Mar 7, 2012
As I write this column, I am embarking on a trip to Australia with the Word on Fire team. We’re heading halfway around the globe at the invitation of the Australian Catholic University, and my team will be with me to film the events. My intention is to produce a documentary on the New Evangelization as it is actually practiced. The documentary will feature the trip to Australia, as well as a journey to the United Kingdom, and after that, New York City. Those settings will provide the context, and a kind of lens, by which I hope to invite the Church to not only imagine the New Evangelization in the abstract, but also to see it in action.
My message during these adventures will be about laying out the basics of the Church’s proclamation. Announcing the Good News is a matter of giving testimony to the risen Jesus Christ, declaring that he is divine, celebrating the deep humanism of the Faith, and finally, insisting on the indispensability of the Church as the Mystical Body of the Lord. These matters, which have the power to transform our lives and culture, are not merely ideas that are to be discussed, but an invitation to share communion with the divine life itself. In other words, evangelization is not just talk, it is a way of life.
How, then, do we engage this way of life? How do we move evangelization from talk to action? I would like to propose some simple, practical strategies to make it happen.
First, deepen your knowledge of the Catholic tradition. We have in the Church an extremely smart, rich, and profound history that comprises the incomparable Scriptures, treasures of theology, spirituality, art, architecture, literature and the inspiring witness of the saints. To know all this is to enter into a densely textured and illuminating world of meaning; not to know it deprives one of spiritual joy. If there is a first step in evangelization it is to cultivate a passionate regard for knowing what the Church believes, and how those beliefs have been a positive force for sustaining the human spirit.