Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Until I'm blue in the face.

The estimable Mark Mossa, SJ* has written a most excellent blog entry, off which I shall riff. I think our "evangelization problem" has two roots:

1- Um, subpar** catechetization, and
2- Evangelization atrophy.

Bringing people to Christ is something that requires a lot of momentum on our part, because the worldliness which infects the whole human species provides such monumental inertia. The Jesuits taught me in physics class that momentum = mass x velocity. Or something like that. (Hey, it's been 27 years! This is pretty good for an MBA!) In order to lose that momentum all we have to do is lose the "mass" (in this case, our catechetical base) OR the "velocity" (zeal for evangelization), and a case can be made we've lost both.

If we lose that momentum, getting going again is going to be murder. There is rust to shake off our evangelism and catechism machinery. There is the discomfort of adjustment, of people looking at us "all weird." But it is not to our current circumstances to which we have to answer for all eternity. Not to our friends/neighbors/co-workers/crazy relatives. We'll have to show our spiritual ledger at the Day of Our Audit and we'd better have all our receipts.

It sounds crazy, but to the world, it's tantamount to admission of imbecility, bigotry, superstition, and/or callousness to admit being a practicing Christian (throw in being a practicing Catholic, and the thing gets oh-so-much-better). How did we get into such a mess?


Loss of momentum. Like many species of fish, this is a case of "swim or die." At some point we stopped swimming. We grew comfortable, fat, dumb and happy with our circumstances and we confused the torpor of losing our oxygen supply with a feeling of relaxed well-being. But we don't have a choice. We have been called to preach the Gospel "with words, if necessary" to all of Creation. To teach and preach and above all else to lead by example. The first part of this starts within, to admit to ourselves all the times we could have stood up for something and we shut up instead. We could have corrected someone in error, but didn't. This is a rather unpleasant bit of soul-searching, but we need to do that; and, once accomplished we might be able to heed the call to "arise, let us be on our way."



* I may not always agree with Mark, but a) I know what he writes he does out of conviction and gentle sincerity, and b) hey, when he's right he's right and therefore credit ought go where it's due.
** Was this charitable enough?


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