Friday, January 28, 2011

Making the Hidden Visible: The Role of the Laity in the New Evangelization - Part I

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed,
 and not to be placed on a lampstand?
For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible;
nothing is secret except to come to light" (Mk. 4:21-22).

From LUMEN GENTIUM  (Light of the Nations)

 35. Christ, the great Prophet, who proclaimed the Kingdom of His Father both by the testimony of His life and the power of His words, continually fulfills His prophetic office until the complete manifestation of glory. He does this not only through the hierarchy who teach in His name and with His authority, but also through the laity whom He made His witnesses and to whom He gave understanding of the faith (sensu fidei) and an attractiveness in speech (Cf. Acts 2:17-18; Rev. 19:10) so that the power of the Gospel might shine forth in their daily social and family life.

 They conduct themselves as children of the promise, and thus strong in faith and in hope they make the most of the present, (Cf. Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5) and with patience await the glory that is to come (Cf. Rom. 8:25). Let them not, then, hide this hope in the depths of their hearts, but even in the program of their secular life let them express it by a continual conversion and by wrestling "against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness (Eph. 6:12).

Just as the sacraments of the New Law, by which the life and the apostolate of the faithful are nourished, prefigure a new heaven and a new earth (Cf. Rev. 21:1), so too the laity go forth as powerful proclaimers of a faith in things to be hoped for (Cf. Heb. 11:1), when they courageously join to their profession of faith a life springing from faith. This evangelization, that is, this announcing of Christ by a living testimony as well as by the spoken word, takes on a specific quality and a special force in that it is carried out in the ordinary surroundings of the world.

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