“We pray for all of those gathered here that they might welcome the strength of the Holy Spirit and the interior dynamism with which He fills our hearts. We do so just before the beginning of the Year of Faith given to us by the Holy Father, because there is a “need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ.”
The mission is always audacious, but it is possible with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We are instruments in the hands of the Lord and so we pray to be ever open to His presence. The message is filled with hope: not only for eternal life, but also for the graces necessary so that our lives are truly noble, worthy of God, and of the vocation He has given us.
We speak so often of the new evangelization, because we recognize that we must be its instruments in all that we do. The faith we hold in our hearts must motivate the decisions, the words, and the commitment of our everyday existence. That existence is extraordinary, because it is infused with divine grace. St. Thomas More said that he died the good servant of the King, but the faithful servant of God first. We, too, are faithful citizens only when we embrace the fullness of the principles of our faith and allow them to enliven and fortify our contributions to the life of the Nation. Or to draw on the eloquence of the Archbishop of Baltimore in a paraphrase: we must be loyal Americans by being bold and courageous men and women of faith and conviction regarding the ethical norms that guide society and its choices.
There is so much that we bring to the discourse of our society. Our faith expresses itself in worship, but also in witness. From the beginning the Church has been active in society to make a contribution, especially to the care of the poor, but also to education. The first universities grew out of the monasteries. We cannot separate who we are from how we live. To quote Father Alfred Delp, a Jesuit condemned to death by the Nazis, “Futility or ineffectiveness do not dispense one from speaking the truth, declaring what is right and just…Woe if the prophets are mute out of fear that their word might not be heeded.”