31 October 2013

Local Catholic Roundup: All Saints, All Souls, Seminary Society Breakfast, &c.

Hi, everyone.  I want to wish all a blessed Feast of All Saints and Commemoration of All Souls.  There are a number of items I wanted to cover concerning the next few days and weeks:

1. Mass Schedule at St. Francis de Sales Oratory:

All Saints' Day, Friday, November 1:

8am Low Mass; 12:15pm Low Mass; 6:30pm Solemn High Mass 

All Souls' Day, Saturday, November 2:
8am Low Mass; 10am Solemn Requiem with Absolution 

Please recall the All Souls' indulgences available from November 1st-8th.  From Rorate Caeli:

    For the faithful departed

    § 1. A plenary indulgence, applied exclusively to the souls in Purgatory, is granted to the Christian faithful who:

    1° on each single day, from the first to the eighth day in November, devoutly visit a cemetery and, even if only mentally, pray for the faithful departed; [Note: one plenary indulgence for each day, if the usual conditions are met]

    2° on the day of Commemoration of All Faithful Departed [November 2] (or, according to the Ordinary, on the preceding or subsequent Sunday, or on the day of the solemnity of All Saints) piously visit a church or oratory and there recite the Pater and the Credo.

(Reference: Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, 4th edition, al. concessiones.)

2. From the Oratory newsletter, information on the annual Seminary Society Breakfast, Sunday, November 3, after both the 8 am Low Mass and the10 am Solemn High Masses:

The Seminary Society Breakfast will take place after all Masses this Sunday. It has become an annual festivity you don’t want to miss. Come and see!

Canon Mora, rector of the seminary, with our seminarians

In addition to the usual hearty breakfast and 50/50 raffle with wonderful prizes, you and your family will be treated to a joyful video from Gricigliano – produced especially for us. Familiar faces and a familiar narrator will guide us on a tour of Seminary life. We can safely say that the Oratory has the privilege to see the most current activities at the Seminary – thanks to our special connection to many seminarians who have been candidates here. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Mrs. Hayworth for her organization of this event, everyone will again have the opportunity to be paired with a seminarian in prayer.

The Seminary in Gricigliano now can accommodate 71 seminarians, thanks to the recent restoration work made possible by donations from the faithful. This, and the fact that one third of the 85 seminarians are from North America are evidence of your generous support - by prayer and by sacrifice. You are in the prayers of the seminarians every day.

Please keep them in yours!

3.  3rd Annual Gaudete Gala, Saturday, December 14.  From the newsletter:


Saturday, December 14th, 6:00pm - Millenium Hotel - Grand Ballroom

Tickets on sale November 17 at (314) 771-3100 or email

A highlight of the Advent Season, the Gaudete Benefit Gala has become an annual tradition of fine food and music that you won’t want to miss! The evening features an elegant dinner as well as live performances of the Oratory’s various music ensembles under the direction of Mr. Nick Botkins, the Oratory’s Director of Sacred Music.

Performance highlights of the 2013 Gaudete Benefit Gala include movements of Vivaldi’s popular Gloria, as well as Gustav Holst’s charming collection of traditional carols – Christmas Day.

The Gaudete Benefit Gala supports the Oratory’s continually growing Sacred Music Program. This year’s venue is the magnificent Grand Ballroom at the Millennium Hotel in downtown Saint Louis. Mark your calendar and plan to buy your tickets early, they won’t last long!

Gala Tickets are available for purchase by calling the Oratory office (314) 771-3100, or after the Sunday Masses starting November 17th through December 8th. $45 per ticket or $75 (Orchestra Seating).

May everyone have a blessed and spiritually beneficial weekend.  Oremus pro invicem!

Sermon for Mission Sunday

The following sermon was delivered by Canon Raphael Ueda, ICRSS, at St. Francis de Sales Oratory a week ago Sunday. I apologize for not posting it sooner, old age sometimes makes me forgetful.

