2014-02-13       Des O'Donnell OMI               Previous articles by Des

(Comments welcome here)         

(2014-03-30Index to Evangelii Gaudium)

An introduction to EVANGELII  GAUDIUM

 To encourage a complete reading of this great document, I have recorded significant sentences from each paragraph.  Hopefully they will also give readers a quick reference to any section of the exhortation. The numbers refer to paragraphs in the letter.       - Desmond O’Donnell    desomi@eircom.net  



The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. -1

 The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart. 2

 Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. 2

 I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ. 3

 Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy…..Time and time again he bears us on his shoulders. 3

 No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by God’s boundless unfailing love. 3

 I find it thrilling to reread this text: ‘The Lord, your God is in your midst, a warrior who gives you the  victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing, as on the day of festival’ – Zephaniah 3.17.  4

 ‘My child, treat yourself well, according to your means…..Do not deprive yourself of the day’s enjoyment’ Sirac 14:11,14    What tender paternal love echoes in these words ! 4

 The Gospel, radiant with the glory of Christ’s cross, constantly invites us to rejoice….. Why should we not also enter this stream of joy ? 5

 I understand the grief of people who have to endure great suffering, yet slowly but surely we all have to let the joy of faith slowly revive as a quiet yet firm trust, even amid the greatest distress. 6

 Joy adapts and changes, but always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved. 6

 Technological society has succeeded in multiplying occasions of pleasure, yet has found it very difficult to engender joy. 7

  ‘Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon & a decisive direction’ – Pope Benedict. 7

 Thanks solely to the encounter – or renewed encounter – with God’s love, which blossoms into an enriching friendship, we are liberated from our narrowness and self-absorption.8

 We become fully human when we become more than human, when we let God bring us beyond ourselves in order to attain the fullest truth of our being. 8          




Any person who has experienced a profound liberation becomes more sensitive to the needs of others.9

 Life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort. Indeed, those who enjoy life most are those who leave security on the shore and become excited by the mission of communicating life to others. – L.Amer Bishops 10

When the Church summons Christians to take up the task of evangelization, she is simply pointing to the source of authentic personal fulfilment. 10

   Eternal Newness

 A renewal of preaching can offer believers, as well as the lukewarm and the non-practicing, new joy in the faith. 11

 With this freshness he (Christ) is always able to renew our lives and our communities, and even if the Christian message has known periods of darkness and ecclesial weakness, it will never grow old. 11

 The life of the Church should always reveal clearly that God takes the initiative, that ‘he loved us first’ 1 Jn.4.19. and that ‘he alone gives the growth’ 1 Co.3.7    12

 God asks everything of us, yet at the same time he offers everything to us.  12

 Jesus leaves us the Eucharist as the Church’s daily remembrance of, and deeper sharing in, the event of the Passover. cf. Lk.22.19          13

 The believer is essentially one who remembers. 13



New evangelization is animated by the fire of the Spirit, so as to inflame the hearts of the faithful who regularly take part in community worship. 14

 In the new evangelisation we can also include those members of the faithful who preserve a deep and sincere faith, expressing it in different ways, but seldom taking part in worship. 14

 Instead of seeming to impose new obligations,  Christians should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to  horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet. 14

 Many of those who do not know Jesus Christ or who always rejected him are quietly seeking God……even in countries of ancient Christian tradition. 14

 Instead of seeming to impose new obligations, Christians  should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet.  14

It is not by proselytising that the Church grows, but by attraction.    14

 We cannot passively wait in our church buildings; we need to move from a pastoral ministry of mere conservation to a decidedly missionary pastoral ministry. 15

The scope and limits of this Exhortation  

Nor do I believe that the papal magisterium should be expected to offer a definitive or complete word on every question which affects the Church and the world. 16

 It is not advisable for the Pope to take the place of local bishops in the discernment of every issue which arises in their territory. In this sense, I am conscious of the need to promote a sound decentralization. 16    



 God’s word is unpredictable in its power…..The Church has to accept this unruly freedom of the word that accomplishes what it wills in ways that surpass our calculations and  ways of thinking. 22

 Let us try a little harder to become involved. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. …. He tells his disciples: ‘You will be blessed if you do this’ Jn.13.17     24

   The first step, being involved and supportive, bearing fruit and rejoicing

 An evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary, and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others. 24

 The Church evangelizes and is herself evangelized through the beauty of the liturgy. 24  


 I am aware that nowadays documents do not arouse the same interest as in the past, and that they are quickly forgotten. 25

 I hope that all communities will devote the necessary effort to advancing along the path of pastoral and missionary conversion which cannot leave things as the presently are. Mere administration is not good enough.  25

 There are ecclesial structures which can hamper efforts at evangelization. Even good structures are only helpful when there is a life constantly driving, sustaining and assessing them.  26  

An ecclesial renewal which cannot be deferred

 I dream of a missionary option that is a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything so that the Church’s customs, way of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can suitably be channelled for evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.  27

 The parish is not an outdated institution; precisely because it possesses great flexibility, it can assume quite different contours depending on the openness and the missionary creativity of the pastor and community. 28

 If the parish proves itself capable of self-renewal and constant adaptivity, it continues to be the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters. This presumes that it really is in contact with the homes and lives of its people, and does not become a useless structure out of touch with people or a self-absorbed cluster made up of a chosen few. 28

 Other Church institutions, basic communities and small communities, movements and forms of association are a source of enrichment for the Church      30

 The bishop must above all allow the flock to strike out on new paths. 31

 In his mission of fostering a dynamic, open and missionary communion the bishop will have to develop the means of participation proposed in Canon Law. 31

 The bishop…..will have a desire to listen to everyone, and not simply to those who would tell him what he would like to hear. 31

 The principle aim of participatory processes should not be ecclesiastical organization but rather the missionary aspiration of reaching everywhere. 31

 As Bishop of Rome, I must be open to suggestions which can help make the exercise of my ministry more faithful to the meaning which Jesus wished to give it. …. We have made little progress in this regard.  32

 Episcopal conferences are in a position to contribute to in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegial spirit. Yet this desire has not been fully realized. Excessive centralization ….. complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach.  32  

Pastoral ministry in a missionary key seeks to abandon the complacent attitude that says: ‘We have always done it this way’.  33



