Pentecost: Lighting the World on Fire with the New Evangelization

There is a scene in the 1991 film, Backdraft, when Robert De Niro’s character asks Donald Sutherland’s character (an imprisoned pyromaniac), “what do you want to do to the whole world Ronald”, and he replies “burn it all.”

If you have never see the movie, I encourage you to see because it’s a great film, however the reason why I quote this film is because as Catholic Christians living in the world, we should want to do the same thing to the world, but in a Evangelistic way. We should be seeking to light the world on fire with the light of the Holy Spirit.

As Catholics, we should be spiritual fire-starters for Jesus Christ and His Church. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says, “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled” (Lk 12:49). Obviously, I am not talking about starting literal fires, but I am speaking about playing with the fire of Pentecost and the fire that we receive in the Sacrament of Confirmation. As Catholics, it is our fundamental duty to evangelize the world by playing with the fire of the Holy Spirit.

At the direction of a good friend of mine, a few years ago, I read George Weigel’s book – Evangelical Catholicism. His understanding of the Catholic Church and the deep reform (not doctrinal reform) that is needed for the Church in the 21st century is prophetic, and remember we are only at the beginning of it. If you have never read it, I would highly encourage you to do so.

In Chapter 1, there is a section called – Pentecost, Again. He begins this section by stating that through the pontificates of Pope St. John XXIII (and the Second Vatican Council) and Pope St. John Paul II, a new Pentecost is on the horizon in the Catholic Church. The marching orders that will lead this new Pentecost is the New Evangelization.

In his encyclical, Redemptoris Missio, Pope St. John Paul II says this –

God is opening before the Church the horizons of a humanity more fully prepared for the sowing of the Gospel. I sense that the moment has come to commit all of the Church’s energies to a new evangelization and to the mission ad gentes. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.

Now this is no easy task, especially in a Church that seems to be somewhat conflicted with herself today, but if the mission can be met, it means that we who take on this great call will have to play with fire.

To encourage you to “play with fire”, here are some dynamic and powerful quotes from Evangelical Catholicism and the section on the new Pentecost –

Quoting Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger –

“the Holy Spirit is fire; whoever does not want to be burned should not come near him.” This fire…”is an “inimitable” part of the “relationship between Christ, Holy Spirit, and Church.””

Fire of the Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ –

“The fire of the Holy Spirit purifies, inspires, and fuses men and women together into a new human community, the Church. Through each of its members, and in them as a whole, the Church is the Body of Christ on earth.”

Fire of the Holy Spirit, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger  –

“Faith is a tongue of fire that burns us and melts us so that ever more it is true: I am no longer I…When we yield to the burning fire of the Holy Spirit, being Christian becomes comfortable only as first glance…Only when we do not fear the tongue of fire and the storm it brings with it does the Church become the icon of the Holy Spirit. And only then does she open the world to the light of God.”

Evangelical Catholicism is Not Easy –

“The cultural Catholicism of the past was “comfortable” because it fit neatly within the ambient public culture, causing little chafing between one’s life “in the Church” and one’s life “in the world.”…Evangelical Catholicism does not seek to “get along”; it seeks to convert.”

Evangelical Catholicism in the Church –

“…Lukewarm Catholicism has no future: submitting to the transforming fire of the Holy Spirit is not longer optional…Evangelical requires a generosity about time from the laity, who must make time amid the rush of postmodern life for a deeper encounter with Christ than that permitted by an hour’s worth of weekly worship…more attention to sacramental preparation and sacramental discipline…”

Evangelical Catholicism, Community, and Holiness –

“Evangelical Catholicism builds up the community of the faithful not for the sake of the community but for the sake of a common reception of the mysteries of the faith, which in turn become the fonts of grace…The tongues of from which the Church is formed thus become the fire of mission by which the world is set ablaze…Evangelical Catholicism calls the entire Church to holiness for the sake of mission.”

I don’t know about you, but these words from George Weigel get me fired up…pun intended! As Catholics, it is time, now more than ever before, for us to light the world on fire with the love of Jesus Christ and the Church. Find strength in the Sacraments, especially the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist – they unite us with Jesus Christ and each other, the Body of Christ.

In the book, The Spirit of Catholicism (another great text!) Karl Adam says, “Twelve simple, uneducated fishermen revolutionized the world, and that with no other instrument than their new faith and their readiness to die for that faith.”

If the Twelve Apostles could do this, imagine what we can do with 2,000 years of Scripture and Tradition behind us. My fellow Catholics – Go! Evangelize! And the set the world on fire

WFJS Catholic Radio Interview

I will be on WFJS Catholic Radio tomorrow Live at 3:30 pm Eastern Time (12:30 here in Arizona) with Jim & Cheryl Manfredonia. We will discussing Blessed John Paul II, his rise to Canonization, and George Weigel’s, Evangelical Catholicism.

I hope you can tune in online to Domestic Church Media and listen live to the interview. I am super excited for the interview. As many of you know who follow this blog, I am avid fan of Blessed John Paul II and love writing and speaking about him. Check out my blog posts on the future Saint, Doctor, and Great of the Church here.

