Monday, September 9, 2013

The Church has proclaimed the "new evangelization" of a world that has grown accustomed to hearing about Jesus Christ without really allowing the Good News to pierce the human heart or the social soul. There have been books and blogs and conferences and workshops and speeches and exhortations and outlines and programs and, all in all, a lot of churched people talking to other churched people about the "new evangelization." As much as a lot of people are very busy talking about it, as near as I can tell, the only thing that isn't being done is actual evangelization!
Today the Church celebrates the Memorial of Pope Saint Gregory the Great, who midway through the first millennium of Christianity actually DID do something about evangelization. He sent missionaries to all parts of the globe to announce the Gospel of Jesus Christ and convert souls and lives to Our Savior. He also sent legates throughout the Christian world to learn how the local churches were praying, especially how they celebrated the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and when the legates returned Pope Gregory commissioned a missal that would gather the liturgical "best practices" of the world in to one common book of prayer. The Latin Catholic church has used this "Roman Missal" ever since. Indeed it is called the Roman Missal because it is the compilation undertaken in Rome of prayers from throughout the world.
Gregory the Great is a marvelous example of surrender to the loving will of God. He trained to be a lawyer and entered the service of the State. When at the peak of his career, he left public life to enter a monastery, but even there the finger of God charted the course for him: he was elected Pope and reluctantly accepted the office in abandonment to God's will. Perpetually decrying how much time was taken by the administrative details of office, he nonetheless accomplished much out of love for Christ and His Church.
September 3, 2013
Msgr. William J. King

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