Mission and Evangelization needed in Europe – Students of Granada

 granada31. DESPAIR IN EUROPE

The dimming of hope [1]

  1. Loss of memory and Christian heritage, combined with a practical agnosticism and religious indifference. At this point it is produced a life without spiritual base.
  2. Emptiness and loss of meaning in life. They create a certain fear in facing the future.
  3. Fragmentation of family, ethnic and racial existence. They carry a deep sense of loneliness.
  4. General ethical indifference and obsessive pursuit of their own interests and privileges.
  5. Individualism. Marking a growing decay of interpersonal solidarity.
  6. Anthropology without God and Christ (this leads to anthropocentrism, nihilism, relativism, pragmatism and hedonism, living as God did not exist).
  7. Birth of a new culture (influenced by social media,”a culture of death¨).
  8. The “hope” is to satisfy with fleeting and insubstantial realities: the paradise promised by science and technology, various forms of hedonism, consumerism, etc..

 Conceptual Approach[2]

  1. Secularization: phenomenon referred mainly to the conflicting and ambiguous relationship between modern society and religion.
  2. Agnosticism: This term is used to discuss the opposite direction to those (Gnostics) who try to go beyond the limits imposed by scientific knowledge.
  3. Postmodernism: first, is the total dismissal of modernity, the other is a reinterpretation of modernity. We live in a world where many things are changing. Technology, thought, culture, etc. There are new thoughts, new activities, and that one in a competitive environment.In the world you can see the individualism, where “I” is the most important; temporary hedonism and the immediate; consumerism, utilitarianism, narcissism, humor without message and the time laugh. Media and machines make all things easy to us. We try to enjoy the present, without seeing too much the past or the future. The historical sense is gone.
  4. Religious Indifference: This is the situation of those who, in the situation of gradual withdrawal and/or because they focus too much on themselves, they don´t care about

 Provincial Pastoral Plan Claretian Missionaries of Bética Province (2011-2016)

Our Context

              The Social Reality (p.5)

  1. Radical transformation in the ways of thinking and behavior.
  2. Globalization and cultural diversity, various ethnic groups.
  3. Immigration: It raises xenophobic attitudes and rejection in many people.
  4. Economic crisis: It affects a large number of families. They have seen their consumption capacity reduced, significantly increasing poverty.
  5. An important values change. Values with purely humanistic content, without reference to religious faith. Believing without belonging.
  6. Abortion, family breakdown.
  7. Diseases, HIV / AIDS.
  8. Fourth world: poverty, living on the street.

  2. FROM DESPAIR TO HOPE

Blessed John XXIII said that there are many “doom prophets”. In today´s Europe it is clear that there are signs of despair, as we have just heard. But everything is not dark. As stated by1 Sam 3, 3:”The lamp of God were not even off” , in our European society there are signs that light is present, ie, there are signs of hope. Watching the disturbing challenges that are felt in the old continent, the Christian faith has much to say, it has to bring a plus to our society for refer to a horizont that fullfill the modern man. We will try at this time, in a brief and succinct manner, go deeper in the center of our hope and in the signs we touch it.

           Holy Scripture is a great open book that presents several situations of extreme hopelessness, but we see how the people of Israel, have passed through critical moments in Lord Hope set.It is true that we find drama situations and very deep crisis, but God´s action remembers us that he is sovereign and has the last word. The Old Testament writings are a clear example of this. From the story of the people of Israel living under the yoke of oppression and is released, until coming back from exile. As we can see, the story is a becoming of suffering and restorations, as the prophet Jeremiah tells:”Blessed is he who trusts in the Lord”(Jer. 17: 7).Yahweh is a source of hope for the believer, but on the other hand, there is a call to anyone who trusts Him, to forward that Hope. For example, in the prophet Isaiah, in the songs of the Servant can be read:”It´s too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept.I’ll also make you a light for the nations,that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth “(Is49: 6).

              Therefore, with few OT biblical data is found to Hope in a new world is latent.But along with that, we can detect thatit is not just a utopian model, but actually there is a strong call to joinyou here and now.Definitely not a passive attitude while a better reality is expected, it is an attitude of seeking to shape a more just and humane world. God is Hope, and He wants the same for us.

