In his prayer intentions for August, the Holy Father has turned his attention to Christians in the west.
His general intention focuses on World Youth Day, which is now only some two weeks away – more on that tomorrow – but his missionary intention is an important call to allow God to move and work in societies where he is often seen as a relic of the past.
Benedict XVI hopes that:
“That Western Christians may be open to the action of the Holy Spirit and rediscover the freshness and enthusiasm of their faith.”
We cannot be still in the spiritual life, the saints say, if we are not walking towards God, we are moving away from him. If this maxim holds true for individuals it also holds for societies, nations and even civilizations. The signs of heading the wrong way are there, as Benedict explains in the CTS booklet How to spread the Gospel:
“No one who looks realistically at our world today could think that Christians can afford to go on with business as usual, ignoring the profound crisis of faith which has overtaken our society, or simply trusting that the patrimony of values handed down by Christian centuries will continue to inspire and shape the future of our society.”
Such is the assessment of an extraordinarily clear thinker, yet the Christian is surely characterized by hope, not of the blind or foolhardy idealistic kind, but based on God’s goodness. So, we are presented with solutions as well as problems.
“We know that in times of crisis and upheaval God has raised up great saints and prophets for the renewal of the Church and Christian society; we trust in his providence and we pray for his continual guidance. But each of us, in accordance with his or her state of life, is called to work for the advancement of God’s Kingdom by imbuing temporal life with the values of the Gospel. Each of us has a mission, each of us is called to change the world, to work for a culture of life, a culture forged by love and respect for the dignity of each human person.”
Plenty for us to do then, with the help of the Holy Spirit.
How to spread the Gospel is available from CTS priced £2.50
Of related interest: