adoration, of prayerful encounter with the word, of sincere conversation with the Lord, our work easily becomes meaningless; we lose energy as a result of weariness and difficulties, and our fervor dies out.
It is a matter of nourishing and sustaining the evangelizers of the Body.
The Church urgently needs the deep breath of prayer, and to my great joy groups devoted to prayer and intercession, the prayerful reading of God’s word and the perpetual adoration of the Eucharist are growing at every level of ecclesial life. Even so, “we must reject the temptation to offer a privatized and individualistic spirituality which ill accords with the demands of charity, to say nothing of the implications of the incarnation”.[Novo Millennio Ineunte 52] There is always the risk that some moments of prayer can become an excuse for not offering one’s life in mission; a privatized lifestyle can lead Christians to take refuge in some false forms of spirituality.
The appeal occasionally heard from introverts, for example, might suggest withdrawal into a personal refuge. But the missionary impulse asks many things of the various believers, and God is certainly well aware of the set of gifts of the extreme introvert, and may still urge an offering of those gifts in a certain way. Careful discernment is needed, not being just like everyone else.
His stance on this seems pretty Jesuit … the Spiritual Exercises retreat helps people get to know and love Jesus (the mystical), and that love in theory makes one want to follow him in his mission (the ‘work’). I’m not a real fan of evangelization, though … it seems like being a good example would be enough.