 Instant communication and an occasionally biased media can lead to part of the church’s moral teaching being taken out of the context which gives them meaning. The biggest problem is when the message we preach then seems identified with those secondary aspects. 34

 Pastoral ministry in a missionary style is not obsessed with the disjointed transmission of a multitude of doctrines to be insistently imposed……the message has to concentrate on the essentials. 35

 In Catholic doctrine there exists an order or a ‘hierarchy’ of truths …. This holds true as  much for the dogmas of faith as for the whole corpus of the Church’s teaching, including her moral teaching. 36

 What counts is ‘faith working through love’ (Gal.5.6). The foundation of the New Law is in the grace of the Holy Spirit, who is manifested in the faith that works through love. St. Thomas Aquinas. 37

 In itself mercy is the greatest of the virtues, since all the others revolve around it and, more than this it makes up for the their deficiencies. - St. Thomas Aquinas   38

 An imbalance occurs when …….. those virtues which ought to be most present in preaching and catechesis are overlooked. The same happens when we speak more law than about grace, more about the Church than about Christ, more about the Pope than about God’s word.  38

 When preaching is faithful to the Gospel, the centrality of certain truths is evident and it becomes clear that Christian morality if not a form of stoicism or self denial. 39



 It is the task of exegetes and theologians to help the judgement of the Church to mature. 40 

Differing currents of thought in philosophy, theology and pastoral practice, if open to being reconciled by the Spirit in respect and love, can enable the Church to grow. 40

 (Some people) long for a monolithic body of doctrine guarded by all and leaving no room for nuance…..but in fact, a variety serves to bring out and develop different facets of the inexhaustible riches of the Gospel. 40

 There are times when the faithful, in listening to completely orthodox language, take away something alien to the authentic Gospel of Jesus Christ, because that language is alien to their own way of speaking to and understanding one another. 41

 We constantly seek ways of expressing unchanging truths in a language which brings out their abiding newness. 41

 Faith always remains something of a cross; it retains a certain obscurity which does not detract from the firmness of it assent. 42

 We need to remember that all religious teaching ultimately has to be reflected in the teacher’s way of life. 42

 Certain customs not directly connected to the heart of the Gospel, even some with deep historical roots, are no longer properly understood and appreciated….We should not be afraid to re-examine them. 43

 St. Thomas Aquinas pointed out that the precepts which Christ and the apostles gave to the people of God ‘are very few’. 43

 The precepts enjoined by the Church, should be insisted on with moderation. 43

 Pastors and the lay faithful who accompany their brothers and sisters in faith or on the journey of openess to God must always remember that ‘imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit,  inordinate attachments or other psychological or social factors’ (The Catholic Catechism 1735) 44

 The task of evangelization operates within the limits of language and of circumstances …. without renouncing the truth, the goodness and he light which it can bring whenever perfection is not possible. 45

 A missionary heart never closes itself off, never retreats into its own security, never opts for rigidity and defensiveness. 45



A Church which goes forth is a Church whose doors are open. 46

 Often it is better to slow down, to put aside our eagerness in order to see and listen to others. 46

 The Church must go first not so much to our friends and wealthy neighbours, but above all to the poor, and the sick, those who are usually despised and overlooked, ‘those who cannot repay you’(Lk. 14.14)   48  

I prefer a Church that is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. 49

 I do not want a Church concerned with being at the centre and then ends up being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures. 49

 More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: ‘Give them something to eat’ Mk.6.37           49





 In our time humanity is experiencing a turning point in its history as we can see from the advances being made in many fields ……. The hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation, even in so-called rich countries.  52

 No to an economy of exclusion  

 As ‘Thou  shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit to safeguard  the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality.  53

 No to the new idolatry of money  

Today everything comes under the laws of competition and survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. 55

 Masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalised: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape. 53

 Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a disposable culture which is now spreading. 53

Can we continue to stand by when food is being thrown away and people are starving ?  53

  Human beings themselves are considered consumer good to e used and then discarded. 53

Trickle down theories express a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power. 54

 A profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person !...... man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption. 55

 The thirst for power and possessions knows no limit …… In this system whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenceless before the interests of the deified market 56

 Corruption and self-serving tax evasion have taken on worldwide dimensions. 56

 No to a financial system which rules rather than serves

 Before this attitude – the autonomy of the marketplace – lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. 57

 The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the  name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. 58

 When a society is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent  law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquillity.  59

 Some claim that the solution (to poverty) is an ’education’ that would tranquilize them and make them tame and harmless. 60

 In a culture where each person wants to be bearer of his or her own subjective truth, it becomes difficult for citizens to devise a common plan which transcend individual gain and personal ambitions. 61

 Some cultural changes  

In the prevailing culture, priority is given to the outward, the immediate, the visible, the quick, the superficial and the provisional. What is real gives way to appearances. 62

 The Catholic faith of many peoples is nowadays being challenged by the proliferation of new religious movements, some of which tend to fundamentalism while others seem to propose spirituality without God. 63

 We are living in an information-driven society which bombards us indiscriminately with data – all treated as being of equal importance …… which leads to remarkable superficiality in the area of moral development.  64

 Today we need to provide an education which teaches critical thinking and encourages the development of mature moral values. 64

 Despite the tide of secularism, ….. the Catholic Church is considered a credible institution by public opinion, and trusted for solidarity and concern for those greatest need. 65

 How much good has been done by Catholic schools and universities around the world. 65

 The family which is the fundamental cell of society is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. 66

 Marriage tends  to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed din any way or modified at will. 66

 The individualism of our postmodern and globalised era favours a lifestyle which weakens the development and stability of personal relationships and distorts family bonds.  67

 Challenges to inculturating the faith

 We find among the most needy,  a moral resource which preserves the values of an authentic Christian humanism.   68  

The immense importance of a culture marked by faith cannot be overlooked.  68

 Each culture  and social group needs purification and growth. In the case of the popular cultures of Catholic peoples, we can see deficiencies which need to be healed by the Gospel. 69

 It is also true that at times greater emphasis is placed on the outward expressions and traditions of some group, or on alleged private revelations which could replace all else. 70

