by Fr Duncan McVicar on 27/05/2012 -
Here are some words of Pope Benedict recently, that fit in so well with the Celebration of Pentecost: The kingdom of God is not a concept, a doctrine, or a program subject to free interpretation, but it is before all else a person with the face and name of Jesus of Nazareth, the image of the invisible God. Unfortunately, it is God Himself who is excluded from the horizon of so many persons, and when the discourse on God does not meet with indiffer-ence, closure or rejection, it is never-theless relegated to the subjective realm, reduced to an intimate and private event, marginalized from the public conscience. The heart of the crisis that wounds Europe passes through this abandonment, this lack of openness to the Transcendent. It is a spiritual and moral crisis: man pretends to have an identity fulfilled simply in himself. In this context, how can we correspond to the responsibility which has been en-trusted to us by the Lord? How can we sow with trust the Word of God, so that every man can find the truth about himself, his own authenticity and hope? Our situation requires a renewed impulse, which will point to what is essential of the faith and of Christian life. At a time in which God has become for many the great unknown and Jesus simply a great personality of the past, there will be no new thrust of the missionary action without the renewal of the quality of our faith and our prayer; we will not be able to give adequate answers without a new reception of the gift of Grace; we will not know how to win men over to the Gospel if we ourselves do not first have a profound experience of God.I t is always important for us to remember that the first condition to speak about God is to speak with God, to become increasingly men and women of God, nourished by an intense life of prayer and molded by his Grace. That is why I wished to proclaim a Year of Faith, which will begin next October 11, to rediscover and receive again this precious gift that is faith. The old and new mission that is before us is that of introducing men and women of our time to the relationship with God, to help them to open their mind and heart to that God who seeks them and wants to be close to them, to lead them to understand that to do his will is not a limitation of liberty, but it is to be truly free, to realize the true good of life. God is the guarantor, not the counter-current of our happiness, and where the Gospel enters – and hence the friendship of Christ – man experiences his being the object of a love that purifies, warms and renews, and renders us capable of loving and serving man with divine love. The New Evangelization needs adults who are mature in the faith and witnesses of humanity. The Church has to form adult persons in the faith because who have encountered Jesus Christ, and that he has become the fundamental reference of their life; persons who know Him because they love Him and they love Him because they have known Him; persons capable of giving solid and credible reasons of life.
Pope Benedict XVI, 24th May 2012
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