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The Manner of Performing
the Work of Evangelization
The first 2 Constitutions tell us about the Mission of the Congregation.
The first section talked about the missionary work of the Congregation 3-5
The second section includes the missionary work of the Congregation.
- Make the abundant redemption of Christ to reach everyone.
- With the explicit announcement of the Word and with the testimony of life.
- To achieve conversion to Jesus Christ.
The third section focuses on how to carry out Evangelization.
What characterizes the evangelization of the Redemptorists, is not the concrete forms, but the ways of carrying out the evangelization.
Constitutions 13 to 20 stop in this regard.
And they point out three ways that identify us in the Church:
- Missionary dynamism.
- Cooperation with the Church.
- And the dialogue with the world.
We begin with the first aspect: Missionary dynamism.
Constitution 13 reminds us that in carrying out its mission, the Congregation seeks to act with bold initiatives and with tense dynamism
- Audacity and dynamism.
- Audacity, which speaks to us of courage, of boldness, of being fearless when it comes to speaking, to act, to look for new forms and new styles.
- Dynamism: talking about the ability to change, to take further actions quickly. That is why we are invited not to be afraid of looking for new ways to carry out the mission, ways that respond at all times to the psychology of people, to their forms of expression, to relate.
Constitution 14 names this reality: missionary dynamism, which, rather than focusing on concrete forms, seeks to serve the poorest and most needy men and women, trying to reach their level and using their cultural world and language.
Constitution 15 asks the Redemptorists two fundamental attitudes to be able to act with that missionary dynamism: freedom and availability
- Freedom and availability concerning the groups they evangelize,
- That means we don’t tie ourselves to specific groups of people with whom we can feel identified.
- And above all, we do not settle in particular structures, places, or situations, but we are available to go where we are needed at all times.
- It means that we are open to looking for new presences and new ways that respond better to the specific moment we are living.
From our conviction, Constitution 16 reminds us that we have to assess the various ways in which we have responded over time to pastoral urgencies to missionary priorities.
And likewise, be open to accepting new forms in the future that respond to those same priorities.
And an important question that we must ask ourselves is, who is responsible for determining what the priorities of each moment are and the missionary forms with which we have to respond at each moment?
Constitution 17 reminds us that it is all confreres who should seek together priorities and answers, especially when they meet in the Provincial Chapter and with the Consent of the General Government.
It is a critical appreciation because many times, we can be tempted to think that everyone can and should look for who is the most abandoned.
And yet it is necessary always to remember that it is the Congregation that has received a specific assignment, and therefore
- we must look together who are our recipients,
- and periodically evaluate whether the means of evangelization that we use meet the expectations of each moment.
The second aspect of this third section tells us about Cooperation with the Church.
Constitution 18 is an invitation in this regard for congregants and communities to harmonize their work with the programs of the Universal and Local Church.
Redemptorists owe ourselves to the universal Church, and therefore we are subject to the authority of the Supreme Pontiff.
But we cannot forget that, by the principle of exemption, we depend on the Ordinary of the diocese, on the bishop.
There is no point in pastoral work if we do it outside the Church. Our task as redeemers is to help the Church reach the Gospel to all the most remote corners, especially the most abandoned.
Hence the Redemptorists are asked to, from the apostolic fraternity, make ourselves present in the missionary structures and works of the dioceses, especially in areas where ordinary pastoral care does not reach.
And we come to the third aspect of the third section, which is the dialogue with the world.
Redemptorists are people of the people: We know the people, their concerns and aspirations. Their way of living and feeling. Their interests and expectations.
Only from there can we carry a message of salvation to the men and women of our time.
That is the invitation that Constitution 19 gives us:
- To have adequate knowledge and experience of the world
- To engage in dialogue with cultures, without being afraid of getting dirty.
- We remember the words of Pope Francis: “I prefer an injured, wounded and stained Church to go out to the street, that a Church sick from confinement and the comfort of clinging to its securities. I don’t want a Church worried about being the center, and that ends in a tangle of obsessions and procedures.”
- This Constitution invites us to know the concerns and needs of today’s man so that we can respond from the Gospel to his interests. Without forgetting that God loves the concrete man and woman, also those of today. And it is to these men and women that we have to announce the Gospel today.
I cannot finish this section without sharing with you Constitution 20, which gives us a beautiful synthesis of what a Redemptorist missionary is and a concrete way of carrying out the work of evangelization.
“Redemptorists are strong in faith, rejoicing in hope, burning with charity, on fire with zeal, in humility of heart and persevering in prayer, Redemptorists as apostolic men and genuine disciples of Saint Alphonsus follow Christ the Redeemer with hearts full of joy; denying themselves and always ready to undertake what is demanding, they share in the mystery of Christ and proclaim it in Gospel simplicity of life and language, that they may bring to people plentiful redemption. ”
Author: Pedro Lopez CSsR
Translation: Ryan Holovlasky CSsR
Starry by Kevin MacLeod