  Challenges from urban cultures  

We need to look at our cities with a contemplative gaze, a gaze of faith which sees God    dwelling in their homes, in their streets and squares. 71

 People in cities must often struggle for survival and this struggle contains within it a profound understanding of life which often includes a deep religious sense, 72

 A completely new culture has come to life, and continues to grow in our cities….. Through the influence of media, rural areas are being affected by the same cultural changes. 73

 Cities are the scene of mass protests where thousands of people call for freedom, a voice in public life, justice….. which if not properly understood will not be silenced by force. 74  

What could be significant places of encounter and solidarity often become places of isolation and mutual distrust. 75

 We have to realize that a uniform and rigid programme of evangelization is not suited to this (modern) complex reality. 75  

                        11. TEMPTATIONS FACED BY PASTORAL WORKERS  

The contribution of the Church in to-day’s world is enormous. …. This witness comfort and sustains me in my own efforts to overcome selfishness and to give more fully of myself. 76

 I am aware that we need to create spaces where pastoral workers can be helped and healed, places where faith itself in the crucified Jesus is renewed where the most profound questions and daily concerns are shared.  77

 Yes to the challenge of missionary spirituality

Today we are seeing in many workers, including consecrated men and women, an inordinate concern for their personal freedom and relaxation, which leads them to see their work as a mere appendage to their life. 78   

Once can observe in many agents of evangelization, even though they pray, a heightened individualism, a crisis of identity and a cooling of fervour. 78

 At times our media culture and some intellectual circles convey a marked scepticism with regard to the Church’s message. 79

 Pastoral workers can fall into a relativism ….. which consists in acting as if God did not exist, making decisions as if the poor did not exist, setting goals as if others did not exist. 80

   No to selfishness and spiritual sloth

 Many lay people fear that they may be asked to undertake some apostolic work and they seek to avoid any responsibility that may take them away from their free time….. Something similar is also happening with priests who are obsessed with protecting their free time. 81

 ( Apostolic work) can result in a state of paralysis and acedia because of activity undertaken badly, without adequate motivation, without a spirituality which would permeate it and make it pleasurable. 81, 82  

The biggest threat of all gradually takes shape: the grey pragmatism of the daily life of the church, in which all appears to proceed normally, while in reality faith is wearing down and degenerating into small-mindedness. 83

 (Among pastoral workers,) a tomb psychology thus develops, and slowly transforms Christians into mummies in a museum. 83

 No to a sterile pessimism  

‘Some see nothing but prevarication and ruin. We feel we must disagree with those prophets of doom who are always forecasting disaster ….. Divine Providence is leading us to a new order of human relations’. (John XX111)     84

 The evil spirit of defeatism is brother to the temptation to separate, before its time, the wheat from the weeds; it is the fruit of an anxious and self-centred trust. 87

 In some places a spiritual ‘desertification’ has evidently come about, as a result of attempts by some societies to build without God or to eliminate their Christian roots. 86

   Yes to the new relationships brought by Christ

 To go out of ourselves and to join others is healthy for us. To be self-enclosed is to taste the bitter poison of immanence, and humanity will be worse for every selfish choice we make. 87

 The Christian ideal will always be a summons to overcome suspicion, habitual mistrust, fear of losing our privacy, all the defensive attitudes which today’s world imposes on us. 88

 Some people want a purely spiritual Christ, without flesh and without a cross. 88

 They also want their interpersonal relationships provided by sophisticated equipment, by screens and systems which can be turned on and off on command. The Gospel tells us constantly to run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others. 88

 The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to a revolution of tenderness.  88

 Isolation….in the realm of religion can take the form of spiritual consumerism tailored to one’s own unhealthy individualism. 89

 Genuine forms of popular religiosity are incarnate, ….. Their devotions are fleshy, they have a face. They are capable of fostering relationships and not just enabling escapism. 90

 In other parts of our society, we see the growing attraction to various form of ‘spirituality’ of well-being’ divorced from any community life or to a ‘theology of prosperity detached from responsibility for our brothers and sisters. 90

 The solution will never be found in fleeing from a personal and omitted relationship with God which at the same time commits us to serving others.  91

 Learning to find Jesus in the face of others, in their voices, in their pleas……never tiring of our decision to live in fraternity. 91.

 We are called to be witness to a constantly new way of living together in fidelity to the Gospel. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of community !  92

   No to spiritual worldliness

 Spiritual worldliness, which hides behind the appearance of piety and even love of the Church, consists in seeking not the Lord’s glory but human glory and personal well-being. 93   

Spiritual worldliness can be fuelled by …….. a purely subjective faith whose only interest is a certain experience of set of ideas…… imprisoned in one’s own thoughts and feelings.  94

 Spiritual worldliness (can be expressed by) ….. those who ultimately trust in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. 94

 Spiritual worldliness can be seen in some people in whom we see an ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy, for doctrine and for the Church’s prestige. 95

 Spiritual worldliness can express itself in a fascination with social and political gain, or pride in their ability to manage practical affairs …. Meetings, dinners, receptions, management, statistics, plans and evaluation whose principal beneficiary is not God’s people, but the Church as an institution. 95

 We waste time talking about what needs to done like spiritual masters and pastoral experts who give instruction from on high…. We lose contact with the real lives and the difficulties of our people. 96

God save us from a worldly Church with superficial spiritual and pastoral trappings ….. cloaks in outward religiosity bereft of God. Let us not be robbed of the Gospel. 97

 No to warring among ourselves

 Spiritual worldliness leads some Christians to war with other Christians who stand in the way of their quest for power, prestige, pleasure and economic security… a spirit of exclusivity. 98

 I ask Christians in communities throughout the world, to offer a radiant and attractive witness of fraternal communion. 99

 Beware of the temptation to jealousy ! We are all in the same boat and headed for the same port ! Let us ask for the grace to rejoice in the gifts of each other, which belong to all. 99

 It always pains me to discover how some Christian communities, and even consecrated persons, can tolerate different forms of enmity, division, calumny, defamation, vendetta, jealousy and the desire the impose certain ideas at all costs, even to persecutions which appear as veritable witch hunts.  100

 How much good it does to love one another, in spite of everything.  101

 To pray for a person with whom I am irritated is a beautiful step forward in love, an act of evangelization….. Let us now be robbed of the ideal of fraternal love. 101

