Trailblazing with the Holy Spirit
When Jesus ordered Simon to sail into deeper water and cast his net, the result was a miraculous catch. Our catch, today, is less miraculous than in the past.
We must face reality and, above all, keep our faith and hope alive. For, even if certain practices are in a state of decline, we still believe that the Lord has not abandoned us during these challenging times!
The Church can be present in new ways, different from those we have known up to now. The Holy Spirit is leading us along new paths. Who could have predicted that parishes would take over the role of accompanying our youngsters along their faith education journey? Parish communities have organized themselves and are succeeding in this mission, despite the mistakes and difficulties that occur when undertaking a brand new endeavor. How many parents are now closer to the Church because of this involvement with the faith education of their children! These are new ways of evangelizing. My heartfelt gratitude and congratulations go to all those who take part, in one way or another, in this new missionary effort.
Proposing Jesus Christ today does not mean a return to the world we once knew. Contemporary society is not inclined to practise religion in the same way. The task before us is twofold. On the one hand, we must maintain our faith and trust in the Lord; on the other, we must be full participants in the life of the Church today. Yielding to a new way of being Church is a tall order, but it is neither the first nor the last time that such a major change occurs within the Church.
“Operation Renewal”, launched last October, impels us to follow new and unexplored paths. Our diocesan project has two objectives: listen and then reach out to the world around us. Let’s be creative!
Our faith and hope are the channels that the Lord uses to call more followers to his mission. In reaching out to others, where does our strength reside? In both our personal and family life, these are essential; the same applies to our involvement in our Christian community, parish organizations and various other groups.
Some practices and customs do not effectively reach out to people; some can even be counterproductive. We must allow them to die out. However, other life-giving experiences are emerging that reveal another reality. Let’s pay close attention to these, because they point to the new paths that we should follow, support and encourage.
The World Day for Consecrated Life, celebrated February 2nd, reminds us of the need to reach out to others, inviting them to follow Christ in a variety of ways. Let’s be effective transmitters so that the Lord’s call to consecrated life and ordained ministry will be heard and answered. May our entire lives lead others to give up everything to follow Christ.
† Jean-Claude Turcotte
Archbishop of Montréal