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Elements of the New Evangelization

The New Evangelization is not a program. It is a mode of thinking, seeing and acting. It is a lens through which we see the opportunities to proclaim the Gospel anew. It is also a recognition that the Holy Spirit continues actively to work in the Church.
At its heart the New Evangelization is the reproposing of the encounter with the Risen Lord, his Gospel and his Church to those who no longer find the Church’s message engaging. I believe there are three distinct, but interrelated stages:
a) the renewal or deepening of our faith both intellectually and affectively; Vgl. Bisschoppensynodes, fragment, Instrumentum laboris "Nieuwe evangelisatie voor het overdragen van het christelijk geloof" (27 mei 2012), 24.37-40.118-119.147-158
1. a new confidence in the truth of our faith; Vgl. Bisschoppensynodes, fragment, Instrumentum laboris "Nieuwe evangelisatie voor het overdragen van het christelijk geloof" (27 mei 2012), and
2. a willingness to share it with others. Vgl. Bisschoppensynodes, fragment, Instrumentum laboris "Nieuwe evangelisatie voor het overdragen van het christelijk geloof" (27 mei 2012), 33-34.81
The New Evangelization begins with each of us taking it upon ourselves to renew once again our understanding of the faith and our appropriation of it in a way that more deeply, willingly and joyfully embraces the Gospel message and its application today.
Following on our efforts to renew our own appreciation of the faith should be a new confidence in the truth of our message. Unfortunately, we have for too long seen this confidence eroded by an appropriation of so much of the secular value system that has been lifted up in the past decades as a superior and better way of life than the one proposed by Jesus, his Gospel and his Church. In the educational and theological culture reflective of the hermeneutic of discontinuity, too often the vision of the Gospel was clouded and a sure, confident voice gave way to apologies for what we hold and believe.
In the Gospel we read how Jesus taught with authority (Mc. 1, 21-22). He taught out of his own self identity. Jesus has authority because of who he is. “I am the way, the truth and the life” he proclaimed (Joh. 14, 6). This divine pedagogy remains the model for us today. The truth – the very revelation of who Jesus is – he shares with us through the Church. Jesus did not leave us orphans. As he returned to his Father, he called those he had chosen and anointed in the Holy Spirit to continue to teach everything that he had made known to them and to proclaim it even to the ends of the earth.
Many of those who today seek some assurance of the value and meaning of life are persuaded by the clear, unambiguous and confident message of Christ presented in his Church. To do this well we need to overcome the syndrome of embarrassment as some have identified the lack of confidence in the truth of the faith and in the wisdom of the Magisterium that characterizes our age.
The third element in the New Evangelization has to be the willingness and desire to share the faith. There are numerous people, particularly in the western world, who have already heard of Jesus. Our challenge is to stir up again and rekindle in the midst of their daily life and concrete situation, a new awareness and familiarity with Jesus. We are called not just to announce but to adapt our approach so as to attract and to urge an entire generation to find again the uncomplicated, genuine and tangible treasure of friendship with Jesus.
The first moment of any evangelization originates not from a program, but in an encounter with a Person, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The Church maintains that “it is the same Lord Jesus who, present in his Church, goes before the work of evangelizers, accompanies it, follows it and makes their labors bear fruit: what took place at the origins of Christian history continues through its entire course” Congregatie voor de Geloofsleer, Doctrinaire notitie over enige aspecten van de Evangelisering (3 dec 2007), 1.
We rely first and always on Jesus. He alone is the cornerstone. As we approach those who have grown cold or distant in their faith, the touchstone is the simplicity of instruction that motivates and speaks to the depth of the human person. We turn to our brothers and sisters who have received baptism, and yet, no longer participate in the life of the Church. To them we offer our experience of Jesus’ love, not a philosophical thesis on behavior.
How we communicate must gain access to hearts in a way that the Holy Spirit can reacquaint our sisters and brothers to friendship with Jesus, who alone “is the key, the center and the purpose of all human history” 2e Vaticaans Concilie, Constitutie, Over de Kerk in de wereld van deze tijd, Gaudium et Spes (7 dec 1965), 10.
The personal witness of the follower of Jesus is itself a proclamation of the Word. Our message today must, therefore, be grounded in the testimony of our life. These are also moments to invite, not to scold.
Into our world we need to communicate our own joy of being definitively and completely loved and, therefore, capable of loving. Our communication should be in words and in life, in prayer and in deed, in action and in bearing suffering.


Tijdens de opening van de 13e Bisschoppensynode "Over de nieuwe evangelisatie" - Synodeaula
Soort: Bisschoppensynodes
Auteur: Donald William Kardinaal Wuerl
Datum: 8 oktober 2012
Copyrights: © 2012, Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Voorlopig Engelstalige versie; alineaverdeling en -nummering: redactie
Bewerkt: 8 mei 2020

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