Saturday 18 January 2014

EG, Chapter 2.

In my reading of Evangelii Gaudium, Chapter 2 is the most challenging part for here the Holy Father sits us, as it were, before a mirror, and asks us to honestly critique ourselves. The basis focus of this Chapter is an openness to the Church's reluctance to engage in evangelisation.
The Pope's starting point is Ignatian discernment, which he here uses on behalf of the Church Universal. It is not an easy read. He speaks openly about the many 'reasons' why Catholics find the call to evangelisation a great challenge.
He begins by speaking about the economic situation in the world, a situation which must change in favour of the poor by allowing wealth to "trickle down" through the culture motivated by ethics, and an ethics which is itself inspired by the Gospel.
Then, venturing into the territory of the Church he speaks about how a process of secularisation has entered into the Church, turning our focus away from Christ and onto self, and of how culture itself now inhibits our evangelising fervour. He then lists the ways in which Catholics respond inadequately to the call to evangelise: through retreating into piety, through retreating from modern culture and the culture of the modern city, through retreating into life-styles which conceal our Christian identity, through embracing the tomb-psychology of the "grey pragmatism of the daily life of the Church", and through an attitude of defeatism; all of which lead to pastoral inertia. 
The last paragraphs of this Chapter are perhaps the most difficult of all, for they call each one of us to a prayerful conversion to Christ, and to an honest discernment of the temptations by which I have accepted a distortion of the Gospel, so that I can become newly aware of how God is calling me to live and respond now. For indeed we are called to evangelical fervour.

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