Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Servi Servorum Dei - Servants Of The Servants Of God

In a recent article over at the Catholic Herald, the Holy Father is quoted as saying that his generation did not evangelize enough:
"We, who have been able to know [Christ] since our youth, may we ask forgiveness because we bring so little of the light of his face to people; so little certainty comes from us that he exists, he's present and he is the greatness that everyone is waiting for."
But what does it mean to "evangelize"? What does it mean to "bring...the light of [Christ's] face to people"?

Dr. Peter Kreeft once compared Blessed John Paul II to Frodo in The Lord of the Rings. It's almost too easy to remember the days when the Holy Father was quite literally bent over, bearing the weight of the world around his neck. If John Paul was Frodo, Dr. Kreeft said, then Benedict is Samwise, his loyal and lowly companion in the background, who was, in fact, always shoring up his dear friend and bearing the weight himself, silently.

This is the legacy these two Pontiffs, surely two of the greatest the Church has yet seen, will leave behind them: Love as hard work, suffering; The presence of God lived out in a day-to-day life of penance and service; Worship as self-sacrifice in adoration of others and God; "The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit: a broken a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise," (Psalm 51:17).

This is the essence of the "New Evangelization," the lesson Blessed John Paul and Benedict teach us with their words, yes, but above all with their very lives and selves. One does not argue or lure people into the Church, one loves them into it, by being present to the world and those in it, living the life of Christ, day in and day out, and thereby becoming a conduit of grace and love.

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