Another Benedict is Here, Leading the Church into a New Missionary Age
The Church is Christ's plan for the entire world
I believe we are at the beginning of a new missionary age of the Catholic Church being led by a Pope who took the name of the Monk whose movement reclaimed Europe for the Church in the last millennium. I suggest that the selection of his name was not accidental but providential and prophetic. We are all called to be "fishers of men in the ocean of our time". We are living, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, in "the time of mission" and the whole Church is summoned to harvest.
Saint Benedict, a father of Western Monasticism and co-patron of Europe
ROME, Italy (Catholic Online) - On Saturday, February 6, 2011 Pope Benedict XVI preached a profound homily before he ordained five priests to the office of Bishop. The Homily was an instruction on the office and mission of Bishops as successors of the Apostles and can be read in its entirety here. Pope Benedict XVI explained the Bishops' call to an "ecclesial existence". What is also notable about this homily is the Pope's emphasis on the missionary mandate of the whole Church. This is a recurring theme in the allocutions of Pope Benedict XVI. Here are some excerpts:
"The harvest is great but the laborers are few! Pray then to the lord of the harvest to send laborers for his harvest!" (Luke 10:2). These words from the Gospel of today's Mass touch us in a special way in this moment. It is the time of mission: The Lord sends you, Dear Friends, to his harvest. You must collaborate in that task of which the prophet Isaiah speaks in the first reading: "The Lord has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted" (Isaiah 61:1).
"This is the work of the harvest in God's fields, in the fields of human history: to bring the light of truth to men, to liberate them from being poor in truth, which is man's real misery and poverty. To bring them the glad tidings that are not only words, but an event: God himself has come among us. He takes us by the hand; he takes us up to himself and thus is the broken heart healed. Let us thank the Lord for sending laborers into the harvest of world history. Let us thank the Lord for sending you, for your saying yes and because now you will again say your "yes" to being workers for the Lord and for men.
"The harvest is great:" This is also true today, precisely today. Even if it can seem that large sections of the modern world, of the men of today, turn their back on God and regard faith as something of the past -- there nevertheless exists the desire for the establishment of justice, love, peace, the desire that poverty and suffering be overcome, that men find joy. This desire is present in the world of today, the desire for what is great, for what is good.
"It is the nostalgia for the Redeemer, for God himself, even there where he is denied. Precisely in this hour working in God's fields is especially urgent and precisely in this hour the truth of Jesus' words -- "The laborers are few" -- weighs painfully upon us. At the same time the Lord makes us understand that we cannot send workers to the harvest on our own, that it is not a question of management, of our own organizational capacity.
"Only God can send workers into his field. But he wants to send us to this work through the doors of our prayers. Thus this moment of thanksgiving for the realization of a sending on mission is, in a special way, also the moment of prayer: Lord, send laborers into your harvest! Open hearts to the one you have sent! Do not allow our supplication to be in vain! . "Duc in altum" (Luke 5:4) -- Set out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.
"Jesus said this to Peter and his companions when he called them to become "fishers of men." "Duc in altum" -- Pope John Paul II, in his last years, took up these words again in a powerful way and proclaimed them in a loud voice to the Lord's disciples today. "Duc in altum" -- the Lord says to you in this hour, Dear Friends. You are called to posts that are related to the universal Church. You are called to cast the net into the troubled sea of our time to bring men to follow Christ; to draw them out, so to speak, of the salty waters of death and darkness into which the light of heaven does not penetrate. You must bring them to the shore of life, into communion with Jesus Christ.
"In a passage in his first book of his work on the Holy Trinity, St. Hilary of Poitiers suddenly breaks into a prayer: For this I pray "that you fill the unfurled sails of our faith and our profession with the breath of your Spirit and you drive me forward in the passage of my proclamation" (I 37 CCL 62, 35s). Yes, for this we pray in this moment for you, dear friends. So, unfurl the sails of your souls, the sails of faith, of hope, of love, so that the Holy Spirit might fill them and grant you a blessed journey as fishers of men in the ocean of our time."
In a Motu Propio directive Pope Benedict XVI erected a Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization tasked with evangelizing countries where the Gospel was announced centuries ago but where its presence in peoples' daily life seems to be all but lost. He has invited each of us to live our baptismal vocation, no matter what our state in life, completely given over to the work of ...
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