Mission Sunday 2013, 22nd Sunday after Pentecost

The whole life of man is a return journey to God. He was made by God and must go back to Him, His Father in Heaven. The end of man consists in rejoining Him and uniting himself to Him. And man finds in union with God all that he can desire.

St. Augustine said, "Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in thee.”

This is the Christian vocation which we are called to accomplish. But in reality it is not so easy to realize this. As long as we live on this earth, even though we aspire to attain this union with God in our heart, we can never get rid of our body by which all of disordered passions attack and drag us down. Indeed this earthly dimension of our existence can sometimes be a strong source of temptation. Certain doctrines held that the world was a work of evil and therefore one should not commit himself to it through marriage, work or the state. But this position does not appertain to Christians. A Christian marries and has children and participates in everything.

In Today’s Gospel Jesus outlines, clearly and distinctly, the position of the Christian toward the state. By telling us to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, Jesus teaches us to give to the State all that falls under its jurisdiction unless its orders are opposed to the law of God for in this case, it would no longer represent divine authority. But Jesus does not stop there, He says more: “Give to God what is God’s.”

But in reality it is not easy to make a clear line between spiritual and temporal authorities.

Today is Mission Sunday, which was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1926 for the entire world. Pope Pius XI governed the Church in one of the most disturbing and difficult times.

This pope who reigned the Church in the time of constant conflict between the Church and the State, astonished the world by canonizing St. Therese of the Child Jesus as model of sanctity in 1925 and he declared St, Therese as patroness of all missionaries and of all the missions. He presented her as a model of Holiness in an age of violence and arrogance.

The Mission of the Church is to win souls for Jesus Christ and to work to build the Church as anticipating God’s Kingdom in Heaven. St. Therese accomplished this great mission in the hidden monastery of Carmel.

She was born in 1873 in France. In 1888 at the age of 15 she entered the Carmel with the determination to become a saint.
But after several years in the Carmel she realized how small and insignificant she was. She saw the limitations of all her efforts. She remained small and very far off from the unfailing love that she wished to practice. She understood then that it was in this very littleness that she must learn to ask God’s help. She found a passage from Proverbs that struck her with particular force. “Whosoever is a little one, let him come to me”. The smallness of Therese, her limits, became in this way grounds for joy, more than discouragement. She wrote in her autobiography. “I will seek out a means of getting to Heaven by a little way—very short and very straight, a little way that is totally new. I need to try and find a lift by which I may be raised unto God, for I am too tiny to climb the steep stairway of perfection. Thine arms, then, O Jesus, are the lift which must raise me up even unto Heaven.

Even though her life was directed to the performance of duty, to the pursuit of good works, to the cultivation of all the virtues, yet she rejected all ascetic efforts which were directed not toward God but toward one's own perfection. It was on this view then that she based her extraordinary refusal to consider her daily faults important because of her lack of illusions in her view of human beings, she assigned to these things, no more significance than they deserved.

She wrote, “I have long believed that the Lord is more tender than a mother. Children are always giving us trouble, falling down, getting themselves dirty, breaking things. But all this does not shake their parents' love for them.”

In the end of her life when she was near death her physical suffering kept increasing. She died on September 30, 1897 at the young age of 24. On her death-bed, she is reported to have said, “I have reached the point of not being able to suffer any more, because all suffering is sweet to me. Her last words were, My God, I love you!

In her quest for sanctity, she believed that it was not necessary to accomplish great deeds, in order to attain holiness and to express her love of God. She wrote, "Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word and the doing of the least actions for love."

After death her mission began, as was her desire, a new phase of apostolic presence on behalf of souls in the Communion of Saints, in order to shower a rain of roses upon the world.

Her spiritual message has been welcomed throughout the world and spread by the translation of her writings into over fifty languages.

Dear faithful, let us ask to St. Therese the grace so that we can fulfill our vocation which is a total, loving union with God and each other. Amen.

29 October 2013

The Passion of the Christ Was Supposed to Incite Religious Bigotry and Persecution?