   Other ecclesial challenges  

Lay people are, put simply, the vast majority of the People of God. The minority – ordained ministers – are at their service. 102

 Room has not been made for laypeople to speak and to act, due to excessive clericalism which keeps them away from decision-making. 102

 The Church acknowledges the indispensable contribution which women make to society….. We need to create still broader opportunities for more incisive female presence in the Church. 103

 The presence of women must also be guaranteed in the workplace and i n the various other settings where important decisions are made both in the Church and in social structures. 103

 Demands that the legitimate rights of women be respected….. present the Church with profound and challenging questions which cannot lightly evaded. 104

 The reservation of priesthood to males……. Can prove especially divisive if sacramental power is too closely identified with power in general.  104

 As adults we find it difficult to listen patiently to them (youth), to appreciate their concerns and demands and speak to them in a language they can understand. 105

 Our efforts in the field of education do not produce the results expected. 105

 Despite the present crisis of commitment and communal relationships, many young people are making common cause before the problems of our world and are taking up various forms of activism and volunteer work.  106

 A dearth of vocations to priesthood and to the consecrated life is often due to a lack of contagious apostolic fervour in communities which results in a cooling of enthusiasm and attractiveness. 107

 Whenever we attempt to read the signs of the times, it is helpful to listen to young people and the elderly. 108  

                             Chapter 3    THE PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL


There can be no true evangelization without the explicit proclamation of Jesus as Lord. 110

 The Church as the agent of evangelization, is more than an organic and hierarchical institution. 111



 The Church is first and foremost a people advancing on its pilgrim way towards God. 111

 The Church is a mystery rooted in the Trinity….. transcending any institutional expression however necessary. 111

   A people for everyone

 It is important to know that the first word, the true initiative, the true activity comes from God. 112

 The salvation which God has wrought, and the Church proclaims joyfully, is for everyone…….Jesus did not tell his apostles to form an exclusive and elite group. 113

 The Church is God’s leaven in the midst of humanity. 114

 The Church must be a place of mercy freely given where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven, encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel. 114

   A people of many faces

 The concept of culture is valuable for grasping the various expressions of the Christian life present in God’s People. 115

 When properly understood, cultural diversity is not a threat to Church unity. 117

 It is not essential to impose a specific cultural form, no matter how beautiful or ancient it is, together with the Gospel. 117

 We cannot demand that peoples of every continent, in expressing their Christian faith, imitate modes of expression which European nations developed at a particular moment in their history. 118  

   We are all missionary disciples.

 In all the baptised, …the sanctifying power of the Spirit, is at work, impelling us to evangelisation. 119

 Anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love, does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that Love. 120

 Each of us should find a way to communicate Jesus, wherever we are….. our falling short of perfection should be no excuse. 121

   The evangelising power of popular piety.

 Popular piety is an ongoing and developing process, of which the Holy Spirit is the principal agent. 122

 Popular piety manifests a thirst for God which only the poor and the simple can know.  123

 Popular piety discovers and expresses the content (of faith) more by way of symbols than by discursive reasoning. 124

 I think of the steadfast faith of those mothers tending to sick children who, though perhaps barely familiar with the article sof the creed, cling to the Rosary. 125

 Underlying popular piety, as a fruit of the inculturated Gospel, is an active evangelizing power which we must not underestimate. 126

 Expressions of popular piety have much to teach us;’ for those who are capable of reading them, they are locus theologus which demands our attention. 127

   Person to person

 Being a disciple means being constantly ready to bring the love of Jesus to others…… on the street, n the city square, during work, on a journey. 127

 The first step is personal dialogue, when the other person speaks and shares his or her joys, hopes and concerns for loved one. Only afterwards is it possible to bring up God’s word. 128

 If the circumstances are right, a fraternal and missionary encounter could end with a brief prayer. 128

 This communication (of the Gospel) takes place in so many different ways that it would be impossible to describe them all. 129

   Charisms at the service of a communion which evangelises

 The Holy Spirit also enriches the entire evangelising Church with different charisms. …. They are gifts of the Spirit integrated into the body of the Church. 130

 The Holy Spirit alone can raise up diversity, plurality and multiplicity while at the same time bringing about unity. 131

   Culture, thought and education  

Proclaiming the Gospel message to different cultures also involves proclaiming it to professional, scientific and academic circles.  132

 I call on theologians to carry out this service – bring the Gospel message to different cultural contexts and groups – as part of the Church’s saving mission. 133

 Universities are outstanding environments for articulating and developing this evangelising commitment in an interdisciplinary and integrated way. 134

 Catholic schools …. Are a most valuable resource for the evangelisation of culture. 134

                                       11 THE HOMILY

 The homily is the touchstone for judging a pastor’s closeness and ability to communicate to his people. 135

 It is God who reaches out to others through the preacher, and that he displays his power through human words.  136

 The liturgical proclamation of the words of God…… is not so much a time for meditation and catechesis as a dialogue between God and his people. 137    

The liturgical context

 The preacher must know the heart of his community in order to realise where its desire for God is alive and ardent. 137

 The homily should be brief and avoid taking on the semblance of a speech or a lecture. 138

 In the context of the liturgy, the homily is part of the offering made to the Father and a mediation of grace. 138

 A mother’s conversation

The same Spirit (of mother-child love) who inspired the Gospels and who acts in the Church also inspires the preacher at each Eucharist. 139

 Words which set hearts on fire

Dialogue is much more than the communication of a truth. It arises from the enjoyment of speaking and it enriches those who express their love for one another through the medium of words. 142

 The challenge of an inculturated preaching consists in proclaiming a synthesis, bot ideas or detached values. There your synthesis is, there lies your heart. 143

 The preacher has the difficult task of joining loving hearts, the heart of the Lord and his people. 143

To speak from the heart means that our hearts must not just be on fire, but also enlightened by the fullness of revelation and by the path travelled by God’s people in the heart of the Church. 144


                                    III. PREPARING TO PREACH


Preparation for preaching is so important a task that a prolonged time of study, reflection and  pastoral creativity should be devoted to it. 145

 A preacher who does not prepare is not ‘spiritual’; he is dishonest and irresponsible with the gifts he has received. 145

