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26 October 2012
Following the Synod’s work, we as ICCRS would like to share the interventions of the charismatic auditors to this special meeting. In the same way, we publish the intervention of His Eminence Card. Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, through which he highlights beautifully the work that the movements and the new communities are carrying out by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Each of the interventions have been a prophetic cry from what the Spirit is saying to the Church today: the need for a New Pentecost that impels the New Evangelisation. Find next the texts of the speeches:
In no.115 of the Instrumentum Laboris we read that “another gift of Divine Providence to the Church is the flowering of groups and movements, oftentimes in a spontaneous, spirit-filled manner, dedicated primarily to the proclaiming of the Gospel.” The Magisterium of the last Pontiffs affirmed in many circumstances this providential nature of the “new season of lay association”, emphasizing the close relationship with the “renewed Pentecost” of the II Vatican Council. Specifically, Blessed John Paul II did not miss pointing out the missionary dynamism of movements and new communities that represent a true gift of God both for new evangelization and for missionary activity properly so-called. I therefore recommend that they be spread, and that they be used to give fresh energy, especially among young people, to the Christian life and to evangelization, within a pluralistic view of the ways in which Christians can associate and express themselves.” Pope Benedict XVI also restated that “The Ecclesial Movements and new Communities are a providential instrument for a renewed missionary outreach; welcome and promote them in your Dioceses”. And on another occasion he encouraged the bishops to welcome them “with great love”. Unfortunately, movements and new communities remain a resource that is not fully appreciated in the Church, a gift of the Spirit and a treasure of grace still hidden from the eyes of many Pastors, perhaps fearful of the innovation that they bring to the life of the dioceses and parishes. The Holy Father is well aware of this difficulty, and thus exhorts the Pastors to “not extinguish charisms. If the Lord gives us new gifts we must be grateful, even if at times they may be inconvenient”. It demands, therefore, a true “pastoral conversion” of bishops and priests, called to recognize that these movements are above all a precious gift rather than a problem. The missionary impulse of these new realities, indeed, does not arise from an emotional and superficial enthusiasm, but springs forth from very serious experiences which call for the formation of lay faithful in an adult faith, able to respond appropriately to the challenges of secularization. The novelty of their actions, therefore, is not to be found in their methods but in their ability to reaffirm the centrality of God in the life of Christians, a fundamental question in the teachings of the Holy Father Benedict XVI. For the task of new evangelization as well, the old scholastic saying is valid: operari sequitur esse, because our doing always expresses what we are. Evangelization is not only and not so much a question of “knowing how to”, but above all a question of “being”, that is, being true and authentic Christians. Nevertheless, the methods of evangelization adopted by movements and new communities are seemingly quite different, truly multiform, but all ascribable to the “three laws of the New Evangelization” which the then Cardinal Ratzinger formulated for catechists and teachers of religion on the occasion of the Holy Year of 2000: first of all the “law of expropriation”, or rather not speaking in one’s own name but in the name of the Church, maintaining that “evangelization is not simply a way of speaking, but a way of living”, that is to say the clear knowledge of belonging to Christ and his body (Church!) which transcends the ego. The second is the “law of the mustard seed”, that is, the courage to evangelize with patience and perseverance, without aiming to obtain immediate results, always remembering that the law of great numbers is not the law of the Gospel. It is an ability that we can recognize, for example, in the work of evangelization undertaken by movements and new communities in the most secularized areas of the world. The third “law” is that of the grain of wheat, which must die in order to give life, must accept the logic of the cross. In these laws is hidden the deepest secret of the effectiveness of the evangelical commitment of the Church in all times.
