13 January 2013

MARY in the work of EVANGELISATION and FAMILY RENEWAL - introduction

Inspired by my 3-week holiday in the Philippines, where I met family for the first time, and re-discovered the gift of family in such a real and concrete way, I couldn't help but share words of wisdom on this very important subject of family - and the Lady who inspires holiness in all families. Upon visiting a religious articles shop, here in Santa Cruz, my eye stumbled on a little book titled Mary in the work of Evangelisation and Family Renewal.

Below is an excerpt published and copyrighted by RESTORATION MOVEMENT FOR FAMILY AND LIFE MINISTRIES, INC. based in Mandaluyong City, Philippines. It is so well written, that it's well worth sharing! This is the first section of the little booklet.


The basic work of every Christian should be evangelisation, which is the proclamation of the good new of salvation in Jesus to others. Further, such evangelisation ought to be done within the context of family renewal. These two aspects of evangelisation and family renewal are the most crucial tasks for the Church that is both missionary and family. The Church exists to proclaim Christ, and to provide an environment of support for those who become members of the body of Christ.

Evangelisation and family renewal are distinct but should be inseparable. The two need to go together, in order to enable Christ's body on earth to fulfill her mandate. The family is both the subject and the object of evangelisation. The evangelised family provides the needed mission base for proclaiming Christ throughout the world.

Evangelisation is God's work, done through human instruments. It is all about salvation. It is proclaiming the salvation won by Jesus on the cross. Jesus already accomplished everything needed for salvation on the cross. When he was about to di, he said, "It is finished." (Jn 19:30). His work was done. However, the work of proclaiming his salvation had just begun.

So before He ascended into heaven, Jesus issued his Great Commission to the eleven disciples. "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature." (Mk 16:15). "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations" (Mt 28:19). Why was this necessary, if Jesus had already won salvation for humankind? This was necessary because that salvation needed to be accepted by people, in order to have an effect on their lives. God does not impose anything on people, even the all-important gift of salvation. God respects our free will. So we need to accept. As Paul said, quoting the prophet Joel (Jl 3:5), "For 'everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'" (Rom 10:13).

From the starting point of salvation already won by Jesus on the cross, to the end point of acceptance by people by calling on His name, something crucial needed to happen in between. There would have to be a very important and indispensable process. "But how can they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in Him of whom they have not heart? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent?" (Rom 10:14-15) This then, is evangelisation. And so Jesus sends his disciples, including us, to proclaim the good news.

Here we see that evangelisation is crucial, being the most fundamental task of Jesus' disciples. And our participation is crucial. God has entrusted the salvation won by Jesus on the cross to His people.

In all this, family renewal is also crucial. It is the family that is the basic unit of society and of the Church. It is the training ground for God's army of evangelisers. It is the home base for mission. Itis the support environment for the soldiers of Christ. As Pope John Paul II says, the future of humanity passes by way of the family.

The enemy knows this, and so strives mightily to destroy the family. This is being done through divorce and separation, abortion and contraception, same-sex marriage, valueless sex education, and so on. The enemy attacks the family because the family is crucial to God's plan of salvation.

In fact, family and life are the defining issues of the third millennium. Family and life go together. It is through the family that God brings life into the world, and that life is nurtured in the family. Family and life are according to God's plan. And so the enemy, who opposes everything that is of God, and who knows that family is crucial to evangelisation, is intent on destroying the family and imposing the culture of death.

So evangelisation is crucial, and family is crucial. Now there is one more element, or rather person, that is needed, whose rold is crucial as well. That person is the one who ties up evangelisation and family into a neat package.

That is our Blessed Mother Mary. In the whole plan of God, Mary plays a very important and indispensable role.

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