Popes Benedict and Francis have heightened those calls in a secular "post-Christian" era where the second largest faith is "former or non-practicing Catholics. Ralph Martin and Mary Healy show the urgency of this call for each and every member of the faith to evangelize: it's literally a choice between between life and death, Heaven and Hell.
And yet, for too many clergy and laymen, the sense of urgency is sadly absent.
"Calls to a New Evangelization are generally perceived by overworked clergy as a demand to add just another burden to their already overburdened responsibilities,'' they write. "It is generally seen as another burden, perhaps to be satisfied by appointing a committee, or in a few cases hiring an 'evangelist,'''
Martin and Healy show how vital the New Evangelization is and why and how we must work at it daily. The Appendix of this book is just as helpful as the book itself mapping out how the church founders rapidly grew the faith even when challenged by the Roman Empire, Pagans and Pharisees.
"Remember all the rejection Jesus got but he kept on going, knowing only some of the seed he was sowing would sprout and bear fruit,'' they argue. "We need to just keep on 'sowing seeds' and recognize that some the seed will be snatched away by the devil immediately, some will only have vert shallow roots and wilt and die, and some will sprout up but over time be choked off by the cares and anxieties of life. But some will strike deep roots and beat much fruit.''
They show us how we can overcome our own modern day Pharisees, Pagans and modern day foes of faith. An excellent book worth reading.
Often, they note, we have become vain, exchanging the truth of God for a lie, serving the world rather than the Creator.
"Even for those considered 'devout' Catholics, a real conversion is needed to seeing themselves not just as concerned with their own holiness and works of Christian service but consumed with a passion to share Christ with others,'' they argue.
eBook The Urgency of the New Evangelization