Friday, 22 January 2016

Blocking Evangelisation through hardness of heart

This coming Sunday the Ordinariate's Calendar moves into liturgical purple for a pre-Lent season beginning with Septuagesima. For some Catholics, who have only experienced the purple season beginning on Ash Wednesday, it can seem as a little pre-emptive. "Surely Lent has not begun yet?" Well indeed Lent has not begun, but Lent is so important for us perhaps we need preparation before it begins with earnest on Ash Wednesday? The three purple Sundays before Lent give us valuable preparation time.

In my mind Lent is all about conversion - the conversion of life. It is about honestly saying my life does not conform to our Saviour's Gospel and it needs to! I need to repent, to turn myself around and believe in the Gospel - not least by living it out!

In this article I have found some really helpful reminders and new thoughts about this, and not least how the hardness of our hearts is the real problem in Evangelisation. Mgr Pope is very good and I recommend this to you:

Scripture’s Sober Assessment of the Hardness of Many Human Hearts and What It Means for Evangelization
by Mgr Charles Pope
It is rather a typical assumption of the modern Western mind that differences and hostilities are due mainly to misunderstandings or a lack of proper information; that if we would discuss (“dialogue”), share information, respect pluralism (diversity), and overcome misunderstandings, all would be well and there would be peace.

Missing in this approach is the more sober notion of the hardness of human hearts. Information alone does not usually bring peace and an end to trouble. Rather, transformation effected by repentance and conversion is the truer and more biblical answer. But repentance and conversion usually require a lot more than dialogue or the sharing of information.

Biblically, repentance is usually effected by a combination of instruction and admonition. Teaching and the setting forth of doctrine are essential, but warning about the consequences of disregarding the truth must also take place. As He taught, Jesus consistently warned that in the end there will be sheep and goats, those to the right and those to the left, the wise and foolish virgins, those who will hear “Come blessed of my Father ..” and those who will hear, “Depart from me you evil doers.” Yes, His parables are filled with warnings as are his more discursive teachings, in which He warns that no one will come to the Father except through Him and that Unless you come to believe that I AM, you will die in your sins (Jn 8:24).

/continue here

DAY NINE (Eve of Pentecost)