The Hollywood Reporter covers a new film that puts the blame for mass murder where the world thinks it belongs-- on Catholics.  I'm sure the public will rise up in indignation.

Have you read Lord of the World?  We might just be beginning to live it.

Video Really Nails Homeschooling Parents' Daily Recap

From my own brother:

Having a Bad Day? Think Again.

I know that we sometimes can get a little down about the state of the world around us.  But this story is a good reminder that it can be much, much worse.  The following comes from a story in the New York Post, but I won't link it because of some truly vile sidebar images that appear on the link.  Find the full story at your own peril. 

So much evil in the world; so much need for prayer.

Girl crawls out of grave after being raped, buried alive

A 13-year-old girl has dug herself out of a muddy grave after being raped by two men who then buried her alive in Pakistan.

The teen was abducted from her local village in the Punjab province while she was walking to Koran lessons.

Her father Siddique Mughal told police his daughter had been taken, but they refused to cooperate, Outlook India reported.

The men took the young girl to an isolated place and raped her and then buried her alive as they believed she died during the brutal attack.

But the girl managed to dig her way out the muddy grave and caught the attention of passers-by who helped her to a local medical center.[...]

28 October 2013

Georgetown University Quits Obsessing about the Immorality of Abortion

According to reports here and here.

Not yet confirmed on the course list for next semester:  Studies in Teen Unemployment.

Prayer Request

This one moved me, and I post it as I received it:

I humbly request that you ask your readers offer their prayers, through the Infant of Prague, for my 16 year old granddaughter who was raped by two adult men and for my beloved mother who is approaching the end of Life. We also thank Jesus for a return to health of my wife.

27 October 2013

Feast of Christ the King

In honor of this great feast, so necessary in a world that does not know and does not serve its true King, and in honor of the return of Canon Wiener to the Oratory, I am reposting my post-- and his sermon-- from 2010:

Traditionally, from the date of the institution of this feast (and still to this day in the Extraordinary Form), the Feast of Christ the King is celebrated on the last Sunday of October. The change of the date of this feast to the last Sunday of the liturgical year has caused a subtle, or not-so-subtle, shift in emphasis of the meaning of this title of Our Lord. The act of placing this feast at the end of the year, with the natural and liturgical eschatological emphasis of this Sunday, places the focus mainly on the Kingship of Christ at the end of time, to the diminution of His Kingship right now over men. Both are realities, and are there to be contemplated in either form. But by splitting the Feast from the Last Sunday in the traditional Roman calendar, both realities get their own spotlight. I think this is just another of the many, many bad consequences of the denuding of the liturgy of the Church.

Back in October [2010] Canon Michael Wiener, Rector of St. Francis de Sales Oratory, delivered the following excellent sermon on the Feast of Christ the King. I offer it for the enjoyment of readers, who might not get the same emphasis at their own Sunday Mass sermon:


We are all monarchists!

By 1925 all great monarchies had ceased to exist: The revolution in Russia in 1917 had swiped away the czar, the Great War of 1914-1918 ended the Reich and Austria and Germany lost Kaiser and Emperor. For the first time in history there was no one on earth to claim the title of “Caesar”.

In this dramatic and new situation in world affairs the Holy Father, the great Pope Pius XI. speaks his words of enlightenment and guidance - the Encyclical letter “Quas Primas” of December 1925.

In it he does not teach how to rule the world by a secular monarch, but how to be faithful to the King of the Universe:

“It was surely right, then, in view of the common teaching of the sacred books, that the Catholic Church, which is the kingdom of Christ on earth, destined to be spread among all men and all nations, should with every token of veneration salute her Author and Founder in her annual liturgy as King and Lord, and as King of Kings.”

Aware - as all popes including our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. - of the effective role the sacred liturgy plays in the formation of the faithful, Pope Pius XI institutes the feast of Christ the King – and teaches us what the significance of Christ’s kingship is:

“His kingship is founded upon the ineffable hypostatic union. From this it follows not only that Christ is to be adored by angels and men, but that to him as man angels and men are subject, and must recognize his empire; by reason of the hypostatic union Christ has power over all creatures. But a thought that must give us even greater joy and consolation is this that Christ is our King by acquired, as well as by natural right, for he is our Redeemer.”

Christ is King as God and as man:

“For it is only as man that he may be said to have received from the Father ‘power and glory and a kingdom,’ since the Word of God, as consubstantial with the Father, has all things in common with him, and therefore has necessarily supreme and absolute dominion over all things created.”

This power is threefold, legislative, judicial and punitive:
"For neither doth the Father judge any man; but hath given all judgment to the Son."

And Christ’s reign is universal:

“His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ.”

All this, we might say, is very nice, but how does this concern me, why is this relevant for us today? Isn’t this power, of which you speak, only a metaphor, has only a symbolic meaning?

No, Christ’s power is not only a figure of speech, it is the reality in which we live.

“It would be a grave error, on the other hand, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since, by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power.”

Christ’s kingly power is the source of all power exercised by those who govern others.

"You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.”

Yes, we live in a monarchy because as Catholics we see that all order that reflects God’s goodness in our culture, in our families, in our workplace and also in our political life is a direct fruit of the incarnation of God in Christ. Christ leaves an imprint on all aspects of our social and individual lives, giving us true freedom to do the will of God. The form in which we correspond to the will of God might be different:

“There is no question here respecting forms of government, for there is no reason why the Church should not approve of the chief power being held by one man or by more, provided only it be just, and that it tend to the common advantage. Wherefore, so long as justice be respected, the people are not hindered from choosing for themselves that form of government which suits best either their own disposition, or the institutions and customs of their ancestors.” (“Diuturnum” – 1881 Leo XIII)

As citizens of a country in which freedom from restraints is seen as the essential aspect of our lives we have to allow Christ to deepen our understanding of the sources of true freedom:

“Make our hearts like unto Thine.”

Christ is King and we must acknowledge His reign in our societies with generosity so that He will make the earth resound, from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to thy Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to It be glory and honor forever.


25 October 2013

Feminists vs. Women, and the Men Who Love Them?

Good article on defending the normal in an abnormal world over at TakiMag.  Be forewarned, there is profanity in the article-- par for the course in that selfsame world, I guess.

An excerpt:

That’s where feminism has brought us. To defend the homemaker and say her life shouldn’t be trivialized is to demean women. Women who put family before career are sellouts in this world. I’m sick of seeing women who follow tens of thousands of years of evolution treated like they’re some kind of freak. A human being came out of her body. That’s a miracle. And yes, it’s a lot more consequential than pretty much every job that men do. Can we please stop belittling the most miraculous thing about our entire existence? It is our existence. Choosing family over career is a noble act. Why are feminists such as Linda Hirshman accusing these women of choosing a “life [which] so resembles that of a toddler’s”?

I make commercials and funny videos. My wife has created, nurtured, and shaped the life of three human beings. They will go on to have kids of their own. I’m selling cheese puffs. She’s changing the world. This basic truth is seen as radical here in New York. If you say this, not only do you disapprove of women in the workforce, you’re petrified of them.

Dude Could Write a Speech

22 October 2013

Holy Rosary According to the Sarum Use

For October, if you wish a different approach to your Rosary meditations, you might like this. I quote the description from Thesaurus Preces Latinae:

The prayer below was a popular form of the Rosary during the Middle Ages. Continuing on the theme of the previous section on the Rosary, the Rosary came in many forms before it was standardized in the late 16th century to the form we have today. The prayer below is a good example of these early forms. It first appeared in the Sarum Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the latter part of the Middle Ages. Instead of a meditation associated with each decade, meditations were assigned to each Ave. Each meditation draws from the Gospel accounts of the life and words of Jesus. In this regard it resembles the present day Scriptural Rosary, where a passage of Scripture is associated with each Ave.

Click here

Litany of Humility

 Always timely...
O Jesus meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved,
Deliver me, Jesus. 
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus. 
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
 From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten,
Deliver me, Jesus. 
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected,
Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase, and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. 

