Mentors for the New Evangelization (Discussion 2)

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We’re back with a great Book Club discussion today! If you haven’t heard, we’re reading and chatting about Mentors for the New Evangelization this fall. Today, we have a summary of chapters 3 – 6. We’d love to hear what you’re thinking about this inspiring book in the comments section below. (If you want to catch up, Discussion 1 is linked here.)

The reflection in Chapter 3 (Saint Marie of the Incarnation) talked about coming into contact with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. How did St. Marie or St. Laval do this effectively with those they shared the gospel with?
At our discussion, we chatted about the inspiring life of St. Marie. Her life seemed to radiate with the understanding that one’s spiritual life is foundational to being a good catechist. If we are to put people into touch, intimacy and union with Jesus Christ (CT, 5), we must first immerse ourselves in that relationship.

What characteristics defined St. Laval and St. Marguerite Bourgeoys on a human level?
I (Lindsay) was so inspired by their business sense, that was balanced with their spiritual lives and understanding of their mission. In particular, I want to be more like St. Laval in this description: “Bishop de Laval was all at the same time a clever administrator, a missionary with a burning heart, a proud and humble man, and a heroic and discreet mystic” (41). His life was a clear reflection of knowing that one can be sanctified through his work. (St. Marguerite’s life was a great testament to this same thing: “The intensity of her religious experience mark her as a mystic; at the same time, the events of her life reveal a practical woman endowed with great common sense and considerable administrative ability.” (47).

How did the prayerful spirit of St. Rose-Philippine Duchesne inspire your work in the vineyard?
The quote in the reflection of chapter 5 really summed up our thoughts well: “Pope John Paul II taught that it is only in prayer that we can realize that it is not our own teaching that we are imparting but that of Christ’s.” We all desired to deepen the conviction that our own lives of prayer are the foundation of our work. Also, we chatted about how we need to help our children and families seek out silence in their lives; without it, they will not be able to discover a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and be spiritually free.

Any other thoughts or reflections?
John, one of our Diocesan seminarians, shared an analogy with the group about the geometry class he teaches. He shared that the students who seem to put in the effort (and struggle) to learn the material for themselves are the ones whose hearts the message resounds in when it is taught in the classroom. We continued to have stimulating conversation around how we motivate our young people to take the study of the faith seriously, on a personal level, and how we encourage the parents to journey with us on this path. Thanks for the great thoughts, John!

Our next book club will be taking place on Monday, November 10th from 1:30 – 3:00pm at the Bishop O’Connor Center. You are more than welcome to join us in person for the discussion! We’ll chat about Chapters 7 and 8. No RSVP is necessary.

3 thoughts on “Mentors for the New Evangelization (Discussion 2)

  1. Lindsay and comrades, thank you for thinking, and for sharing your thoughts. Amen to the need for silence. I’ll look forward to more of your reflections!

  2. 1. From the reflection I was struck in this chapter in regards to faithful bishops (like Bishop Laval) today the media would have us think they don’t exist in order to “negate the validity of the tenets of our faith” Reminding us to be careful how we present the vocation to the priesthood and religious life to those we catechize and even how we witness in our day to day conversations.
    2. I have underlined (twice) “within Marguerite beat the heart of a mother. She saw that what Montreal needed was mothers.” (bottom of p 45) And then later, JPII at her canonization, “like a mother, with affection and confidence, she received them into her home in order to prepare them to be wives and worthy mothers, Christians, cultured, hardworking, radiant mothers.” (p.47) This is so beautifu! And so relational for me at the moment in time. I see this to though in catechesis, the need for mothers (and fathers) expressed in the children in our parishes is great. And it certainly can be an encouragement to, like Marguerite, tap into a deeper relationship with the Blessed Mother. And that catechists should become spiritual mothers and fathers to their students.
    3. I was inspired by Mother Rose’s Eucharistic love. The quote from the Guide for Catechists really struck me, too. “To be able to educate others in the faith, catechists should themselves have a deep spiritual life. This is the most important aspect of their personality and therefore the one to me most stressed in formation. The real catechist is a saint.” (p 55) How do I stress this in my own formation? In the formation of the catechists I work with? Perhaps some change is called for.
    4. In Chapter 6, I really liked the note on Bishop Carroll encouraging apologetics in love! Isn’t that still what needs to be encouraged today! JPII on “married” women -either through the sacrament of marriage or marriage to Christ. Both calling for a “sincere gift of the person” and motherhood, physically and/or spiritually. And also, in regard to Mother Seton, another quote on motherhood (you can tell where my mind lies!) “You know I am a mother encompassed by many children of different dispositions– not equally amiable or congenial, but bound to love, instruct, and provide for the happiness of all, to give example…and consider the individual as proceeding from the same origin and tending to the same end.” (p. 65) Wowza!!!
    I really want to send a copy of this book to a friend of mine who is teacher, a widowed mother of three grown children and will (next week!) take her first vows as a religious. I think many of these reflections are so pertinent to her life’s path, too!

    I’ll be watching for the next installment. Hope you had a great discussion yesterday!

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