May 8, 2012

The New Evangelization.

Pope John Paul II established the challenge to the Church of the need for a New Evangelization. Now Pope Benedict XVI has called for a synod of bishops to meet later this year to establish just how we are going to accomplish this. What could be closer to the Franciscan heart than to "Rebuild My Church which is falling into ruin"? Isn't this what our current Holy Father and dear JPII are calling us to do? Read article 14 of our Rule. Francis was called to action by God. It took him a little time to realize that it wasn't to put stone upon stone in the literal sense, but to put evangelization into action. His life was then dedicated to this end. He "preached always and when necessary used words".
The following is from Fully Mature with the Fullness of Christ by Benet A. Fonck, OFM. It a resource for OFS Formation Programs.
"Evangelization is one of the key concepts of the Franciscan vocation. Not only are we called by the Lord to 'reform our lives and believe in the Gospel,' but also we have been called to "rebuild My Church which is falling into ruin.' Evangelization really embodies a rather simple concept. It means the process whereby we announce or communicate or share the Good News of Jesus the Christ's presence and power for salvation with one another by means of our words and actions. This precisely is our mission as Franciscans. We have been called by the Lord to be professional "gospel-livers" and "gospel- doers" and "gospel-proclaimers." Evangelization, then, is the responsibility to communicate the Good News of salvation, to discover and uncover the presence and power of…God-with-us in the world… The Secular Franciscan Order, then, is not merely a pious association, a spiritual society, a pietistic sodality, or a prayer group, but rather it is a dynamic evangelical community of baptized secular people with a …Gospel-based spirituality, life-style and mission." Benet Fonck goes on to say, "[We] are a ministry and service to the Church precisely by lay people in order to witness to [and to] …bring unity to the Body of Christ…"
It remains to be seen what our Holy Father and the Bishops will put forth after their synod, but as Franciscans we should be ready to embrace it and do what we are able. We all benefited from the Church as we found it. It was preserved for us by those who came before us. We will need to answer this call as followers of St. Francis.  POC. Bob, OFS