   Reverence for truth

 The first step, after calling on the Holy Spirit in prayer, is to give our entire attention to the biblical text which needs to be the basis of our preaching. 146

 To interpret a biblical text we need to be patient …… and to give it our time, interest and undivided attention. 146

 Preparation for preaching requires love. 146

 The biblical text which we study is two or three thousand years old; its language is very different from that which we speak today.147

 Our most important goal is to discover its principal message, the message which gives structure and unity to the text. 147

 We need to relate the central message of the text to the teaching of the entire bible as handed on by the Church. 148

 One of the defects of a tedious and ineffectual preaching is precisely its inability to transmit the intrinsic power of the text which has been proclaimed. 148

   Personalising the word

 The preacher ought first of all to develop a great personal familiarity with the word of God. 149

 The preacher needs to approach the word with a docile and prayerful heart so that it may deeply penetrate his thoughts and feelings and bring about a new outlook in him. 149

 Greater or lesser degree of holiness of the minister has a real effect on the proclamation of the word. 149

 If we have a lively desire to be the first to hear the word which we preach, this will surely be communicated to God’s faithful people.  149

 Whoever wants to preach must be the first to let the word of God move him and become incarnate in his daily life. 150

 Today too, people prefer to listen to witnesses: they thirst  for authenticity and call for evangelisers to speak of a God who they themselves know. 150

 We are not asked to be flawless, but to keep growing and wanting to grow as we advance along the path of the Gospel. 150

 What is essential is that the preacher be certain that God loves him, the Jesus has saved him and that his love has always the last word. 151

 The Lord wants to make use of us a free and creative beings who let his word enter our own hearts before passing it on to others. 151

 Christ’s message must truly penetrate an possess the  preacher, not just intellectually but in his entire being. 151

   Spiritual reading

 Lection Divina consists of reading God’s word in a moment of prayer and allowing it to enlighten and to renew us. 152

 A common temptation is to think about what the text means to other people. 153

 God always invites us to step forward and does not demand a full response if we are not yet ready. 153

 An ear to the people

 A preacher has to contemplate the word, but he also has to contemplate his people. 154

 He needs to be able to link the message of the biblical text to the human situation. 154

The spiritual sensitivity for reading God’s message in human events is much more than simply finding something interesting to say. 154

 What we are looking for is what the Lord has to say in this or that particular circumstance. 154

 Preparation for preaching is an exercise in evangelical discernment. 154

 Let us keep in mind that we should never respond to questions that nobody asks. 155

   Homiletic resources

 Some people think they can be good preachers because they know what ought to be said, but pay no attention to how is should be said. 156

 Active love of our neighbour is shown by refusing to offer others a product of poor quality. 156

 One of the most important things to learn is how to use images in preaching. 157

 A good homily should have an idea, a sentiment and an image. 157

 If we wish to adapt to people’s language and to reach them with God’s word, we need to share in their lives and pay loving attention to them. 158

 Another feature of a good homily is that it is positive. It is not so much concerned with pointing out what shouldn’t be done, but with suggesting what we can do better. 159

 Positive preaching always offers hope, points to the future, does not leave us trapped in negativity. 159




The first proclamation (of the Gospel) calls for formation and maturation. 160

 Evangelisation aims at a process of growth which entails taking seriously each person and God’s plan for his or her life. 160

 It would not be right to see this call to growth exclusively or primarily in terms of doctrinal formation. 161

 Growth has to do with ‘observing’ all that the Lord has shown us as the way of responding to his love. 161

 The first and greatest of the commandments is …… ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’ 161

 The process of response and growth is always preceded by God’s gift (of Baptism) 162

   Kerygmatic and mystagogical catechesis

 On the lips of the catechist the first proclamation must ring out over and over: ‘Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you: and now her is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you’. 164

 We must announce the first proclamation one way or another throughout the process of catechesis, at every level and moment. 164

 The priest ……….. ought to grow in awareness that he himself is continually in need of being evangelised. 164

 The centrality of the kerygma ….. has to express God’s saving love which precedes any moral and religious obligation on our part; I should not impose truth but appeal to freedom. 165

 The evangeliser must have an attitude which fosters openness to the message: approachability, readiness for dialogue, patience, a warmth and welcome that Is non-judgemental. 165  

Mystagogic initiation which has developed in recent decades, has to do with a progressive experience of formation involving the entire community. 166

 Mystagogic initiation has (also) to do with a renewed appreciation of the liturgical signs of Christian initiation. 166

 Every catechist would do well to attend to the ‘way of beauty’. …. Showing that to believe in him  and to follow Christ is not only something right and true, but also something beautiful. 167

 Every expression of true beauty can be acknowledged as a path leading to an encounter with the Lord Jesus. 167

 It can be helpful to stress again and again the attractiveness and the ideal of a life of wisdom, self-fulfilment and enrichment. 168

 Rather than experts in dire predictions, dour judges bent on rooting out every threat and deviation, we should appear as joyful messengers of challenging proposals, guardians of goodness and beauty which shine forth in a life of fidelity to the Gospel. 168

   Personal accompaniment in the process of growth

 The Church will have to initiate everyone – priests, religious and laity – into the art of accompaniment which teaches us to remove ours sandals before the sacred ground of the other. 169

 The pace of accompaniment must be steady and reassuring, reflecting our closeness and our compassionate gaze which heals, liberates and encourages growth in the Christ life. 169

 Spiritual accompaniment must lead others ever closer to God, in whom we attain true freedom. 170

 Some people think they are free if they can avoid God; they fail to see that they remain existentially orphaned, helpless, homeless. They cease being pilgrims and become drifters.170

 To accompany others would be counterproductive if it became a short of therapy supporting their self-absorption and ceased to be a pilgrimage with Christ to the Father. 170

 Listening, in communication, is an openness of heart which makes possible that closeness without which genuine spiritual encounter cannot occur. 171

 Listening helps us to find the right gesture and word which shows that we are more than simply bystanders. 171

 Anyone can have grace and charity, and yet falter in the exercise of virtues because eof contrary inclinations. 171

 We need a pedagogy which will introduce people step by step to the full appropriation of the mystery. 171

 Each person’s situation before God and their life in grace are mysteries which no one can full know or understand. 172