              Now we will stop in the New Testament. With Jesus Christ we come to the highest level of expectancy men. In it, the fullness of God´s revelation is shown to us in a definitively way. Indeed,”And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”(Jn 1: 14).In Jesus it is shown that the eschatological Hope becomes present, the definitive happens between us, the final country walks with man, and always in the tension of “already but not yet.” And the early church of the first century is a living testimony of Hope in a world where persecutions were a constant. Where temporal powers were regarded as God Himself, where there were idolatrous worship of ephemeral realities, there were the early Christians. In the midst of adversity they were able to discover that Jesus Christ is the onlytruefundamentor Hope.If they were aware of this, do we have to give up nowadays and keep putting simple excuses? No, Christian can not think that in the end everything is impossible, because,”With God impossible is nothing”(Lk 1, 37).Hope can never be lost because Jesus is Hope, and he said:”I will with you every day until the end of the world”(Mt 28, 20).

              Secondly, more than one can ask himself, how this is visible in the European context and in what can be perceived.We will try to respond. Hope is closely related to Charity, because both come from God. Well, there is Hope wherever there are people, whether Christian or not they want to engage in solving people´s problem. There is Hope wherever there are people who consider others as important and valuable. In those who tirelessly preach the Gospel, those who opt for the weak, for the poor. There is Hope where there is solidarity, service, brotherhood, fellowship, joy, compassion, mercy, tenderness, acceptance, dialogue …

              Does it exist in Europe? Every Christian ishope because it follows HOPE, Jesus Christ. The Church is a sign of hope, despite the scandals that have hit in recent years. And in this case, religious life continues to being due to hope, despite aging, “no vocations” and all problems that may arise, certainly we need to to meet the challenges, but not with pessimism. And finally as it´s popular said Hope is the last thing you lose.

  3. TO AN EVANGELICAL ANSWER IN EUROPE

FROM HOPE TO THE MISSION

We have addressed the situation of European society, discovering that, in front of the existing needs, an evangelical response is necessary. It is from the keywhere you canhope to missionary responses to Europe´s situation. Europe needs a hopeful mission.

We now offer a general framework of the “evangelical solutions” presenting chapters 4-6 ofEcclesia in Europa.We do this in three steps, in line with the document: Promote, Celebrate, Serve.

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded to you: and know that I am with you everyday until the end of the world. ” (Mt 28, 19-20)

 1. ANNOUNCE

“Church in Europe(…) you have been given this hope as a gift for you to offer it with joy in all times and latitudes “(EEu 45)

1.1 First announcement and new announcement (EEu 46-47)

  • Unbaptized, widespread religious indifference, migration: a first announcement is required.
  • No real reception of the content of the faith and no adherence to Jesus: a new announcement to baptized people is needed.

1.2 Catechetical Itineraries (EEu 50-52)

  • From a faith supported by social customs to a Personal faith, Mature, Convinced and Iluminated.
  • Appropriate Catechesis to the various routes:
    • Ages
    • Living conditions
    • Accompaniment
  • Importance of Theology

1.3 A Christian mentality in life (EEu 58)

  • Cultural fertility of Christianity throughout Europe´s history
  • Print a christian vision: daily life, FAMILY, …
  • Should be a peaceful critical confrontation with European cultural situation

 1.4 Educational Spaces (EEu 59)

  • School: important place to present Jesus Christ
  • Universities: promote a appropriate campus ministry, favoring a response to current cultural needs

1.5 Youth Meeting (61-62 EEu)

  • Promote a mutual situation to listen and prayer. Do not be afraid to be picky with them in regard to their spiritual growth
  • Resisting the temptations of a culture that often proposes them, with only ephemeral values and even contrary to the Gospel
  • They are the hope of the Church and the world

 1.6 Social Media (EEu 63)

  • Pay particular attention, Formation, competent persons election, exchange of people and strategies
  • Benedict XVI. Encounter of the Episcopal Conference of Congo:              

“For the word of the Gospel to be heared everywhere and for the teaching of the Church influence deeply into the consciousness, attitudes and customs, the use of MCS it’s more necessary than ever.”

