Now is the Time

St. Paul Street Evangelization
June 2, 2014

" gets the sense that through some crack, the smoke of Satan has entered the Temple of God."   - Pope Paul VI 


"We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel."   - Karol Cardinal Wojtyla 


"The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.  She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity.  As the number of her adherents diminishes . . . she will lose many of her social privileges. . . As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members. ...It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek..."   - Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger


"...We are all tempted because the law of our spiritual life, our Christian life is a struggle: a struggle. That’s because the Prince of this world, Satan, doesn’t want our holiness, he doesn’t want us to follow Christ. Maybe some of you might say: ‘But Father, how old fashioned you are to speak about the devil in the 21st century!’ But look out because the devil is present! The devil is here… even in the 21st century! And we mustn’t be naïve, right? We must learn from the Gospel how to fight against Satan."     - Pope Francis


"The days of socially acceptable Christianity are over. The days of comfortable Catholicism are past. It is no longer easy to be a faithful Christian, a good Catholic, an authentic witness to the truths of the Gospel. A price is demanded and must be paid. There are costs of discipleship—heavy costs, costs that are burdensome and painful to bear.  ...You see, for us, as for our faithful Evangelical friends, it is now Good Friday. The memory of Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem has faded. ...But all that is now in the past. Friday has come."  - Robert P. George


The need for the new evangelization has been with us for a number of centuries, yet the ardor to effect it has escaped the vast majority of Catholics.  Society has born the burden of our general lukewarmness.  The urgency with which the Church has preached the need for each and everyone of us to collaborate in proclaiming the Good News with our lives, our words, and our good works has become increasingly palpable.  The time has arrived for us to wake up and respond.  However one might initially take the above quotes, they were not meant to be apocalyptic by their authors.  

There are two responses to these statements that we must avoid.  The first is "game over man."  Defeatism is not a Christian response.  The first disciples fled at the Cross but after Pentecost they joyfully walked into the dens of lions.  We live in the age of Pentecost.  The other response taht we must guard against is "game on."  This approach runs the risk of turning the battle into one against flesh and blood, rather than principalities and powers (see Eph 6:13).  Rather, our response must accord with the intention of each and everyone of the above authors, we are to be stirred up to love and good works (see Heb 10:24).

Now is the time to learn to love Jesus Christ with our whole existence, to experience the joy that comes from sharing with others the inevitable joy that comes from giving ourselves radically and totally to God.  As our love deepens, we will want to know more and more about our Lover in order to love Him even more deeply and to share Him with those who do not yet know or love Him as deeply as we do.  This is the key to the new evangelization: 1) possessing ourselves more fully in order to give ourselves more totally to Jesus Christ, 2) sharing this love of Christ with others, 3) endeavoring to know Him every more intimately, 4) repeat.  


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