“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent? (Romans 10:13-15)
Pour forth your Holy Spirit to inspire me with these words from Holy Scripture.
Stir in my soul the desire to renew my faith and deepen my relationship with your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ so that I might truly believe in and live the Good News.
Open my heart to hear the Gospel and grant me the confidence to proclaim the Good News to others.
Pour out your Spirit, so that I might be strengthened to go forth and witness to the Gospel in my everyday life through my words and actions.
In moments of hesitation, remind me:
If not me, then who will proclaim the Gospel?
If not now, then when will the Gospel be proclaimed?
If not the truth of the Gospel, then what shall I proclaim?
God, our Father, I pray that through the Holy Spirit I might hear the call of the New Evangelization to deepen my faith, grow in confidence to proclaim the Gospel and boldly witness to the saving grace of your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
As we pray for a New Evangelization, and contemplate our own roles and responsibilities in its accomplishment, we can’t help but confront the powerful, daily extent to which we are being evangelized. The initiative for a New Evangelization follows from the Church’s understanding that our Gospel is not the only one out there, and that—God help us—we are vastly outnumbered and outspent by our competition.
We can’t go online, listen to television or radio, or even open our mail without being assailed by the seductive and well-financed preachers of consumerism, narcissism, and fear.
The false gospel of consumerism insists that happiness can be found in things, that our security is in direct proportion to our possessions. Even—it’s called the “prosperity gospel”—that material success is evidence of God’s favor.
The false gospel of narcissism proclaims that our worth is determined by our physical looks or by the admiration of others. That our highest aspiration should be celebrity, or at least a record number of friends on social media. That I make moral decisions based on “what’s in it for me.”
The false gospel of fear sounds a constant alarm, threatening the loss of our possessions, our freedom, or even our lives at the hands of whichever “others” we blame at any given moment.
Our Gospel, the one we are called to preach by our words and acts, contradicts each one of these. The Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses the poor and the meek, and it embraces the outcast. It preaches putting the needs of others before our own. It tells us, “Fear not,” because the love of our Lord is perfect, and “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). We will accomplish the New Evangelization, with God’s help, at home and in the world, by reflecting that perfect love.
Richard Reece is a writer and retired magazine editor. He is former editor-in-chief of Catholic Digest magazine and of NC Catholics.