 The Gospel tells us to correct others and to help them to grow on the basis of a recognition of the objective evil of their actions, but without making judgements about their responsibility and culpability. 172

 Our personal experience of being accompanied and assisted, and of openness to those who accompany us, will teach us to be patient and compassionate with others and to find the right way to gain their trust, their openness and readiness to grow.  172

 Spiritual accompaniment is clearly distinct from every kind of intrusive accompaniment or isolated self-realisation. Missionary disciples accompany missionary disciples. 173  

Centred on the word of God

 All evangelization is based on the Word of God, listened to, meditated upon, lived, celebrated and witnessed to. The sacred Scriptures are the very source of evangelisation. 174

 The preaching of the word, living and effective, prepares for the reception of the sacrament, and in the sacrament that word attains its maximum efficacy. 175



 To evangelise is to make the kingdom of God present in our world. 176


 The content of the first proclamation has an immediate moral implication centred on charity. 177  

To believe in a Father who loves all men and women with infinite love means realising that he thereby confers upon them an infinite dignity. 178  

   Confession of faith and commitment to society  

To believe that the Son of God assumed our human flesh means that each human person has been taken up into the very heart of God. 178

To believe that the Holy Spirit is at work in everyone means realising that he seeks to penetrate every human situation. 178

 Evangelisation is meant to cooperate with the liberating work of the Spirit. 178

 Our brothers and sisters are the prolongation of the incarnation for each of us. 179

   The kingdom and its challenge  

Reading the Scriptures makes it clear that the Gospel is not merely about our personal relationship with God. 180

 Our personal relationship to God should not be seen simply as an accumulation of small personal gestures to individuals in need. 180

 To the extent that God reigns within us, the life of society will be a setting for universal fraternity, justice, peace and dignity. 180

 Bother Christian preaching and life, then, are meant to have an impact on society. 180

   The Church’s teaching on social questions  

God wants his children to be happy in this world too…… for he has created all things four our enjoyment, the enjoyment is for everyone. 182

 An authentic faith  ….. always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somewhat better than we found it. 183

 The Church cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. 183

 It is up to Christian communities to analyse with objectivity the situation which is proper to their own country. 184  


 Our faith in Christ who became poor, and was always close to the poor and the outcast, is the basis of our concern for the integral development of society’s most neglected members. 186

 In union with God, we hear a plea

Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation ad promotion of the poor. 187

 ‘How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods, and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help’ (1 Jn.3.17) 187

 (Hearing the Gospel) means working to eliminate the structural causes of poverty and to promote the integral development of the poor, as well as small daily acts of solidarity in meeting the need of those w encounter. 188

 (The Gospel) presumes the creation of a new mindset which thinks in terms of community and the priority of the life of all over appropriation of good by the few. 188

Changing structures without generating new convictions and attitudes will only ensure that those same structures will become, corrupt, oppressive and ineffectual. 189

 The more fortunate should renounce some of their rights so as to place their goods more generously at the service of others. 190

 There is enough food for everyone and hunger is the result of poor distribution of goods and income. The problem is made worse by the generalised practice of wastefulness. 191

 We are not simply talking about ensuring nourishment…… but also education, access to healthcare and above all employment. 192

   Fidelity to the Gospel, lest we run in vain  

We incarnate the duty of hearing the cry of the poor when we are deeply moved by the suffering of others. 193  

The apostle James teaches us that our mercy to others will vindicate us on the day of God’s judgement. 193

 Whenever we have an opportunity to perform a work of mercy, we should rejoice. 193  

The message (of mercy) is so clear and direct, so simple and eloquent that no ecclesial interpretation has the right to relativise it …. or to obscure or weaken its force. 194

 We should not be concerned simply about falling into doctrinal error, but about remaining faithful to this light-filled path of life and wisdom. 194

 We may not always be able to reflect adequately the beauty of the Gospel, but here one sign that we should never lack: the option for those who are least, those whom society discards. 195

 Sometimes we prove hard of heart and mind; we are forgetful, distracted and carried away by the limitless possibilities for consumption and distraction offered by contemporary society. 196

   The special place of the poor in God’s people  

 God’s heart has a special place for the poor, so much so that he himself became poor. 197  

I want a church that is poor and for the poor. 198

 Our commitment does not consist exclusively in activities and programmes of promotion and assistance ….. but above all an attentiveness which considers the other in a certain sense as one with ourselves. 199

 Only on the basis of real and sincere closeness can we properly accompany the poor on their path of liberation. 199

 The worst discrimination which the poor suffer is lack of spiritual care. 200

 None of us can think that we are exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice. 201

   The economy and the distribution of income

 He need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed  …. Because society needs to be cured of a sickness which is weakening it. 202

 The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies. 203

 We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market. 204

 I ask God to give us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society,

capable of sincere and effective dialogue aimed at healing …. the evils in our world. 205

   It is becoming increasingly difficult to find local solutions for the enormous global problems which overwhelm local politics with difficulties to resolve. 207

 Any Church community, if it thinks that it can comfortably go its own way without creative

concern and effective cooperation in helping the poor to live with dignity ….. will also risk

breaking down. 207

 210A church community however much it may talk about social issues and criticise governments will easily drift into spiritual worldliness camouflaged by religious practices, unproductive meetings and empty talk. 207

 If anyone feels offended by my words, I would respond that I speak with affection  and with the best intentions …. My words are not those of a foe or opponent. 208

 I am interested only in helping those who are in thrall to an individualistic, indifferent and

self-centred mentality to be freed from unworthy chains. 208

   Concern for the vulnerable

 The current model with its emphasis on success and self-reliance, does not appear to favour An investment in efforts to help the slow, the weak or the less talented. 209

  It is essential to draw near to new forms of poverty and vulnerability in which we recognise the suffering Christ. 210

 I am pastor of a Church without frontiers, a Church which considers itself mother to all. 210

 I have always been distressed at the lot of those who are victims various kinds of human trafficking. 211

 The infamous network of crime – human trafficking – is now well established in our cities, and many people have blood on their hands as a result of their comfortable and silent complicity. 211

Doubly poor are those women who endure situations of exclusion, mistreatment and violence since they are frequently less able to defend their rights. 212

 Among the most vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children. 213

 We have done little to adequately accompany women in very difficult situations where abortion appears as a quick solution to their profound anguish. 214

