I’m over at Kelly Wahlquist’s place today where many people are reading through and reflecting on Pope Francis’ latest Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, translated as “The Joy of the Gospel.” The section I was assigned to cover was not exactly joyful… it was Francis’ outline of the difficult state of affairs that our world is in — EXACTLY a world that NEEDS the JOY of the GOSPEL.
So don’t get depressed by all the bad stuff our world faces, get excited that Jesus has a plan of repair and redemption!
Here’s a snippet…
If you just begin reading “The Joy of the Gospel” (Evangelii Gaudium) (EG) by diving into Chapter 2, and picking up this section from paragraphs 59-75 describing the challenges we face in our society, you might find it rather depressing.
You may ask, where is the joy of the gospel in all of this?
I predict some first-time readers of magisterial documents — folks who dared to venture into reading this large document based on their love for and interest in Francis — may be tempted to stop their reading because the challenges seem too big, too widespread, and too disparate.
But, intrepid readers, especially those tuned to the current Advent season, know why Francis must speak this way…
To discover the beauty of light, we must experience profound darkness.
To understand redemption we must first know sin.
To find joy in evangelization we must be lovers of the lost, the least, the little, and the lonely.
Francis is a realist, and he offers a reality check for the Church’s mission. Indeed, acknowledging the brokenness of our cultural landscape is not to promote despair, but to chart a reliable plan for repair. In this way Francis can “encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come (EG, 1).”
Read the rest, and the other reflections that will appear every day through Advent!
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