Evangelization

Loving "this" world passionately (I)

St. Josemaría Escrivá titled one of his homilies: "Passionately loving the world". Today it could be paraphrased: to love to this world passionately. A commitment that, far from being something good or voluntary, requires serious personal work.

Luis Herrera-September 9, 2021-Reading time: 4 minutes

Photo credit: Ben White / Unsplash

Translation of the article into English

In this first part, the author makes a first analysis of the reality in which the Western world is moving from a society based, more or less, on Christian principles and values to a situation of rejection of these bases.

Post-Christianity

The "mysteries of light" of the Holy Rosary have the common denominator of the Twelve. Jesus devoted himself for months, perhaps years, to their formation. On one occasion he sent them out on apostolic practices two by two, giving them instructions. They returned enthusiastic, because the demons submitted to them in his name. Finally, on the day of Pentecost, he sent them out to preach the Gospel throughout the world.

Since then, the history of this region we call Europe has been marked by Christianity. However, four stages should be distinguished.

1. Evangelization

With the coming of the Holy Spirit the Church was born. The apostles and their successors spread in all directions, preaching communion with the incarnate God and brotherly love. In hiding, and periodically persecuted, they carried the faith to the ends of the Empire.

Christianity. Things changed substantially in the fourth century, when a Rome in decline declared Christianity the official religion of the Empire. The end of the persecutions and the consequent expansion of the Church brought with it positive but also negative effects, such as the confusion between the religious and political spheres, or the massification of Christianity and a decline in the "quality" of its spiritual life.

After the invasion of the barbarian peoples, a new mode of social organization was forged. The population is structured in three estates. The nobility, in charge of government. The common people, in charge of production. And the clergy, dedicated to spiritual, but also cultural and scientific tasks: astronomy, biology, physics, music, literature... This medieval mode of organization lasted until modernity.

Modernity. Statal and guild civilization became permeable with the emergence of the bourgeoisie. Modern culture and science were born from the hands of lay people, all of them Christians, but without the spiritual life and formation necessary to cultivate them in dialogue with the faith. The spectacular successes of these disciplines ended up modifying the very concept of truth. In classical culture, what was real was considered true, and was apprehended through contemplation.

In modernity the canon of truth passes to the achievements of science and reflection. And advancing a little further to the Enlightenment, it is considered that truth is not to be found in the past or in the present, but in the future: truth is what science may one day achieve. Reality appears as indefinitely moldable by man. The concept of creation is replaced by that of nature.

Postmodernism. Painful experiences - especially the two world wars - showed that scientific progress is ambiguous, and the modern utopia of building a paradise on earth was abandoned. A further "anti-civilizational" step was then taken: the rejection of all meta-relationships (not only religious, but also philosophical, political or scientific), in order to limit oneself to technological development that would make life as pleasant as possible. This is what is called "post-modernity", or "relativism".

2. Christianophobia

Anyone of a certain age is a witness to the great de-Christianization that has taken place in a short time. There is no need to recall here the drop in the statistics of baptisms, confirmations, marriages and lately also religious funerals.

This has been an intra-generational phenomenon, not inter-generational, as epochal changes usually are. A kind of explosive cyclogenesis. The relativistic ideas that were in the minds of some intellectuals, with the help of new technologies, have descended on the popular imagination, eventually permeating civilization.

But it is becoming increasingly evident that the process goes beyond de-Christianization and evolves towards Christianophobia. In post-modernity, Christians experience a growing hostility: they are harassed, harassed, cornered, singled out. It is easy to recognize certain personalities, forces, colors, interests... forging a new world order. It is obvious. But we must not forget that ideas have more power than institutions and people. And the idea that sustains postmodernity is relativism.

For this reason, political self-defense, the reactive attitude in the face of each new demolition of Christianity, is surely not enough. Politics has a great dissolving power but a very limited capacity to create human realities.

The Diocese of Burgos celebrates this year the eighth centenary of the first stone of its cathedral, which was not consecrated until 1260. It takes a lot of time and effort to build such a temple. However, it could be demolished in a few seconds with a charge of dynamite. Politics can also destroy very quickly, but it builds little and slowly.

On the other hand, the centers of political decision-making are becoming more and more distant and global.

Moreover, if we look around us we will see that the people around us, despite being good people, are mostly favorable to the laws imposed by relativistic social engineering.

It even happens that some of the most active social warriors in favor of a civilization of Christian matrix are not themselves exemplary in their methods or in their personal lives.

In short, we are facing a "new evangelization", and what we need to do is to look to the Lord to follow his instructions. That first time, he chose his Apostles from among the simple: they were not wise, they did not speak languages, nor did they know the world... He ordered them not to carry a saddlebag, nor a spare tunic, nor money. He announced to them that in some houses and villages they would not be well received... Christ did not form "warriors", but men in love and vulnerable. He did not instill in them a reactive attitude, but a proactive one. And a love for the world and for each person, even unto death.

St. Josemaría entitled one of his homilies: "to love the world passionately". Today we could paraphrase it: to love the world passionately. this world passionately. This is not something good or voluntarist, but requires serious personal work to achieve two basic conditions. In the first place, to understand the world in which we live to the extent of our possibilities. As Unamuno said: "We do not know what is happening and that is what is happening to us". And secondly, to serve this world as it needs to be served.

We will see it in the next article dedicated to this topic.

The authorLuis Herrera

Read more
In collaboration with
Do you want independent, truthful and relevant news?

Dear reader, Omnes reports with rigor and depth on religious news. We do a research work that allows the reader to acquire criteria on the events and stories that happen in the Catholic sphere and the Church. We have star signatures and correspondents in Rome who help us to make the background information stand out from the media noise, with ideological distance and independence.

We need you to face the new challenges of a changing media landscape and a reality that demands reflection, we need your support.

In collaboration with
More on Omnes
La Brújula Newsletter Leave us your email and receive every week the latest news curated with a catholic point of view.