Godtalk: The New Evangelisation
What's ‘new’ about the New Evangelisation? What’s new is the recognition that we have to present the Gospel today in three principle settings, as Pope Francis explains.
“In first place, we can mention the area of ordinary pastoral ministry, which is animated by the fire of the Spirit, so as to inflame the hearts of the faithful who regularly take part in community worship and gather on the Lord's day to be nourished by his word and by the bread of eternal life.
In this category we can also include those members of the faithful who preserve a deep and sincere faith, expressing it in different ways. but seldom take part in worship.
Ordinary pastoral ministry seeks to help believers to grow spiritually so that they can respond to God's love ever more fully in their lives.
A second area is that of the baptised whose lives do not reflect the demands of Baptism, who lack a meaningful relationship to the Church and no longer experience the consolation born of faith. The Church, in her maternal concern, tries to help
them experience a conversion which will restore the joy of faith to their hearts and inspire a commitment to the Gospel.
Lastly, we cannot forget that evangelisation is first and foremost about preaching the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ or who have always rejected him. Many of them are quietly seeking God, led by a yearning to see his face, even in countries of ancient Christian tradition. All of them have a right to receive the Gospel.
Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone. Instead of seeming to impose new obligations, they should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet.
It is not by proselytizing that the Church grows, but by attraction.”
That attraction will show in the way we think, the way we speak, the way we live. ’Preach the Gospel wherever you go', said St Francis of Assisi, ‘Even use words if necessary.’
Peter Knott SJ