If Joseph and Mary lost Jesus in Jerusalem, something similar may happen today in the wanderings of our Church. Five centuries ago we left the joyful First Proclamation and took refuge in the sacraments, dogmas and catechisms; which are not bad, so long as they come after the First Proclamation. Not before, and above all, not in its place. Some lost the Word, and preferred the full plans of human knowledge. I would not allow myself to state that we have lost Jesus, but I wonder... - Do we really consider everything as loss and rubbish, upon “knowing Christ Jesus my Lord”? (Ph 3: 7-8). - Do we experience the joy of he who has found hidden treasure? (Mt 13:44). - Why in many acts of devotion is it so difficult to find the Risen Christ, alive? - If the Risen Christ does not appear to all people “but only to the witnesses” who go to proclaim the Gospel (Hech 10, 40:42), can we say that we have had a personal encounter with living Jesus, who identifies us as witnesses? The people of God repeat and demand to us: “We want to see Jesus”. Paul failed at Areopagus because he spoke of the resurrection but not of the Risen Christ, while Peter obtained a rich haul in Jerusalem because he “pierced the heart” with the sword of the Spirit. The problem is not that the Catholic Church does not evangelize, but rather that at times it is the “non-evangelized” who evangelize. This is to say that some evangelizers have not yet risen to Jordan to have personal experience of the love of God, and have not yet entered into the Last Supper to experience their personal Pentecost. The pedagogy of the faith is like a football match, played in two halves: the first part is the First Proclamation. The second is the catechesis and theology. Therefore the evangelizers play in the first half, the catechists and teachers, the second. Just as Joseph and Mary returned to find Jesus in the place where they had left him (Lk 2:45), so we too return to Jerusalem, where we find an empty tomb!
Four specific areas which need attention in the context of the “New Evangelization”: 1. The centrality of the role of the laity: More than any other section of the Church community, the laity are in the world and involved in all the seven sectors listed in Instrumentum Laboris (Art. 51-67). Realizing the importance of the laity in reaching out to crucial areas of the secular world, working along with the clergy, is vital to the “new evangelization”. 2. The significance of reaching out to Asia: We need to focus on the evangelization of Asia, given the growing economy of Asia, the fast growth of CHINDIA (China and India) and the large number of migrations from Asia to different parts of the world. Evangelizing the laity in Asia will in turn become the most effective tool for world evangelization. 3. The urgency of forming young missionaries: Considering that there are three billion people aged below 25 on this planet, there is a pressing need to form these youngsters as missionaries. In the Jesus Youth, we take the following 7 steps to build youth as missionaries: 1. Reach out and invite them into a friendly group; 2. Orient them to an encounter with the Lord; 3. Integrate them into a community and faith culture; 4. Help them to discover their call and charisms; 5. Provide catechesis to build their Catholic faith; 6. Motivate and send them for mission; 7. Help them partake in the life of the movement and its culture of mission and commitment. 4. The emergence of new ecclesial movements and lay missionaries: The new ecclesial movements mentioned in Article 115 have given rise to the new phenomenon of lay full-time missionaries which is indispensable for the "new evangelization". Many lay people are being called to forsake full-time jobs and serve as missionaries. Armed with great professional skills and better access to secular avenues, they take the Gospel to the farthest reaches of the world where the Church struggles to enter. The Church needs to recognize and encourage such lay missionaries and support their formation, for the "new evangelization" to be truly effective.
No. 39 of the Instrumentum laboris states that: “Many particular Churches request that the Synod determine whether the lack of effects in evangelization today... is primarily the result of ecclesial and spiritual factors”. The Servant of the Lord Paul VI forty or so years ago said: “What do we need, first and last, for this, our blessed Church? The Church needs her perennial Pentecost: she needs fire in her heart, the Word on her lips, prophecy in her gaze” (General Audience, November 29th 1972). New men are needed for a new evangelization. Where there is the Spirit of God, there is the future! Where His presence is invoked and His charismas welcomed and put into practice, the Church flourishes again, prayer becomes proclamation, joy knows no fatigue and the service of man reveals the charity of God. Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have indicated the new evangelizing energies that many of the lay faithful are putting to the service of the Church, thanks to the new pedagogies of faith experienced through the different charismas of the ecclesial Movements and the New Communities. The mother of all the crises we suffer is spiritual. It is urgent that we return to the Holy Spirit, praying more than theorizing, ensuring that the dogmatic faith is always accompanied by charismatic faith. The new evangelization is better prepared in community life and with trust in fraternity rather than with planning and revision.
Visit the Vatican website to find all the interventions.