October 14, 2012

Disciples Called to Witness: Historical Context

Part Two of the USCCB's "Disciples Called to Witness" overviews the recent Papal calls for evangelization.

The bishops summarize what we do to evangelize, per Pope Paul VI's Evangelii Nuntiandi:
  • live a life imbued with Christian virtues
  • proclaim unceasingly that salvation is offered to all... through Christ
  • preach hope in God's love for us
You may start a plant in a greenhouse, but when it's growing and healthy, you plant it out in the world. If that plant becomes sick - if it falls away - you may bring it back to nurse it to health.  A baby may start in a hospital. The baby is taken home after a few days and starts life, hopefully, as a healthy adult.  Should that person fall away from good health far enough, he's returned to the hospital to recover.

Likewise, evangelization is for two groups: those who have never learned about the Good News, and those who have fallen away from it.  In between, there are the faithful - the second of three circumstances that John Paul II described. Those people should not stagnate, just because they don't need evangelization. They need to continue to grow, intellectually and spiritually. That is where catechesis comes in.

As we learn our faith, we're better able to express the hope of salvation through Jesus Christ. As we grow in our faith we witness more effectively to those around us who have never heard the Gospel or who have fallen away from it.

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