The Great Revolution: the awakening of the baptized
Author: Josep Miró i Ardèvol | Source: ForumLibertas
The Church must attend in a better way the baptized instead of centering only in the practitioners, because in their “awakening” the life with faith y and participation in Church, comes from the Great Revolution of our society needing to surpass some crisis.
The return of the baptized Catholics to the Church would be truly revolutionary, and on a double scale. The one of the community of faith, because it would revert the decadence tendencies in every ambit. Also it would be a revolution in society due to the new mentality that would be formed in agreement to the Christian conception. This will change the cultural references profoundly.
Twenty-first Century must be the one of the baptized. Most of the population in our country, and in many others, says they are Catholic. And the rest represent an important minority. This means so little in practice, because their behavior, which changes, resembles the part of the population that is careless in a religious way, in other words, the majority of this are baptized, who call themselves Catholic when someone asks about their religion, which means that it represents something in them. We need to awake this self-consciousness, to make the seed of faith grow deeper. It´s demanded by the sacrament we received, and our fidelity to Jesus.
The sacrament of baptism (1213-1274 CIC) is more than just the door to the other sacraments, it´s the sacrament that we have to go through to become children of God, and to participate in His Church (1213 CIC). The baptized have the strength of the sacrament. It´s a seed that needs to be cherished so it can grow, with good soil, and without any other plant suffocating it. Failing to do so, to not make it the first priority, is to obviate the repeated Gospel mandate to go look for the lost sheep. And it´s also a glaring mistake. Don´t doing it in practice, means betting on a passive Church, which expects people to cross their door.
To do so, not as something exceptional but as a massive central task, we need two things. First of all, that the Church, meaning all of us, must be consistent between Jesus doctrine and its practice, what preaches and what it does. And the second thing, to have an organization and assignment of priorities and means according to the end pursued.
It´s a matter of faith, trust in the providence, hope in the results, and praying to God for everything He can, and also acting like everything is in our hands. And with this I´m not telling you anything new.
This action is called New Evangelization. St. John Paul II called it that way around 30 years ago. During his time as pope, the Saint priest promoted preaching of the Gospel of Jesus to everyone that is seeking the truth. What´s “new” with the “new evangelization”? There´s nothing new in the content, God´s word speaks to every man in every time. But, Jesus´s testimony from the Church must adapt to people in our century and place, it must communicate in agreement to the form and style of the times. One of the main characteristics of this evangelization proposed by St John Paul II it´s directed to the ones that live in cultures that are historically Christian. They may be baptized Christians that had heard of Christ, but to the ones that Christian faith has lost their transforming power. Now, having past three decades since this task of evangelization with a poor result, it has become a priority. The Church has lost strength in our country and Europe, this is because of the bad results in this task.
“Church is here to evangelize”. This words are from Pope Paul VI, and they remind us what the identity of the Church is, and the mission it has in the world.
In 2013 Pope Francis, addressing the plenary of the Congregation for the New Evangelization, referred as “new evangelization” as a service composed by three points: primacy of testimony, urgency in going to the meeting, pastoral project focusing on the essentials. The testimony, mainly in this time, is needed, we need believable testimonies, that can make visible the Gospel, and awake attraction to Jesus.
Our action to the “awakening” of the baptized is based in everything: testimony, going to the meeting of the Lord, pastoral project, visibility of the Gospel, beauty of God, and a language that goes to the heart.
It´s also a matter of intelligence, skills, communication, and to go out of the church to meet the baptized, but his won’t do the work if the testimonies aren´t believable and visible, first with an example, and then with words. In many ways the testimonies are uncomprehend and changed in our society. Not even the Pope is free of this risk, mainly when his acts are received in Europe and the States.