That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.  

--Written by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val

21 October 2013

Where in the World is Russia?

Just as a record entry on the Russia consecration/non-consecration issue, here is Christopher Ferrara's response to Jeff Mirus on the latest insinuation that the word "world" = "Russia" (and here Louis Verecchio weighs in on the difference between "entrust" and "consecrate").  What, you say?  It doesn't matter?  OK.

From the Ferrara piece:
  Another year, another consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart. And still no Consecration of Russia. Our hopes dashed yet again. 

       How many consecrations of the world have there been in response to Our Lady of Fatima’s call for the consecration of Russia? I’ve lost count, but John Paul II alone performed six consecrations or “entrustments”: in 1981, 1982 1983, 1984, 1991 and 2000. The last was a kind of omnibus ceremony that included not only the world and “all people” but also “the young in search of meaning, the unemployed, and those suffering hunger and disease,” as well as “all troubled families, the elderly with no one to help them, and all who are alone and without hope.” In short, just about everyone and everything on the face of the earth… except Russia. The thing would be a joke if it were not so deadly serious.

       We know, of course, that John Paul II wished to consecrate Russia by name, but that, as Bishop Paul Josef Cordes revealed, “at the suggestion of his collaborators he abandoned the idea.” That is, the ever-vigilant Vatican bureaucracy, led by the Secretary of State, has prevented Russia’s consecration for diplomatic and “ecumenical” reasons, thus overruling the Mother of God.

       For neo-Catholic spokesmen like Jeff Mirus — always ready, willing and able to defend the ecclesial status quo of novelty, drift, confusion and decay — the perverse evasion of Our Lady’s eminently simple request is no big deal. In his usual haughty style, Mirus pontificates: “the insistence that the popes are guilty of serious fault for not following the instructions of Our Lady at Fatima turns the authority of the Church on its head… Mary, we may be certain, is quite aware that she was not made the vicar of Christ by her Son.” 

       Here Mirus reaches new depths of inanity. First of all, it is not the “authority of the Church” that has impeded the consecration of Russia, but rather the errant advice of papal “collaborators,” first and foremost the Vatican Secretary of State, who have no authority whatsoever over the faithful but who managed to persuade the Pope to abandon the consecration of Russia. 

       Secondly, it was precisely the Son — that is, God Almighty — who sent His Mother to deliver the Message of Fatima to the Church and the world, confirming its authenticity with an unprecedented public miracle, announced in advance and witnessed by 70,000 people, including unbelievers who converted on the spot. Therefore, if the Message of Fatima is to be accepted at all, it must be viewed as involving a prescription for Russia’s consecration that comes from God Himself. There is no way around this.

Read the rest.

19 October 2013

Extra Rosaries?

Reader Marc asks for yours, for distribution to those who could use them:

As noted in the oratory bulletin… Once again, our family doctor is taking his medical practice on the road to El Salvador for his annual medical mission. As in years past, he has sought anyone’s extra rosaries. This year is no different. There are baskets at the entrances to the Oratory for you to bring in your extra rosaries so we may box them up and send them on his medical mission. He leaves in early November, so the latest day we can take the rosaries will be on Sunday October 27th.

18 October 2013

Meatless Friday: Rotting Corpse Edition

Today was the first time I stood in line to see and smell an item that reeks of a dead body.

A beautiful day for it, too.

Apparently, this beauty only lasts about 36 hours; hence the rush.

The picture on the sign indicates that though this flower just started blooming last evening, it has already lost some of its, ahem, vigor.

Smell was bad, but probably not as bad as last night.
Since it was a glorious Fall day, I include these bonus shots of the Japanese garden. (All the photos in this post may be clicked to enlarge.)

What did you do on your lunch hour?

A Quick Update and Prayer Request

I know-- everyone wants more personal information about me, thetimman.

Maybe not. Buuuuut, since you are either Catholic or are interested enough in this blogger to read this stuff, I ask your brief indulgence.

