9. Enlightened by the gospel
I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark, but rather shall have the light of life.
With this purpose in view, the Congregation of the Mission, faithful to the Gospel, and always attentive to the signs of the times and the more urgent calls of the Church, should take care to open up new ways and use new means adapted to the circumstances of time and place. Moreover, it should strive to evaluate and plan its works and ministries, and in this way remain in a continual state of renewal.
The Gospel—the teaching and example of Jesus—should be the focal point for Christians. For Jesus defined himself as the “Light of the world”, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. Perfectae Caritatis says that “the ultimate norm” of all renewal is following the Jesus shown us in the Gospel.
1. Jesus, the Key, the Focal Point and the Goal of Human History
Jesus, the first born of Creation, the Alpha and the Omega:
The Church believes that Christ, who died and was raised up for all, can, through his Spirit, offer all people the light and the strength to measure up to his great invitation. No other name under heaven has been given to us by which it is fitting for us to be saved. The Church, likewise, holds that in her most benign Lord and Master can be found the key, the focal point, and the goal of all human history. The Church also maintains that beneath all changes there are many realities which do not change, and which have their ultimate foundation in Christ, who is the same yesterday and today, yes, and for ever.1Gadium et Spes, December 7, 1965, 10.
2. The Gospel and Life Are Interrelated
This ultimate norm of which we have just spoken directs us to take action in the process of re-creation and renewal. It is important, therefore, to recognize the interrelatedness of the Gospel and life. According to Paul VI, there is no other way to carry on the process of evangelization:
Evangelization would not be complete if it did not take account of the unceasing interplay of the Gospel and of concrete human life, both personal and social. This is why evangelization involves an explicit message, adapted to the different situations constantly being realized; about family life, without which personal growth and development is hardly possible; about life in society; about international life, peace, justice and development—a message about liberation, especially energetic today.2Evangelii Nuntiandi, December 8, 1975, 29.
3. This Is My Faith and this Is My Experience
Every missionary is aware that the spirituality of the Company rests upon the evangelical maxims. They occupy a primary position in the life of the Congregation of the Mission. Saint Vincent emphasized this point over and over again. In a letter to Monsieur Codoing, superior in Rome, he wrote:
Ah, Monsieur may God protect you from acting out of mere human consideration… no matter what you might think or desire, be assured that following the doctrine of Jesus and the example of his life will never lead you to disaster, but rather direct you to the fullness of life. All things that are not in conformity with the Gospel are vain, and anyone who acts contrary to the teaching of Jesus is doomed to failure. This is my faith and this is my experience.3O.C., ii, 236-237.
- Do I reflect on, and judge, and evaluate my successes and failures in light of the Gospel?
- What are the real motives that determine my decisions?
Oh Lord, all powerful, eternal light, look with kindness on your Church, the Sacrament of the New Covenant, and, according to your divine plan, complete the work of salvation which you have begun. May all the world see the lowly raised to new life and all creation renewed and illuminated by your Spirit, who lives and reigns with you and the Father, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Gadium et Spes, December 7, 1965, 10.|
|2.||↑||Evangelii Nuntiandi, December 8, 1975, 29.|
|3.||↑||O.C., ii, 236-237.|