Monday, September 10, 2012

The New Evangelization Must be Built on the Rock of Truth

A large goal of the New Evangelization is to find new ways of bringing the Gospel to all, to spread the Faith in a more comprehensible and convincing way to reach those who have been unable or unwilling to listen to the Church's permanant and on-going evangelization. In doing that, we do well to reflect upon the young Augustine, who had initially thought the Catholic faith to be silly and unworthy of serious consideration. Instead, he subscribed to a series of other various beliefs before he then rejected them too as untenable and lacking in reason.

But throughout his journey, Augustine had a hunger for truth. He intensely desired to discover what the truth is, and eventually, he allowed the Truth to find him. Part of evangelization, classic or new, is conversion. The ultimate conversion is to Christ, but we may find that that is not a realistic beginning point for those we seek to evangelize. Conversion means to turn about, to change one's view or position. And in some cases, as it was with Augustine, if we cannot turn them directly to Jesus Christ, if merely saying the name "Jesus" might lead them to run away, as might be the case with an athiest or agnostic, we might simply first encourage the person to change his orientation toward truth, get them pointed in the right direction and encourage them to seek out truth, whatever it is, wherever it is. If they journey along the road of truth, then they have already begun the first step of conversion to Him.

Meanwhile, we too should open ourselves to Truth. We should ask Jesus to say "Ephphatha" to us too, so that we might hear Him and better able to proclaim His Good News.
Let the ears of my heart move close to your lips, and let me listen to you, who are the Truth . . . You are steadfast, constant in yourself; but we are tossed on a tide that puts us to the proof, and if we could not sob our troubles in your ear, what hope should we have left to us? . . .

Make your dwelling in Him, my soul. Entrust to Him whatever you have, for all that you have is from Him. Now, at last, tired of being misled, entrust to the Truth all that the Truth has give to you and nothing will be lost. All that is withered in you will be made to thrive again. All your sickness will be healed. Your mortal body will be refashioned and renewed and firmly bound to you, and when it dies, it will not drag you with it to the grave, but will endure and abide with you before God, who abides and endures forever.
--St. Augustine, Confessions, Book IV

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