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The Work of Evangelization
I would like to share with you some reflection about the Constitutions of my Religious Congregation – The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.
Today I will talk about Constitutions from number 6 to 10. It means that we are still on the beginning of the Constitutions in the First Chapter – Section Two.
The whole first Chapter is speaking about the Missionary Work of the Congregation but our 5 constitutions – from 6th to 10th want to give us some vision about “the work of Evangelization” done by the Redemptorists.
What is very special for me in the Constitution number 6? It speaks about the special understanding of the Gospel of Salvation.
“Gospel” is an exceptional gift from God to us and we as Redemptorists received this privilege to proclaim this Good News to all – as the message from our God who wants our salvation. In other words, God wants our happiness. So we can preach the Gospel and proclaim its salvific message – it means “kerygma” – We can say that “kerygma” is the initial gospel proclamation designed to introduce a person to Christ and to appeal for conversion.
This happiness – it means” the redemption” – is not reserve only for our spiritual dimension. This constitution speaks that “Redemption” affects the entire person. The older concept of human being in the missionary message gave the privilege of place to the spiritual component of our life. Before very often we were talking about “the salvation of the soul” or that we are send to “the most abandoned souls”.
We know very well now that we should think and we should talk about the unity of the human person not only about some specific aspects. Our proclamation, the message must touch the integral eschatological dimension.
In the same way another interesting aspect is that – this constitution number 6 speaks about “a new earth and a new heaven” (we remember these words from the Book of Revelation. This great gift of redemption is for all. Before we were prevalently directed to individuals. The traditional themes of the “last things” or of the “eternal maxims” were connected to my own work for my own salvation – but we are community – and our good Father prepared for all of us a new earth and the new heavens.
The Constitution stresses very much the Trinitarian dimension of the salvific plan: the love of God the Father, who first loved us; Jesus – Redeemer and the Lord; and Holy Spirit who gives life to all who believe in him.
We, the Redemptorists, have very characteristic vocabulary of Redemptorist spirituality: so we use in this constitution the words like: Redeemer, redemption, plentiful redemption, and so on.
The text’s message is connected to mercy – merciful redemption. We as missionaries want to preach more about pardon – than to condemnation, more about compassion toward the sinner, the joyous redemption.
We have the example of the founder, Saint Alphonsus who never had to send anyone away from confession without absolution.
The Constitutions from seventh to tenth are talking about the Evangelization itself.
In some way this part speaks about our Missionary Methodology.
The Constitution number 7 – presents the basic presupposition of the evangelization.
We must always remember that salvation is a gift, is a grace. It’s God’s grace. And this grace is always working in ways that often go beyond institutions and visible structures.
We as missionaries never start from zero. The grace of Redemption is everywhere and we want to open the eyes of the people that this grace is close to all of us.
In some part of the world today the people lost their capacity to see the spiritual reality. But it doesn’t mean that Redemption doesn’t exist, that the salvation is not present.
We Redemptorists are touched by love of God in our lives. So we want to share this happiness with others. So this Constitution speaks that we are the witnesses of the Good News of the grace of God.
The constitutions from 8th to 10th speaks about the various steps of realization of Evangelization and about the spirit that ought to accompany evangelization.
We can name the constitution number 8 as the Missionary Strategy.
Despite its brevity, this constitution presents the missionary methodology in a way in comparison to the Old Rule and Constitutions.
This Constitution says that now ‘according to the situations in which we find ourselves, we will eagerly try to discover what we should do or say.
Redemptorists live in missionary communities in more than 80 countries in all continents. We have also many lay men and women who collaborate in our mission and together form the Redemptorist Family.
So we are living in different parts of the world and due to the variety of the situation and cultures of the people – we should choose the way of evangelization, what can we do in this place.
Sometimes we can proclaim Christ explicitly but sometimes we can do our proclamation through the silent witness of brotherly presence.
The next Constitution – number 9 – is speaking about this a little bit more – about different circumstances in the different part of the world – but always we have the possibility to proclaim the Gospel but in the different ways.
In some places we can give only witness to the charity of Christ and in this way we are preparing the ways for the abundance of the Redemption.
We need – the different approaches in missionary planning as well as a new missionary strategy. Sometimes just the presence among the people, and this presence will give the true witness of the Gospel of Christ and maybe in future this witness change something. So we can say that it is just the pre-evangelization. But the pre-evangelization is also essential.
Always we must remember that the Redemption is the gift from God and only God knows time and place and the best way to prepare the people for this gift.
The Constitution number 10 is – for me – important because it gives – something like the definition about our goal. It says: “Indeed Redemptorists have as their special mission in the Church the explicit proclamation of the word of God to bring about fundamental conversion.
In reality what we said of the witness evangelization in the Constitution number 9 is not an end in itself, but rather an opening to the explicit proclamation spoken of – in Constitution 10.
“Witness of life and the charity opens the ways to the testimony of the word.” God has the great fantasy and he gave us also this gift of fantasy to use it during the evangelization.
So let us pray for good inspiration and for God’s help in seeking new possibilities of proclaiming God’s Word.
Author: Fr. Jacek Zdrzałek CSsR
Music from – https://filmmusic.io
“A Very Brady Special” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)
License – CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)