A few days before being elected as Pope, Benedict XVI had delivered a lecture at Subiaco on the condition of Europe. In his lucid analysis of the present time, he expressed himself, amongst other things, in these far-sighted words, which constitute a program for the new evangelizers: “What we need at this time of history are people, who, through a faith which is enlightened and lived out in practice, make God credible in this world … We need people who keep their gaze fixed upon God, learning from there what true humanity is. We need people whose intellect is enlightened by the light of God and whose hearts God may open up in such a way that their intellect may speak to the intellect of others and that their hearts may open the hearts of others. Only through people who are touched by God can God return to humanity.” Hence, the new evangelization starts from here: from the credibility of our living as believers and from the conviction that grace acts and transforms to the point of converting the heart. It is a journey which still finds Christians committed to it after two thousand years of history.
Within this context, it is worth recalling a story from the Middle Ages. A poet passed by some work being conducted and saw three workers busy at their work; they were stone cutters. He turned to the first and said: ‘What are you doing, my friend?’ This man, quite indifferently, replied: ‘I am cutting a stone’. He went a little further, saw the second and posed to him the same question, and this man replied, surprised: ‘I am involved in the building of a column’. A bit further ahead, the pilgrim saw the third and to this man also he put the same question; the response, full of enthusiasm, was: ‘I am building a cathedral’. The old meaning is not changed by the new work we are called to construct. There are various workers called into the vineyard of the Lord to bring about the new evangelization; all of them will have some reason to offer to explain their commitment. What I wish for and what I would like to hear is that, in response to the question: ‘What are you doing, my friend?’, each one would be able to reply: ‘I am building a cathedral’. Every believer who, faithful to his baptism, commits himself or herself with effort and with enthusiasm every day to give witness to their own faith offers their original and unique contribution to the construction of their great cathedral in the world of today. It is the Church of our Lord, Jesus, his body and his spouse, the people constantly on the way without ever becoming weary, which proclaims to all that Jesus is risen, has come back to life, and that all who believe in him will share in his own mystery of love, the dawn of a day which is always new and which will never fade.
~Archbishop Fisichella, of Sydney, Australia, “Jesus at the Heart of the New Evangelization”