Pope Francis: Evangelization is about knowing the human heart

Vatican City, Sep 29, 2017 / 11:06 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Friday, Pope Francis said that the work of evangelization belongs to all people, and that the richness found in a variety of traditions can be a way of opening people’s hearts to the Gospel.

“The new stage of evangelization we are called upon to follow is certainly the work of the whole Church, ‘people on the way to God,’” he said Sept. 29.

Evangelization “by its very nature belongs to the People of God.”

Referencing the Second Vatican Council document Lumen gentium, he said, “From every population to which we go, a wealth emerges which the Church is called to recognize and value to bring about the unity of ‘all mankind’ of which it is the ‘sign’ and ‘the sacrament.’”

Pope Francis’ speech was part of a meeting with around 60 members of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, at the conclusion of their plenary session Sept. 27-29.

In the audience, he told them he wanted to reflect on the “urgency” the Church feels to “renew its efforts and enthusiasm” for its mission of evangelization.

The many good traditions that people and their cultures possess give richness to the Church and life to the action of grace, which opens hearts to accept the Gospel, he said.

These traditions are “authentic gifts” expressing the infinite creativity of the Father and fostering communion, which then acts as a “seed of salvation, a prelude to universal peace and a concrete place of dialogue.”

Pope Francis also emphasized that the call to evangelize “transcends” the availability of a single person, but is actually part of a complex design of interpersonal relationships.

“Few institutions like the Church can boast of having a knowledge of the people able to enhance that cultural, moral and religious heritage that is the identity of entire generations,” he said.

This is why, he explained, it is important that in our evangelization efforts we know how to enter people’s hearts and help them to discover the sense of God and his love that gives confidence and serenity despite difficulty and challenge.

If we look deeply, he continued, we may find a “genuine desire for God that makes restless the heart of so many fallen people…”

“The joy of evangelization can reach them and give them the strength for conversion,” he said.

Pope Francis also reflected on last year’s Jubilee Year of Mercy, which he said was a time of grace lived by the whole Church “with great faith and intense spirituality,” especially the rediscovery of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

“We cannot permit that such enthusiasm be diluted or forgotten,” he said.

The Pope said that everyone who evangelizes should be committed to announcing the message of mercy, which is made concrete and visible in the lives of believers.

Furthermore, those who have the task of proclaiming the Gospel should remember the words of the Apostle Paul, who says in 1 Timothy 1:12-16: “I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry.”

“I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus,” the Pope quoted.

“This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost.”

The Church has a great responsibility to continue to be an instrument of mercy, Francis said.

“In this way, it can be easier to allow the reception of the Gospel to be perceived and lived as an event of salvation and it can bring a full and definitive meaning to personal and social life.”


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  1. Well, the “new Evangelization” (because everything has to be “new” these days) is about giving half truths and smiling all the time. (like Jesus died for you and rose again, without saying why He died for you, your sins, or what that requires, so everyone should be happy, but no one converts) And even when they admit that sin is to be overcome – it’s you have to determine your own commandments (Who am I to judge?) – find your own way to live.

    This is the new dark age. Civilization is falling apart all around us and the institutions which are supposed to be protecting it are joining the attack. When the church isn’t sitting by on the PC sidelines watching, it’s attacking as well. But the good news is Francis loves you! He doesn’t care that you’re drowning in a culture of disgusting filth, but he loves you though and that ought to be enough to save your soul.

    • I don’t understand this negative viewpoint you exhibit. Pope Francis has not changed any doctrine nor (obviously) has he changed any commandments. Yes we live in a fallen world but that is nothing new, how do you expect to win converts with such doom and gloom? I stumbled through here and cannot believe some of the comments I have seen, practically (if not outright) accusing the pope of heresy.

      I happen to be connected to the youth ministry program in our local parish and I can tell you that the NEW program is taking hold and “working” (to the degree that any Catholic program has “worked”). If you don’t like the NEW program what would you suggest in its place, dare I ask?

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