December 2, 2013

Evangelii Gaudium: My Favorite Parts

I gave the weekend to reading Evangelii gaudium. Broad and unfailingly positive, it is exactly what it says it is, an 'Apostolic Exhortation.' It is a plea that the Church and all her members might become evangelical and missionary in everything. There is much that strikes; for example, the length of the section on homily preparation or how, when Francis speaks of the option for the poor, divine and ecclesial, he speaks first not of helping or even of justice, but of inclusion in society. I was especially grateful for sections that gave expression to certain concerns that have troubled me over the years, such as much of what Francis says about 'pastoral acedia.' (n. 81 ff.)

Given those things, as well as the important passages already reported in a widespread way, here are some of my favorite quotes:

I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them. (3)

Every form of authentic evangelization is always “new”. (11)

God’s word is unpredictable in its power. The Gospel speaks of a seed which, once sown, grows by itself, even as the farmer sleeps (Mk 4:26-29). The Church has to accept this unruly freedom of the word, which accomplishes what it wills in ways that surpass our calculations and ways of thinking. (22)

In all its activities the parish encourages and trains its members to be evangelizers. (28)

Faith always remains something of a cross; it retains a certain obscurity which does not detract from the firmness of its assent. (42)

A small step, in the midst of great human limitations, can be more pleasing to God than a life which appears outwardly in order but moves through the day without confronting great difficulties. (44)

Here I repeat for the entire Church what I have often said to the priests and laity of Buenos Aires: I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting, and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. (49)

We should recognize now in a culture where each person wants to be bearer of his or her own subjective truth, it becomes difficult for citizens to devise a common plan which transcends individual gain and personal ambitions. (61)

Today we are seeing in many pastoral workers, including consecrated men and women, an inordinate concern for their personal freedom and relaxation, which leads them to see their work as a mere appendage to their life, as if it were not part of their very identity. (78)

At times our media culture and some intellectual circles convey a marked skepticism with regard to the Church's message, along with a certain cynicism. As a consequence, many pastoral workers, although they pray, develop a sort of inferiority complex which leads them to relativize or conceal their Christian identity and convictions. (79) pastoral workers can thus fall into a relativism which, whatever their particular style of spirituality or way of thinking, proves even more dangerous than doctrinal relativism....This practical relativism consists in acting as if God did not exist, making decisions as if the poor did not exist, setting goals as if others did not exist, working as if people who have received the Gospel did not exist. It is striking that some who clearly have solid doctrinal and spiritual convictions frequently fall into a lifestyle which leads to an attachment to financial security, or to a desire for power or human glory at all cost, rather than giving their lives to each other in mission. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of missionary enthusiasm! (80)

...we find true healing, since the way to relate to others which truly heals instead of debilitating us, in a mystical fraternity, a contemplative fraternity. (92)

The homily is the touchstone for judging a pastor’s closeness and ability to communicate to his people. (135)

The preacher has the wonderful but difficult task of joining loving hearts, the hearts of the Lord and his people. (143)

A preacher who does not prepare is not "spiritual"; he is dishonest and irresponsible with the gifts he has received. (145)

To believe that the Son of God assumed our human flesh means that each human person has been taken up into the very heart of God. (178)

An authentic faith - which is never comfortable or completely personal - always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better than we found it. (183)

I want to say, with regret, that the worst discrimination which the poor suffer is the lack of spiritual care (200)

Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church's effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present  her position as ideological, obscurantist, and conservative. Yet this defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. (213)

Without prolonged moments of adoration, of prayerful encounter with the word, of sincere conversation with the Lord, our work easily becomes meaningless; we lose energy as a result of weariness and difficulties, and our fervor dies out. (262)

...the resurrection is already secretly woven into the fabric of this history...(278)


Unknown said...

Thanks for the snippets! I can't wait to get the whole thing. It is too long to print out. Will wait for the Daughters of St. Paul to publish. Happy Advent! Pray for me as I do for you.

Br. Jack said...

Well said, Charles.

Louis M said...

Did the Holy Father strike you as attacking capitalism (as some have claimed)? I must some that it did not strike me that way. More of an attack on soulless mega business, I'd say.
Thoughts (please)?

Brother Charles said...

@Louis I wouldn't say that Francis attacked capitalism per se, but--in line with his predecessors--any system that puts markets ahead of persons or that ascribes magical power to any economic set-up (or lack thereof.)