As you know my wife is expecting our 97th child, and latest reports from the OB are good, thank God. But I wanted to just post this prayer for expectant mothers, all of whom could use our prayers.

Furthermore, there has been a bumper crop of pregnancies at the Oratory this year. I believe the number of Oratory ladies delivering a baby from 2013 through February of 2014 (when ol' Sharon's confinement ends) has reached 21.

Your guess is as good as mine. 'Nuff said.

Finally, my partner (that's law partner) is delivering by C-section this morning.

And some of the babies have needed some medical attention, and could use prayers, too.

If in your charity you might raise a brief prayer for them all, God bless you.

Prayer to St. Anthony for the Health of an Expectant Mother and Her Unborn Child

Glorious St. Anthony, you were blessed to hold the Infant Jesus in your arms. I come to you now on behalf of (mention name) who pleads for the health and safety of the child that God has graced her to conceive.

St. Anthony, guard this life God has created, and the mother God has chosen for this child. Let your gentle hand, like that of a skilled physician, aid in her delivery so that this baby will know good health and lasting happiness.

May her child be favored with the grace of holy baptism, and grow to love our Lord Jesus Christ above all else in this world. Amen.

Feast of St. Luke

Gospel of today, Luke 10: 1-9

10 1 And after these things, the Lord appointed also other seventy-two. And he sent them two and two before his face into every city and place whither he himself was to come.
10 2 And he said to them: The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he send labourers into his harvest.
10 3 Go: Behold I send you as lambs among wolves.
10 4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.
10 5 Into whatever house you enter, first say: Peace be to this house.
10 6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon him: but if not, it shall return to you.
10 7 And in the same house, remain, eating and drinking such things as they have: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Remove not from house to house.
10 8 And into what city soever you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.
10 9 And heal the sick that are therein and say to them: The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

17 October 2013

Reading Francis through Paul, part 2

This is the second installment of my posting of excerpts of Paul VI's 1975 encyclical Evangelii Nuntiandi, on evangelization; the encyclical favorably cited by the Holy Father this week.  The following paragraphs are particularly important, I think.  They provide some context, and also some further depth in a call to transmit the truth.  You might be surprised:


78. The Gospel entrusted to us is also the word of truth. A truth which liberates[126] and which alone gives peace of heart is what people are looking for when we proclaim the Good News to them. The truth about God, about man and his mysterious destiny, about the world; the difficult truth that we seek in the Word of God and of which, we repeat, we are neither the masters nor the owners, but the depositaries, the heralds and the servants.

Every evangelizer is expected to have a reverence for truth, especially since the truth that he studies and communicates is none other than revealed truth and hence, more than any other, a sharing in the first truth which is God Himself. The preacher of the Gospel will therefore be a person who even at the price of personal renunciation and suffering always seeks the truth that he must transmit to others. He never betrays or hides truth out of a desire to please men, in order to astonish or to shock, nor for the sake of originality or a desire to make an impression. He does not refuse truth. He does not obscure revealed truth by being too idle to search for it, or for the sake of his own comfort, or out of fear. He does not neglect to study it. He serves it generously, without making it serve him.


79. The work of evangelization presupposes in the evangelizer an ever increasing love for those whom he is evangelizing. That model evangelizer, the Apostle Paul, wrote these words to the Thessalonians, and they are a program for us all: "With such yearning love we chose to impart to you not only the gospel of God but our very selves, so dear had you become to us."[127] What is this love? It is much more than that of a teacher; it is the love of a father; and again, it is the love of a mother.[128] It is this love that the Lord expects from every preacher of the Gospel, from every builder of the Church. A sign of love will be the concern to give the truth and to bring people into unity. Another sign of love will be a devotion to the proclamation of Jesus Christ, without reservation or turning back. Let us add some other signs of this love.

The first is respect for the religious and spiritual situation of those being evangelized. Respect for their tempo and pace; no one has the right to force them excessively. Respect for their conscience and convictions, which are not to be treated in a harsh manner.

