A day or two before the start of the Conclave, I stayed up till the wee hours of the morning watching youtube video after youtube video of interviews and features on the “papal possibilities.” Of course, I started with the one on Cardinal Chito Tagle (read about an earlier encounter here), but found myself unable to keep myself from watching the bits on the other Cardinals: Dolan, Scherer, Ouellet, Sandri, Scola…I would have gone on had my drooping eyes let me. (Many thanks and congratulations to Salt + Light Media for your excellent Habemus Papabili series.)
A detail that was pointed out repeatedly across all the candidates was their suitability for carrying out the New Evangelization. I then started reading and found out this was a term made popular by Blessed John Paul II, and again re-emphasized by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI upon instituting the Year of Faith. The New Evangelization calls all Catholics to bring Christ not just to those who do not know Him, but to those around us who, though they may have already been baptized, know very little about Him, His Gospel. Our 2 preceding popes have made clear that “new” does not mean a change in the message, but rather an awareness that cultural and technological advances necessitate a new approach in spreading God’s Word.
This involves, more than ever, us laity–called to shine Christ’s light wherever we are and through whatever we do. As baptized and confirmed Catholics, we both belong to the Church’s family, as well as share in Her mission. We are all the Church’s hands and feet, and it is time to ask ourselves whether we’ve done anything to help Her move forward in Her mission.
Let me state it even clearer: if you haven’t been building up, you’ve been breaking down. Or, at the very least, weighing everyone else down with you.
Not quite the way you’d want to be remembered, is it? Much less how you’d want to be appraised on Judgement Day.
Anyone who is not with Me is against Me, and anyone who does not gather in with Me throws away. –Matthew 12:30
I’ve already written once before about the treasure that is our Catholic faith. It is the pearl of great price–please, I beg you, don’t throw it away.
Now, if you’re convinced of the fullness of Truth that is found in the Church, and resolve to participate more actively in Her mission, what do you do now?
Let me turn you over to St. Paul who was, as you know, the Evangelist.
Bear with your share of difficulties, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one on active service involved himself in the affairs of civilian life, because he must win the approval of the man who enlisted him; or again someone who enters an athletic contest wins only by competing in the sports–a prize can be won only by competing according to the rules; and again, it is the farmer who works hard that has the first claim on any crop that is harvested. –2 Timothy 2:3-6
What do you do? You get ready.
(More on how to get ready in Part 2!)