Why the beauty of the prayer corner in the family home is crucial to the New Evangelization
The New Evangelization has become a buzzword of the age. Used by Pope St John Paul II it refers to the need to reach the faithless in the West whose parents and grandparents were Christian. But how do we reach these people who have no faith, but think they already know enough about Christianity to be hostile to it.?
In a short and clear paper written in 2000 Benedict XVI outlined what he believes is the answer to this question. If people are to convert they must believe that the Church has the answer to the fundamental question: ‘Which is the path to happiness?’ We do not tell people the answer to this question, he says, so much as show them. By the example of our own happy lives and loving interactions we show Christ to others. And the only way we can do this is to strive to be walking icons of Christ supernaturally transformed so that we participate in the ‘light’ of the Transfiguration.
There were two aspects of the Christian message that Pope Benedict felt would resonate today particularly when communicated in this way. First is that we demonstrate Christian joy that transcends human suffering so that in our own small way (or sometimes not so small) we bear suffering joyfully and with dignity as the martyrs did.
Second is that we should communicate the fact of life after death and a just and merciful judgment by Christ. When we have joyful hope for a future that reaches beyond death, fear is dispelled and we are given a purpose in this present life (anticipating themes discussed later in Spe Salvi in much greater depth). Again this is more powerfully transmitted in the way we are than by us telling people directly that we are joyful and free of fear.
How can we possibly live up to this ideal? The answer is that left to our own devices we can’t, but with God’s grace we can. The foundation of such a transformation says Benedict, is prayer.
Benedict describes prayer life that is a balance of three different sorts of prayer all ordered to the Eucharist. These are, first, the Sacred Liturgy – the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours; second, ‘para-liturgical’ prayers which are devotional prayers said in common such as the rosary; and third (Read More)