Monday, November 12, 2012

New Evangelization

So I don't know if you all know this, but there's kind of a lot of things that have happened in our country recently. Sandy. An election. A day to honor those who have served in war.

While I clearly am not afraid of sharing  my religious beliefs, I do refrain from making overarching political statements because I do let my faith, obviously, influence my politics and I do happen to believe there is no particular political party in our country that encompasses my beliefs. I also happen to believe that while absolutely we should let our faith and values inform our politics, we have separation of church and state and freedom of religion (which has become a hot button issue, so I know y'all know this too!). God Himself gives us the guidelines, but he also gives us free will. Love is, by design, a choice. Love is not forced. (see this awesome video of my favorite little priest talking about Thomas Aquinas' definition of love :) We can share with others our beliefs and vote from our own consciences, but that is really all we can do.

Oh, yeah. And we can PRAY. I know that seems really trite, perhaps, but I was amazed at the amount of people who took to facebook and Twitter to judge rather than pray. And, trust, I am just as guilty as the next when it comes to using Twitter for Judgy McJudgerton things. I will be the first one to tell you when the woman in front of me is buying 12 boxes of kitty litter or the guy on Jeopardy collects Star Wars action figures just to make myself feel witty. But come on, people! If you really want people to buy into your point of view, HONEY. NOT VINEGAR.

And also prayer. Because our Church is guided by the magisterium insofar as they are guided by the HOLY SPIRIT. And how does one receive insight from the Holy Spirit? Prayer. 

I'm not gonna lie, I started to feel a little lost and hopeless after this election, but not for the reason some of my fellow Catholics were. I was more saddened by the Catholics I saw posting the Facebook messages I mention above. I was more saddened by the homilies I heard that chose to sway our political beliefs instead of our belief in the Gospel.

It is easy to make ourselves seem like an authority on something when we can't see the person we are speaking to like on Facebook or Twitter. And I'm not saying we shouldn't use these to evangelize, because, come on! I'm a media girl. Also, I'm clearly blogging. Sharing our beliefs via social media is a part of the New Evangelization. But the goal of using these cultural tools is to meet people where they are at. Not bark down to them from whatever level you think you are on.

Okay. I need to stop myself lest I fall into the very same category which I am speaking against. New evangelization also involves prayer. It involves us looking into ourselves FIRST and converting ourselves FIRST so that we might lead others to Christ by our example.

I was starting to lose hope...but then I saw this from Cardinal Dolan (yes the man who gave a blessing at the RNC and DNC) and I was reminded of how the Holy Spirit moves and that the Spirit is in control, not us:

I'm not naive...i know some of you won't read the whole thing :) But the thing that sold me are the following points which I will share with you:

"We cannot engage culture unless we let Him first engage us; we cannot dialogue with others unless we first dialogue with Him; we cannot challenge unless we first let Him challenge us."

.   .    .

"​To be sure, the sacraments of initiation - - Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist - - charge, challenge, and equip the agents of evangelization. Without those sacraments, we remain isolated, unredeemed, timid and unfed.

​But, the Sacrament of Reconciliation evangelizes the evangelizers, as it brings us sacramentally into contact with Jesus, who calls us to conversion of heart, and allows us to answer his invitation to repentance -- a repentance from within that can then transform the world without."

and also this:

"With this as my presidential address, I know I risk the criticism. I can hear it now: "With all the controversies and urgent matters for the Church, Dolan spoke of conversion of heart through the Sacrament of Penance. Can you believe it?" 

To which I reply, "You better believe it!" 

First things first! "

First things first. We need to look into our own hearts, pull out our own plank in our own eyes, and meet others where they are at:

"The premier answer to the question "What's wrong with the world?" "what's wrong with the church?" is not politics, the economy, secularism, sectarianism, globalization or global warming . . .none of these, as significant as they are. As Chesterton wrote, "The answer to the question 'What's wrong with the world?' is just two words:'I am,'"

​I am! Admitting that leads to conversion of heart and repentance, the marrow of the Gospel-invitation. . . If we want the New Evangelization to work, it starts on our knees."

Thank you, Holy Spirit, for inspiring each of us and giving us hope. And thank you, Cardinal Dolan, today, for these inspiring words!


1 comment:

molly said...

Julia! I was just stopping by blogs I haven't seen in a while. This is such a good post! Thank you for it. You pull out great points about living out faith at the heart level and recongizing we need to change ourselves first. Beautiful. Thanks for writing and I hope to follow more closely in the future! ~ molly