 There are other weak and defenceless beings who are frequently at them mercy of economic interests or indiscriminate exploitation. I am speaking of creation as a whole. 215

 We human being are not only beneficiaries of but also stewards of other creatures. …. The desertification of the soil and the extinction of a species are a painful disfigurement. 215

 All of us as Christians are called to watch over and protect the fragile world in which we live and all its peoples. 216


 True peace does not act as a pretext for justifying  a social structure which silences or appeases the poor, so that the more affluence can placidly support their lifestyle. 218

 The dignity of the human person ranks higher than the comfort of those who refuse to renounce their privileges. When these values are threatened, a prophetic voice must be raised. 218

  In the end, a peace which is not the result of integral development will be doomed. 219

 Participation in public life is a moral obligation. 220

   Time is greater than space  

‘Time’ has to do with fullness as an expression of the horizon which constantly opens before us, while each individual moment has to do with limitation as an expression of enclosure. 222

 We need to give priority to actions which generate new processes in society …….. to the point where they bear fruit in significant events. 223

 (We need) to generate processes of people-building as opposed to obtaining immediate results which yield easy, quick short-term political gains but do not enhance human fullness. 224

 Evangelisation calls for attention to the bigger picture, openness to suitable processes and concern for the long run. 225

  Unity prevails over conflict

 Conflict cannot be ignored or concealed. It has to be faced. But if we remain trapped in conflict, we lose our perspective, our horizons shrink and reality itself falls apart. 226

 It is a willingness to face conflict head on, to resolve it and to make it a link in a chain of a new process. ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’ (Mt. 5.9) 227

 Communion amid disagreement can only be achieved by those great persons who are willing to go beyond the surface of the conflict, and to see others in their deepest dignity. 227

 The locus of the reconciliation of difference is within ourselves, in our own lives, ever threatened as they are by fragmentation and breakdown. 230

 Realities are more important than ideas

 It is dangerous to dwell in the realm of words alone, of images and rhetoric. Realities are greater than ideas. This calls for rejecting various means (8) of masking reality. 231

 People do not follow some politicians and religious leaders because they are stuck in the realm of pure ideas and end up reducing politics or faith to rhetoric. 232

 (The Gospel) impels us to put the word into practice, to perform works of justice and charity which make the word fruitful. 233

   The whole is greater than the part  

We need to pay attention to the global so as to avoid narrowness and banality. Yet we also need to look to the local, which keeps our feet on the ground. 234

 People get caught in an abstract, globalised universe, admiring the glitter of other people’s world or at the other extreme, they turn into museum of local folklore, a world apart. 234

 The global need not stifle, nor the particular prove barren. 235

 It is the sum total of persons within society which pursues the common good, which truly has a place for everyone. 236

 The Church passes down to us and sends us forth to proclaim the polyhedron principle (many levels)  in prayer, fraternity, justice, struggle and celebration. 237



 Evangelisation involves dialogue with states, dialogue with society, cultures, the sciences and other believers keeping ever in mind the life and suffering of human beings. 238.

The new evangelization calls on every baptised person to be a peacemaker, and a credible witness to a reconciled life. 239

 Based on the principles of subsidiarity and solidary,  it is the responsibility of the state to safeguard and promote the common good of society. 240

   Dialogue between faith, reason and science

 Faith is not fearful of reason; on the contrary it seeks and trusts reason, since the light of reason and the light of faith both come from God. 242

 Whenever the sciences arrive at a conclusion which reason cannot refute, faith does not contradict it. 243

   Ecumenical dialogue  

The credibility of the Christian message would be much greater if Christians could overcome their divisions. 244

 Christians are pilgrims journeying alongside one another. this means that we must have sincere trust in our fellow pilgrims. 244

 If we concentrate on the convictions we share, and if we keep in mind the principle of the hierarchy of truths, we will be able to progress decidedly towards common expressions of proclamation, service and witness. 246

 We Catholics have the opportunity to learn more about the meanings of episcopal collegiality and their experience of synodality from our Orthodox brothers and sisters. 246

   Relations with Judaism

 The Church, which shares with Jews an important part of the Scriptures, looks upon the people of the Covenant and their faith as one of the sacred roots of her own Christian identity. 247

 The friendship which has grown between us makes us bitterly and sincerely regret the terrible persecutions which they have endured ....... especially those that have involved Christians. 248

 The Church is enriched when she  receives the values of Judaism. 249

   Interreligious dialogue  

An attitude of openness in truth and in love must characterise the dialogue with followers of non-Christian religions……. in spite of form of fundamentalism on both sides. 250

 In dialogue (with non-Christian religions) ever friendly and sincere, attention must always be paid to the essential bond between dialogue and proclamation. 251

 Together with us the followers of Islam adore the one, merciful God, who will judge humanity on the last day. 252

 Christians should embrace with affection and respect Muslim immigrants to our countries in the same way that we hope and ask to be received and respected in countries of Islamic faith. 253

 Non-Christians, by God’s gracious initiative, when they are faithful to their own consciences, can live justified by the grace of God and thus be associated with the paschal mystery of Christ. 254

   Social dialogues in a context of religious freedom

 The fundamental human right to religious freedom  includes the freedom to choose the religion which one judges to be true and to manifest one’s religious beliefs in public. 255

 Intellectuals and serious journalists frequently descend to crude and superficial generalisations in speaking of the shortcomings of religion. 256

 We feel close to those who do (are not) part of any religious tradition, yet sincerely seek the truth, goodness and beauty which we believe have their highest expression and source in God. 257

 Believers and non-believers agree able to engage in dialogue about fundamental issues of ethics, art and science, and about the search for transcendence. 257

 There is an inescapable social dimension of the Gospel message, and I encourage all Christians to demonstrate it by their words, attitudes and deeds. 258



Spirit-filled evangelisers means evangelisers fearlessly open to the working of the Holy Spirit. 259

 The Holy Spirit grants the courage to proclaim the newness of the Gospel with boldness. 259

 Without prayer all our activity  risks being fruitless and our message empty. 259

 No words of encouragement will be enough unless the fire of the Holy Spirit burns in our hearts. 261    


   Spirit-filled evangelisers are evangelisers who prayer and work. 262

 Mystical notions without a solid social and missionary outreach are no help to evangelisation. 262

