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Papal preacher: Mary is model for New Evangelization

December 09, 2011

In his 2nd Advent Sermon, delivered on December 9, the preacher of the pontifical household said that prayer and contemplation are essential elements of any missionary effort.

Speaking on the “new evangelization,” Father Raniero Cantalamessa began by tracing the history of the great missionary impulses of the Church, especially in Europe. The growth of Christendom, he observed, was spurred by St. Augustine’s teaching on the distinction between earthly and divine authority. Later the monastic movement preserved the faith and formed the base for a new burst of missionary activity in the Middle Ages.

The contemplative life and the task of evangelization are inextricably connected, the papal preacher argued, and “there must rather be a synthesis of the two things in the very life of every missionary.” In this respect, he observed, the model for evangelization is the Virgin Mary, who “brought the Word—not to this or that people—but to the whole world,” by bearing Christ. She did not preach, he said, but “she radiated Him with her very presence.”


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