Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Easter Isn't Over: E is for Evangelization (and Eternity)

Ok, to be honest, I picked "evangelization" for "E" so I could share the fun video below. We have a love of the Maccabeats in this house, ever since Aunt Tara introduced Li'l G to "Candlelight" and gave us a magic bullet for mesmerized silence. Here, they share the story of the Exodus using songs from the vastly popular musical, Les Miserables.

Now on to some rambling thoughts and quotes...

Evangelium - the Good News - the Gospel message of Christ. What are we doing to share this in a world where is sometimes seems that darkness and sorrow threaten to overtake us at every turn? The New Evangelization calls us to share the Gospel message in new and creative ways through modern means and media. Pope Francis places a special challenge to women, as the first witnesses of the resurrection. In his Wednesday general audience on April 3, Pope Francis addresses the role of women in the initial transmission of the gospel:

"Today, however, I would like to dwell on the second, on testimony [of the resurrection] in the form of the accounts that we find in the Gospels. First, we note that the first witnesses to this event were the women... The women are driven by love and know how to accept this proclamation with faith: they believe, and immediately transmit it, they do not keep it for themselves. They cannot contain the joy of knowing that Jesus is alive, the hope that fills their heart... This is beautiful, and this is the mission of women, of mothers and women, to give witness to their children and grandchildren that Christ is Risen! Mothers go forward with this witness!"

Driven by love to share the good news of new life and salvation with an uncontainable joy. I know that describes me most of the time (cough). In truth, perhaps that is not an accurate description. In light of the new evangelization, we are called to the additional challenge of finding new ways using new melthods that relate to the culture. Most people know I am a huge fan of social media, even with its potential for spiritual pitfalls. It gives us a way to share the good news of salvation with unprecedented speed to unprecedented numbers. New media must also be involved. Much like St. Paul in his preaching at the Aeropagus, we must find ways to engage the current culture in a language that they can understand, not in codes that no longer have meaning in a rapidly secularizing world. 

Let me draw your attention back to the quirky video by the Maccabeats. There is no reason we cannot do the same with the message of salvation. We cannot continue to spread the gospel using purely Christian terms and references in a culture that has lost biblical literacy and historical understanding. We, like Paul, have to find a way to use the language of this age to draw people into the mystery of Christ, redemption, love and salvation so we can introduce them to  the uncontainable joy that comes from following Christ out of love. Most of all, we must as mothers, find fun and engaging ways to do this with our children so it is sewn into the fabric of their hearts and minds. (For my part, Veggie Tales seems to be a quick answer for now, though the years ahead will require a little more prayer, creativity and work on my part!)

The other challenge of spreading the good news is setting our hearts beyond the present world. If we want people to understand the good news of salvation, we have to first get them to consider that this world is not all there is. If our eyes are not fixed on heaven, then the message that Christ is the way doesn't really add up to much. Happiness in this life becomes the measure by which we judge everything. Yet we know that the happiness of this world is fleeting. St. Augustine so eloquently writes in his Confessions, "you made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." St. Augustine was no stranger to the lures of the world. Yet he came to realize that this world offers us nothing pleasant or lasting that is devoid of God. All that brings us peace and joy are those things that point to our eternal home with He who created us and breathed life into us. Until we are convinced of our eternal home, the trappings of this world will always compete with the sacrifices that come with devoting our lives to Christ.

In short, we've got a lot of work to do in the name of Jesus. Let's get moving!

Update: I shared on Facebook that Li'l G thinks E should be for elephant. Here is her elephant impression:

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