 Dissertations or social or pastoral practices which lack a spirituality which can change hearts are not help to evangelisation. 262

 Without prolonged moments of adoration, of prayerful encounter with the word, of sincere conversation with the Lord our easily become meaningless ….. our fervour dies out.  262

 The Church urgently needs the deep breath of prayer… prayerful reading of God’s word and perpetual adoration of the Eucharist at every level of ecclesial life. 262

 There is also the risk that some moments of prayer can become an excuse for not offering one’s life in mission … and lead Christians to take refuge in some false forms of spirituality. 262

 Every period of history is marked by the presence of human weakness, self-absorption, complacency and selfishness and concupiscence which preys upon us all. 263

   Personal encounter with the saving love of Jesus  

The primary reason for evangelising is the love of Jesus which we have received. What kind of love would not feel the need to speak of the beloved ? 264

 The best incentive for sharing the Gospel comes from contemplating it with love. We need  to recover a contemplative spirit to realise that we have been entrusted with a treasure. 246

 Sometimes we lose our enthusiasm for mission because we forget that the Gospel responds to our deepest needs since we were created for friendship with Jesus and love of others. 265

 There already exists in individuals and peoples an expectation, even an unconscious one, of knowing the truth about God, about man, and how we are to be set from sin and death. 265

 Our infinite sadness can be cured only by an infinite love. But this conviction has to be sustained by our own constantly renewed experience of savouring Christ’s friendship. 265,6

 A  true missionary, who never ceases to be a disciple, knows that Jesus walks with him, speaks to him, breathes with him, works with him. 266  

A person who is not convinced, enthusiastic, certain and in love, will convince nobody. 266

 If we wish to commit ourselves fully and perseveringly, we need to leave every other motivation behind. 267

   The spiritual savour of being a people  

To be evangelisers we need to develop a spiritual taste for being close to people’s lives and to discover that this is a source of greater joy.  268

 Mission is at once a passion for Jesus and a passion for people. 268

 Jesus sends us to his people. He wants to make use of us to draw closer to his beloved people. Without this sense of belonging, we cannot understand our deepest identity. 268  

Moved by the example of Jesus we want to enter fully into the fabric of society, sharing the lives of all, not from a sense of obligation but from a personal decision which brings joy to our lives. 269

 Sometimes we want to be that kind of Christian who keeps the Lord’s wounds at arm’s length. Yet Jesus wants us to touch the suffering flesh of others. 270

 Jesus hopes that we will stop looking for personal and communal niches which shelter us from human misfortune, and enter into the reality of people’s lives and know the power of tenderness. 270

 Clearly Jesus does not want us to be grandees who look down on others, but men and women of the people. 271

 One  who does not love others ‘walks in darkness’1 J.2.11), ‘remains in death’ (1. Jn. 3.14) and ‘does not know God’ (1 Jn. 4.8) 272

 When we encounter another person in love, we learn something new about God  ……. We grow in faith. 272

 Only the person who feels happiness in seeking the good of others, in desiring their happiness, can be a missionary. 272

 We have to regard ourselves as sealed, even branded, by this mission of bringing light, blessing, enlivening, raising up, healing and freeing. 273

 If we are to share our lives with others, we have to realise that every person is worthy of our giving. He or she reflects God’s glory. 274

 We achieve fulfilment when we break down walls and our heart is filled with faces and names! 274

   The mysterious working of the risen Christ and his Spirit

‘Why should I deny myself my comforts and pleasures if I won’t see any result ?’ ….. This is a self-destructive attitude. 275

 Christ’s resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world. 276

 Often  it seems that God does not exist: all around us we see persistent injustice, evil, indifference and cruelty. However dark things are, goodness always re-emerges and spreads.  276

 Our hearts can tire of the struggle because in the end we are caught up in ourselves, in a careerism which thirsts for recognition applause, rewards and status. 277

 Faith means believing that God marches triumphantly in history with those who ‘are called and chosen and faithful’ (Rev. 17.14)  278

 The kingdom is here, it returns, it struggles to flourish anew. Christ’s resurrection everywhere calls forth seeds of the new world. Even if they are cut back, they grow again. 278

 Because we do not always see these seeds (of the kingdom) growing, we need an interior certainty, a conviction that God is able to act in every situation, even amid apparent setbacks. 279

 Fruitfulness is often invisible, elusive and unquantifiable. We know that our lives will be fruitful without claiming to know how, or where, or when. None of our acts of love will be lost. 279

 Keeping our missionary fervour alive calls for firm trust in the Holy Spirit. So we need to invoke the Spirit constantly. 280

 There is no greater freed than allowing oneself to be guided by the Holy Spirit, renouncing the attempt to plan and control everything to the last detail.  280

   The missionary power of intercessory prayer

 One form of prayer moves us particularly to take up the task of evangelisation and to seek the good of others: it is the prayer of intercession. 281

 Our prayer of gratitude to God for others is a spiritual gaze born of deep faith which acknowledges what God is doing in the lives of others. 281

 God is always there first but what our intercession achieves is that his power, his love and his faithfulness are shown ever more clearly in the midst of is people. 283


Mary joined the disciples in praying for the coming of the Holy Spirit and thus made possible the missionary outburst which took place at Pentecost. 284

 Jesus’ gift to his people  

Jesus left us his mother to be our mother ……. The Lord did not want to leave the Church without this icon of womanhood. 285

 She is the friend who is ever concerned that wine not be lacking in our lives. 286

 As mother of us all, she is a sign of hope for people suffering the birth pangs of justice. 286

   Star of the new evangelisation

 We ask the Mother of the living Gospel to intercede that this invitation to a new phase of evangelisation will be accepted by the entire ecclesial community. 287

Along the journey of evangelisation we will have our moments of aridity, darkness and even fatigue. Mary herself experienced these things during the years of Jesus’ childhood. 287

 Mary, for many years, lived in intimacy with the mystery of her Son, and went forward in her pilgrimage of faith. 287

 Whenever we look to Mary, we come to believe once again in the revolutionary nature of love and tenderness. 288

 The interplay of justice and tenderness, of contemplation and concern for others, is what makes the ecclesial community look to Mary as a model of evangelisation. 288