Recently Pope Francis released the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel). Pope Francis opens the document like this:
“The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew.” This papal exhortation encourages the Christian faithful to the New Evangelization with new enthusiasm. Pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in the years to come, this document offers the following: “I dream of a ‘missionary option,’ that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation” (#27).
This is a huge statement. As a Church, we have been in self-preservation mode. We have hid ourselves in bunkers and hoped to survive. Pope Francis is calling for our Church to thrive by choosing the missionary option in everything that we do.
How do we do this? That’s what the rest of the document is all about. Read on.