The Holy Father's June Prayer Intentions:
Mutual Respect: That a culture of dialogue, listening and mutual respect may prevail among peoples.
New Evangelization: That where secularization is strongest, Christian communities may effectively promote a new evangelization.
These two intentions connect at the cross. That’s where mutual respect begins — at the feet of Jesus. Here we acknowledge both our utter dependence on God and our value as human beings.
God gave us our life and every breath since. He gave us his Son to wrap us in human dignity. When we accept our position at the cross then we can accept our place on this earth and the status of every human created. Whether or not we accept the brothers and sisters he gives us in the family of God, they are still our siblings.
The new evangelization begins with the cross. Our relationship with the Lord forms the strong vertical beam, which supports the horizontal beam of our relationship with others. You can’t have one without the other. Our commitment to the Lord doesn’t stand alone as a tower of babel as we focus our prayers upward with no thought of who is beside us.
As our Lord draws us close to him he fills us with his very life. He seems to cry out to us, “Let me in! Open every area of your life to me!” How can we resist? He wants only for us to grow in holiness through everything and everyone he allows in our lives. He’s our secret bff. He already knows everything about us. Dreams. Sins. Strengths. Disappointments. Victories. He loves us right where we are but knows we are capable of more joy. We are his precious children. He wants to live in us.
We can’t grow in holiness if we try to keep the Lord bottled up inside us. The Holy Spirit will show us through the response of those around us that the light of Christ waits just below the surface for those who can detect it in us.
So when the vertical beam of our relationship with God is in place, and even before it seems sturdy, he cries, ”Let me out!” Here is where the new evangelization begins: at the intersection of our relationship with the Lord and our relationship with our siblings in the family of God.
Pope Francis emphasizes community. Two or more. The family. The neighborhood. The parish. The workplace. Facebook. Countless opportunities to evangelize—together. The strength of the horizontal beam depends on the strength of the vertical beam. They balance one another. Yet they are inseparable.
Take the Lord with you into your community. Bring your community into your relationship with the Lord. Listen to the Lord and to one another. Pray. Encourage. Love. Evangelize.
How does your faith in God intersect with your relationships with others?
(© 2013 Nancy H C Ward)