Tuesday, November 13, 2012

From America to Perth, via Rome

I like what Cardinal Dolan does. This address to his brother Bishops of the USCCB is all over the 'blogosphere.' Most people are commenting either on his call to return to the Sacrament of Penance or on his mention of the possible return of the US Church to abstinence from meat on all Fridays of the year.

I, however, would like to mention this:
But I stand before you this morning to say simply: first things first. We gather as disciples of, as friends of, as believers in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, "the Way, the Truth and the Life," who exhorted us to "seek first the Kingdom of God."
We cannot engage culture unless we let Him first engage us; we cannot dialogue with others unless we first dialogue with Him; we cannot challenge unless we first let Him challenge us.
The Venerable Servant of God, Fulton J. Sheen, once commented, "The first word of Jesus in the Gospel was 'come'; the last word of Jesus was 'go'."
You can listen to the whole thing here, thanks to Fr Z.

It reminds me a lot of a document - also from the USA - recently released by the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious. An extract here for you, emphases added:
The Eucharist and the New Evangelization are intimately intertwined, since the New Evangelization has Christ at its center and the Eucharist is Christ. Further, the Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life.” Christian life is lived in the Church, and “the Church exists in order to evangelize.” Therefore, the Eucharist is also “the source and the summit of all evangelization…” The truth of this statement is summarized by Blessed John Paul II’s statement, “…the Eucharist is at the center of the process of the Church’s growth.” One sees, then, a reciprocal relationship between the Eucharist and evangelization: the Eucharist nourishes evangelization, while evangelization leads to the Eucharist. Presbyterorum Ordinis accentuates this truth, explaining that “…all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it” and “No Christian community can be built up which does not grow from and hinge on the celebration of the most holy Eucharist.”
                The Eucharist is the source of evangelization, because the encounter with Christ leads one to proclaim Him to others. This is seen in a simple way in the Gospel pericope recounting the journey to Emmaus of the disciples who are unsuspectingly joined by the risen Christ. The two disciples have spent the whole day journeying towards their destination, seeking to unpack the events of the preceding days. Undoubtedly their own fatigue and the unusual attractiveness of their enigmatic companion inspire the compassion with which they invite the hidden Lord Jesus, “stay with us, for it is growing dark.” However, all sentiments of weariness melt away and are supplanted by evangelical zeal when “their eyes were opened and they recognized Him” in the breaking of the bread. They immediately undo the day’s journey, hastening to proclaim their encounter with the risen Christ to the Apostles in Jerusalem.
 My own Archbishop - Arch+ Timothy Costelloe SDB - addressed [also here] the recent Synod on New Evangelisation thus:
In Christifidelis laici Pope John Paul II spoke of the need to "remake the fabric of the ecclesial community" if we are to remake the fabric of the society in which we live. To do this we must recover the ecclesiology of the Church as the Body of Christ, with Christ as its life-giving head.
The first chapter of the Instrumentum laboris stresses this by focusing our attention on Christ and reminding us that the goal of all evangelisation is to foster an encounter between the person and Christ.

The time has come for us as bishops to place Christ at the heart of our preaching and teaching, and encourage our priests and deacons to do the same. We must help people to be captured by the fascination which the Jesus of the gospels exerts on hearts and minds.

To paraphrase the Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco who made a similar remark about contemporary religious life: The greatest challenge facing the Church today is to return the Church to Christ and to return Christ to the Church - not to become other than we are but to become more fully who and what we are.
 Let me paraphrase the paraphrase.
The greatest challenge facing the Church today is to return the Church to the Eucharist and to return the Eucharist to the Church - not to become other than we are, but to become more fully who and what we are.


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