 1.7. Universal Horizons (EEu 64)

  • The work of evangelization is animated by a true Christian hope when it opens to universal horizons
  • Mission ad gentes. Needs of the universal Church

 1.8. Life Testimony (EEu 49)

  • Credible evangelizers
  • Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers

 2. CELEBRATE

“Church of God who lives in Europe, it asks you to bepraying community, thy Lord celebrating the Sacraments, liturgy and allexistence. “(EEu 66)

2.1 Prayerful Community (EEu 66-67)

  • It is possible to live the Gospel not only in the personal sphere but also as an authentic community experience

 2.2 A diffuse desire of spiritual food (EEu 68)

  • There is a vague religiosity, with generic and superficial manifestations, spiritualism and escape to syncretism
  • This desire must be received with understanding and purified

 2.3 Closed to transcendence Society (EEu 69)

  • Helping to give up the spiral of the immediate
  • There is a thirst for something beyond

 2.4 The liturgical question (EEu 70-73)

  • A complicated issue
  • Rekindling / Rediscovering the meaning of the liturgy
  • In the center is Jesus
  • Develop a sense of mystery
  1. oFormation, education, mystagogy, participation

 2.5 Eucharist (EEu 75)

  • “The Mass I remember most in my life is …”

 2.6 Reconciliation (EEu 76-77)

  • The joy of a true liberation
  • Role of Priests: availability, example, formation

 2.7 The wisdom of the people (EEu 79)

  • Popular piety as the authentic wisdom of the people
  • Promotion, renewal, pedagogy

 2.8 Making Party (EEu 81-82)

  • Without a dimension of the party, hoping do not find a place to live

 3. SERVE

“The Church whose live in Europe is called also to follow the way of love(…) through the evangelical charity, multiform service efforts and the option for a bounty without breaks or limits.” (EEu 83)

3.1 More than philanthropy (EEu 85)

  • Revalue the true meaning of Christian voluntary
  • To the love of Christ

 3.2 Receive and serve the poor (EEu 86-87)

  • Give them new hope
  • The preferential love for the poor is a necessary dimension of being Christian.
  1. oLet ourselves be challenged by the phenomenon of unemployment

 3.3 Authentic human contact (EEu 88)

Promote pastoral care of the sick

  • It is a prophetic choice in a society of prosperity and efficiency
  • Importance of the presence
    – Along the sick
    – With families
    – Along with the personal physician
    – Along associations

 3.4 Maternal Request (EEu 91-94)

  • Help those who are in difficult situations: single mothers, separated, divorced, abandoned children, …
  • Concern for youth care and couples

 3.5 Strategy for Life (EEu 95-96)

  • Every person should see his incomparable dignity affirmed
    – Abortion, Eugenics, Euthanasia, Culture of Death, …

 3.6 A city worthy for man (EEu 98-99)

  • Values of the Social Doctrine of the Church
    – Formation
    – Reaching moral quality
  • Presence of lay Christians in civil life, in the economy, culture, health, education and politics

 3.7 Mature culture of host (EEu 100-103)

Phenomenon of immigration

  • Finding ways to smart host and hospitality
  • Opening and participation is needed
  • Pastoral care with immigrants
  • Defend the cause of the oppressed and excluded

 4. EUROPA, RETURNS TO FIND YOU

Having addressed some of the keys to a hopeful mission of the Church in Europe, and before performing an analysis on key Congregational, we end with the invitation of John Paul II to renew our confidence and security in the Gospel, the only one not disappoint.

“Renewing this invitation to hope, even today I repeat, Europe, (…)” return to find. Be yourself. Discover your origins. Revive your roots.” Throughout the centuries you have received the treasure of the Christian faith. (…) This heritage does not belong only to the past, it is a project for the future, that has to be transmitted to future generations (…).

Do not get afraid! The Gospel is not against you, but with you. This is confirmed by the fact that the Christian inspiration can transform the political, cultural and economic integration into a relationship, in which all Europeans feel at home and they form a family of nations, in which other regions of the world can be inspired by Enjoy your meal.

Be confident! In the Gospel, which is Jesus, you will find a firm and everlasting hope which you aspire. It is a hope based on Christ’s victory over sin and death. He wanted his victory for your salvation and your joy.

Be sure! The Gospel of hope does not disappoint! In the vicissitudes of your story yesterday and today, It is light that illuminates and guides your path, it is force that sustains you in trials, it is prophecy of a new world, it is an indication of a new beginning, it is an invitation to all, believers or not, to blaze new paths leading to the “Europe of the spirit”, to become a true “common home” where all live happily.” (EEu 120-121)


[1] Taken from chapter 1 ofEcclesia in Europa

[2] JIMENEZ ORTIZ,On the paths of unbelief. Faith in dialogue,A.Editorial CSS, Madrid, 1993.

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