Another sign of this love is concern not to wound the other person, especially if he or she is weak in faith,[129] with statements that may be clear for those who are already initiated but which for the faithful can be a source of bewilderment and scandal, like a wound in the soul.

Yet another sign of love will be the effort to transmit to Christians not doubts and uncertainties born of an erudition poorly assimilated but certainties that are solid because they are anchored in the Word of God. The faithful need these certainties for their Christian life; they have a right to them, as children of God who abandon themselves entirely into His arms and to the exigencies of love.

80. Our appeal here is inspired by the fervor of the greatest preachers and evangelizers, whose lives were devoted to the apostolate. Among these we are glad to point out those whom we have proposed to the veneration of the faithful during the course of the Holy Year. They have known how to overcome many obstacles to evangelization.

Such obstacles are also present today, and we shall limit ourself to mentioning the lack of fervor. It is all the more serious because it comes from within. It is manifested in fatigue, disenchantment, compromise, lack of interest and above all lack of joy and hope. We exhort all those who have the task of evangelizing, by whatever title and at whatever level, always to nourish spiritual fervor[130]

This fervor demands first of all that we should know how to put aside the excuses which would impede evangelization. The most insidious of these excuses are certainly the ones which people claim to find support for in such and such a teaching of the Council.

Thus one too frequently hears it said, in various terms, that to impose a truth, be it that of the Gospel, or to impose a way, be it that of salvation, cannot but be a violation of religious liberty. Besides, it is added, why proclaim the Gospel when the whole world is saved by uprightness of heart? We know likewise that the world and history are filled with "seeds of the Word"; is it not therefore an illusion to claim to bring the Gospel where it already exists in the seeds that the Lord Himself has sown?

Anyone who takes the trouble to study in the Council's documents the questions upon which these excuses draw too superficially will find quite a different view.

It would certainly be an error to impose something on the consciences of our brethren. But to propose to their consciences the truth of the Gospel and salvation in Jesus Christ, with complete clarity and with a total respect for the free options which it presents- "without coercion, or dishonorable or unworthy pressure"[131]- far from being an attack on religious liberty is fully to respect that liberty, which is offered the choice of a way that even non-believers consider noble and uplifting. Is it then a crime against others' freedom to proclaim with joy a Good News which one has come to know through the Lord's mercy?[132] And why should only falsehood and error, debasement and pornography have the right to be put before people and often unfortunately imposed on them by the destructive propaganda of the mass media, by the tolerance of legislation, the timidity of the good and the impudence of the wicked? The respectful presentation of Christ and His kingdom is more than the evangelizer's right; it is his duty. It is likewise the right of his fellow men to receive from him the proclamation of the Good News of salvation. God can accomplish this salvation in whomsoever He wishes by ways which He alone knows.[133] And yet, if His Son came, it was precisely in order to reveal to us, by His word and by His life, the ordinary paths of salvation. And He has commanded us to transmit this revelation to others with His own authority. It would be useful if every Christian and every evangelizer were to pray about the following thought: men can gain salvation also in other ways, by God's mercy, even though we do not preach the Gospel to them; but as for us, can we gain salvation if through negligence or fear or shame- what St. Paul called "blushing for the Gospel"[134] - or as a result of false ideas we fail to preach it? For that would be to betray the call of God, who wishes the seed to bear fruit through the voice of the ministers of the Gospel; and it will depend on us whether this grows into trees and produces its full fruit.

Let us therefore preserve our fervor of spirit. Let us preserve the delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing, even when it is in tears that we must sow. May it mean for us- as it did for John the Baptist, for Peter and Paul, for the other apostles and for a multitude of splendid evangelizers all through the Church's history- an interior enthusiasm that nobody and nothing can quench. May it be the great joy of our consecrated lives. And may the world of our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope, be enabled to receive the Good News not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervor, who have first received the joy of Christ, and who are willing to risk their lives so that the kingdom may be proclaimed and the Church established in the midst of the world.