Saturday, November 24, 2012

Book Recommendation: Will Many Be Saved

This book was recommended to me. Though I have not read it yet, I did run across an article about it in Our Sunday Visitor Catholic Newspaper. I think it is an important topic for our times.
It starts:

Author explains urgency of New Evangelization Book explores Vatican II teaching about salvation and how it relates to evangelization efforts today.

By Mary DeTurris Poust - OSV Newsweekly, 11/25/2012
Knowing who will or will not get into heaven is a tricky subject for most people of faith, but author Ralph Martin tackles it head on in his new book, “Will Many Be Saved? What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implications for the New Evangelization” ($24, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.). Martin recently spoke to Our Sunday Visitor via email from Rome, where he was serving as a theological expert during the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization.
Our Sunday Visitor: Why did you feel this book was necessary at this time?
Ralph Martin: I’ve been concerned for a long time that a presumption that virtually everyone is saved has taken hold in the minds of many Catholics. This obviously undermines motivation for evangelization, not to mention holiness and obedience to the Word of God. The teaching of Vatican II has been very much misunderstood on this point, and the book tries to clearly and decisively set the record straight. It is, indeed, possible under certain conditions for those who have never heard the Gospel to be saved, but as the Constitution on the Church from Vatican II says in Section 16, “very often” these conditions are not met and peoples’ salvations are at risk unless they hear the Gospel and respond.
OSV: We hear the term “New Evangelization” a lot in the Church today, and yet I think many Catholics are still unsure of what that means. Can you explain “New Evangelization” to the person in the pew?
Martin: First of all let’s define evangelization. I think the best definition I know is that given by Blessed John Paul II in his encyclical “Mission of the Redeemer” (Redemptoris Missio):
“The proclamation of the Word of God has Christian conversion (in original) as its aim: a complete and sincere adherence to Christ and his Gospel through faith ... Conversion means accepting, by a personal decision, the saving sovereignty of Christ and becoming his disciple” (No. 46).
Evangelization in its broad sense can refer to everything that the Church does, but the core definition has to do with conversion — helping people come to faith in Christ and surrender their lives to him.
The best definition of “New Evangelization” is again given by Blessed John Paul II in his encyclical. He makes a threefold distinction. Primary evangelization is directed toward those who have never heard the Gospel before. Pastoral care is directed toward those living in some relationship with Christ. “New Evangelization or re-evangelization” is directed toward those from traditionally Christian cultures or backgrounds “where entire groups of the baptized have lost a living sense of the faith, or even no longer consider themselves members of the Church, and live a life far removed from Christ and his Gospel” (No. 33).
The New Evangelization is new in whom it is addressed to, those who may have been baptized or practiced their faith at one time, but now are no longer living a relationship of friendship with Christ. It is also new in terms of who does it: us! And it is new in the cultural situation in which it is conducted — a de-Christianized culture where respect for God and his ways are no longer honored, but rather mocked and attacked.
This doesn’t mean we all need to be preachers. Evangelization can be a very simple sharing of our faith with someone who asks a question; or passing on a book on the spiritual life to someone who would benefit from reading it; or inviting someone who would benefit by hearing more about the faith to a parish mission talk, etc.
Read the rest here.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Reflection 2012

Thanksgiving Reflection 2012

Alright, let’s face facts. We, looks like the minority, are not happy with the recent elections, at least some of us. More than that, we have a gut feeling things will now get even worse. There are many concerns that we can to little about: violence in the streets, job security, the falling economy and the rising debt, secularization of society, cafeteria and non-practicing Catholics, social engineering, rampant pornography, neck deep in taxes, decline of morals and values, lost kids. I could go on. Have I set the mood?

Thanksgiving is a national holiday, not a religious one. Oh really? It might not be on the church calendar, and other than turkey’s, pilgrims, atheists, and the self-absorbed, many of us, most of us, spend some time in thanking God for everything we have; many tell of their blessings over dinner, some get down on their knees, some go to church. It might be a good idea to make a list–kind of a reverse examination of conscious, recount you blessings, not sins. So yes, I would conclude this is a religious holiday.

Do you have indoor plumbing, HDTV, cable/satellite TV, central air/heating, a cell phone, a car, personal computer, and home? Who will be sitting around the Thanksgiving table– family, friends? O.K., I concede, some of us will be alone, but that can be a personal choice as well. Health? Yes, as we get older that becomes an issue. Many times it is a blessing. It tells us something is wrong that needs attention. Perhaps there is a new baby or grandchild. Perhaps someone did you a kindness, gave or loaned money at a critical time.

What I am getting at is the concept of more and less. I learned a long time ago there will be someone who has more and someone who has less. Some are richer, some are poorer. Some have more health, some less. The sun shines on everyone and it rains on everyone.

Did you make that list? Have you thanked God for all those things?

Gratitude. I saw a picture yesterday of an old woman embracing and kissing a World War II solder sitting in a Jeep when Rome was freed. I can’t think of a better visualization of gratitude. We can’t hug God but we can visit Him in church or before the Blessed Sacrament, we can simply talk to Him.

Right around the corner is another holiday, one that is more or less forgotten. Nativity scenes are banned, Christmas greetings are frowned upon by many business and they will also be open that day. You can’t find religious Christmas card in the store–sorry, I meant holiday cards. Amidst the shopping, wrapping, and decorating, how many remember the reason for the season?

Now that is something to be thankful for! Because, through Jesus’ nativity, abandonment, humiliation, torture, death and resurrection, we have been given salvation. All we need to do is lead a good life, avoid sin. Love God and your neighbor. Wow!

So, those people around the Thanksgiving Day table–be sure to give them a huge hug and take a moment to thank God for sending His Son to us. Let’s display some gratitude!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Regarding the Recent Elections...

I made a note during the recent presidential debates and noted the questions from the women and young males were; what will you do for me? Not what will you do for the nation. Candy Crowley was totally biased.