EUREKA: Discovering Catholic Treasury – through a Lenten lens! : “Evangelii Gaudium”

A. What is it?

>> “Evangelii Gaudium” is an Apostolic Exhortation by Pope Francis in the year 2013

>> The name “Evangelii Gaudium” stands for “Joy of the Gospel” – the principal theme being the “need for a joyful proclamation of the Gospel to the entire world.”

>> This Exhortation was written in response to the Bishops Synod held in March 2013, with a focus on “New Evangelization”

B. What does it speak of?

>> The Exhortation is divided into 5 major chapters:

i. The Church’s Missionary Transformation: It calls for renewal and rethinking the way every person and every institution – from the Pope and the Roman Curia down to the parish and its parishioners – live their faith.

ii. Amid the Crisis of Communal Commitment: Some challenges of today’s world are discussed: economic matters, modern culture, new religious movements and moral relativism. It also presents two errors commonly faced by Christians: (a) the “attraction of Gnosticism” – a faith, whose only interest is a certain set of ideas and bits of information (b) “self-absorbed promethean neo-pelagianism” – a feeling of being superior to others, with ‘a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism’, because they observe certain rules.

iii. The Proclamation of the Gospel: Christian life is to be based on knowing and experiencing God’s love, mercy and salvation offered to all through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The document also presents a long section about the importance of homilies at Holy Mass – an opportunity, given for priests, each week, to encourage Catholics to live the faith.

iv. The Social Dimension of Evangelization: “Evangelii Gaudium” says that the heart of the Christian moral message is love for one another, which must motivate Christians to share the Gospel, help the poor and work for social justice.

v. Spirit-filled Evangelizers: Spirit-filled Evangelizers are those who are “fearlessly open to the working of the Holy Spirit” and who have “the courage to proclaim the newness of the Gospel with boldness – in every time and place – even when it meets with opposition”. The Exhortation presents Mother Mary as the model of faith and fidelity, and also as a strong Woman and Mother who shared many of the joys and sorrows facing people today and, therefore, understands the challenges they face.

C. Pointers for Reflections

1. A call is given for establishing and renewing a personal encounter with the Lord

>> Many times as “Cradle Catholics” we fail to nurture a “Personal Relationship” with the Lord. Our faith remains stuck to old-practices that we have been doing “from childhood”.

>> A personal relationship with God alone can help us to live in Joy and Peace

2. All Christians are called to be actively participating in Evangelization

>> The one who has experienced the Love of God, cannot but preach and evangelize. “A true missionary, who never ceases to be a disciple, knows that Jesus walks with him, speaks to him, breathes with him, works with him. Mother Mary is the Model Missionary “Who draws near to us and accompanies us throughout life, opening our hearts to faith by Her Maternal Love.

D. What virtues/points can we pick up from the “Evangelii Gaudium” for this Season of Lent?

1. The Virtue of Joy in our day-to-day Christian Living, by building a “Personal Relationship with God”

2. Willingness to be open to the Holy Spirit at all times like Mother Mary, and being a Missionary Disciple in any situation of our life

E. Tips to practice these virtues

1. Cultivating the spirit of “praise and thanks” in every situation – not only joyful – but also in depressing and threatening moments of life.

2. Seeking the help of Blessed Mother Mary and imitating her by “treasuring the Word of God in the heart” and thus bearing fruit.

May this Lent and the familiarity with “Evangelii Gaudium” help us to grow in our acclamation: “Eureka – I have found the Lord”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

The Full Text of ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ can be found at:

http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium.html

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