Being Disciples of the New Evangelization

On May 27, Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, spoke to a full audience of young adults at Theology on Tap about "The New Evangelization and the Year of Faith: The Challenges of the Contemporary Church." His Eminence explained seven facets of what it means to be a disciple of the Lord in the context of the New Evangelization: Call, Relationship, Variety, Conversion, Community, Vision, and Mission.

Everyone is called by name to encounter the person of Christ. We encounter Christ by living through Him, with Him, and in Him. Each person is called to a different, unique personal relationship with the love of Christ the Saviour.

The New Evangelization accepts the variety of people that God has created. The Church is not an elite and perfect club. It is a community of sinners in communion with saints. “If you seek a perfect church, when you find it, join it. On that day, it will cease to be a perfect church.”

The conversion of disciples is a lifelong process that does not end with baptism or confirmation. St. Peter's denial of Jesus three times exemplified his struggle with faith. In the Divine Comedy, the lifelong, arduous process is depicted as a seven storey mountain. Thomas Merton's autobiography speaks effectively about this journey.

The New Evangelization calls disciples to be part of a community that look outwards. The greatest love is that which develops and grows between strangers. We can't get too inwardly focused or clingy with friends and family, even though familiar people may appear to provide us with security and comfort.

The New Evangelization follows a vision of the New Jerusalem with clear doctrine about what it means to be a Christian. Religion without doctrine is like a father's love without a father. We can't just wander around in a fog. The vision may be difficult to grasp because it comes from God. We cannot master the God who made us, but we do see the the glory of God, as shown to us in the Gospels, through the Church, and through the saints.

Finally, the New Evangelization calls its disciples on a mission. At the beginning Jesus called us to come and follow Him; at the end He calls us on a wild, glorious adventure to go out and make disciples of all nations through teaching and baptism.

— by a Theology on Tap volunteer