This Lent I gave up reading fiction and am focusing on Catholic books that have been on my to read list for many months. The first book I choose is Evangelical Catholicism, by George Weigel. I’ve read a few of his other books and this one is much easier to read. Either I’ve gotten smarter or it’s written for a wider audience than usual. This post begins a series of posts where I will focus on the book.
Chapter Three is “Evangelical Catholicism in Profile” and Weigel gives a list of ten characteristics of evangelical Catholicism. Weigel suggests that these characteristics “taken together, provide a profile of the Catholic Church of the future and suggest standards for achieving deep reform in the Church” (Weigel, pg. 56).
The first characteristic is “Evangelical Catholicism is friendship with the Lord Jesus Christ.” The point being that our faith begins with knowing Jesus, who, Weigel says, is the “primordial Sacrament of the human encounter with God.” It is through our relationship with Christ that we come to know the Father and the Spirit. We come to know Christ in the Church, in his Word, and in the sacraments. Weigel reminds us that we have something our world needs. We have a place to come and encounter divine mercy.
As people who evangelize our invitation to others should focus more on this than on doctrine or dogma. Doctrine and dogma are necessary and important, but can be overwhelming. If a person understands first, that God is full of mercy and wants to enter into a relationship with his Son, then we can proceed to teaching. This way the rules are not random or arbitrary, but understood as for our good and the greater good of all.
This Lent let’s remember that God is mercy.
Copyright 2014, Deanna Bartalini