After the show, please come back to this blog post and tell me what you thought of it in the combox below. Please pray that I am eloquent with my words during this interview.

wfjs893

Pentecost, Playing with Fire, and the New Evangelization

In the 1991 film, Backdraft, there is a scene when Robert De Niro’s character asks Donald Sutherland’s character (an imprisoned pyromaniac), “what do you want to do to the whole world Ronald”, and he replies “burn it all.” If you have never see the movie, I encourage you to see because it’s a great film, however the reason why I quote this film is because as Catholic Christians living in the world, we should want to do the same thing to the world, but in a Evangelistic way. We should be seeking to light the world on fire with the light of the Holy Spirit.

As Catholics, we should be spiritual fire-starters for Jesus Christ and His Church. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says, “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled” (Lk 12:49). Now I am not talking about starting literal fires, but I am speaking about playing with the fire of Pentecost and the fire that we receive in the Sacrament of Confirmation. As Catholic Christians, it is our fundamental duty to evangelize the world by playing with the fire of the Holy Spirit.

At the direction of a good friend of mine, who is also in the trenches fighting for Jesus Christ, I have begun reading George Weigel’s latest book – Evangelical Catholicism.  To say the least – it’s simply fantastic! His understanding of the Catholic Church and the deep reform (not doctrinal reform) that is needed for the Church in the 21st century is beyond compare. Having read other titles by Mr. Weigel, I can honestly say that he could be the greatest catholic author in the last half century. His arguments are concise, clear, and follow simple common sense. In Chapter 1, there is a section called – Pentecost, Again. He begins this section by stating that through the pontificates of Pope St. John XXIII (and the Second Vatican Council) and Pope St. John Paul II, a new Pentecost is on the horizon in the Catholic Church. The marching orders that will lead this new Pentecost is the New Evangelization. Now this is no easy task, but if the mission can be met, it means that we who take on this great call will have to play with fire.

pentecost

Instead of providing a commentary on the readings from this year’s liturgical cycle on Pentecost, I provide you with some dynamic and powerful quotes from Evangelical Catholicism and the section on the new Pentecost –

Quoting Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger –

“the Holy Spirit is fire; whoever does not want to be burned should not come near him.” This fire…”is an “inimitable” part of the “relationship between Christ, Holy Spirit, and Church.””

Fire of the Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ –

“The fire of the Holy Spirit purifies, inspires, and fuses men and women together into a new human community, the Church. Through each of its members, and in them as a whole, the Church is the Body of Christ on earth.”

Fire of the Holy Spirit, Cardinal Ratzinger –

“Faith is a tongue of fire that burns us and melts us so that ever more it is true: I am no longer I…When we yield to the burning fire of the Holy Spirit, being Christian becomes comfortable only as first glance…Only when we do not fear the tongue of fire and the storm it brings with it does the Church become the icon of the Holy Spirit. And only then does she open the world to the light of God.”

Evangelical Catholicism is Not Easy –

“The cultural Catholicism of the past was “comfortable” because it fit neatly within the ambient public culture, causing little chafing between one’s life “in the Church” and one’s life “in the world.”…Evangelical Catholicism does not seek to “get along”; it seeks to convert.”

Evangelical Catholicism in the Church –

“…Lukewarm Catholicism has no future: submitting to the transforming fire of the Holy Spirit is not longer optional…Evangelical requires a generosity about time from the laity, who must make time amid the rush of postmodern life for a deeper encounter with Christ than that permitted by an hour’s worth of weekly worship…more attention to sacramental preparation and sacramental discipline…”

Evangelical Catholicism, Community, and Holiness –

“Evangelical Catholicism builds up the community of the faithful not for the sake of the community but for the sake of a common reception of the mysteries of the faith, which in turn become the fonts of grace…The tongues of from which the Church is formed thus become the fire of mission by which the world is set ablaze…Evangelical Catholicism calls the entire Church to holiness for the sake of mission.”

I don’t know about you, but these words from George Weigel get me fired up…pun intended! As Catholics, it is time for us to light the world on fire with the love of Jesus Christ and the Church. Find strength in the Sacraments, especially the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. Cardinal Timothy Dolan has said, “The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the Sacrament of the New Evangelization.”

In the his book, The Spirit of Catholicism, Karl Adam says, “Twelve simple, uneducated fishermen revolutionized the world, and that with no other instrument than their new faith and their readiness to die for that faith.”

If the Apostles could do this, imagine what we can do with 2,000 years of Scripture and Tradition behind us. Catholics – Go! And the set the world on fire!

TomPerna.Org Gets a New Look

Well after nearly 16 months with the same blog theme, I chose to change my blog theme today and go with something completely different than before.

You will notice my name is now bigger and my secondary title which is above my name has changed to JP2 Generation & The New Evangelization. Honestly, this is a work in progress, but I do know it will still have the New Evangelization theme to it. Once I finish George Weigel’s – Evangelical Catholicism, I might have a better idea. I have increased the size of my picture to fit the space better as well.

I have capitalized Pages, Links, and Titles so that they STAND OUT MORE on the blog. The Font is also bigger than before which will be easier to read.

I changed the US Bishop’s Standing Against the HHS Mandate image to this upcoming summer’s – Fortnight for Freedom. If you click on that link, you will be taken to a page explaining the Fortnight for Freedom.

The colors are completely different. I have chosen white, a burgundy for the main title, light blue for the links, a gray background, and light black lettering.

I am going to add some more widgets on the right side soon as well as hopefully get my 2 radio interviews with Immaculate Heart Radio on the blog.

If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them. Just write them in the comment box below.

Thanks for following my blog. Please share it with your friends and family.

Angels and Saints at Ephesus

Over the weekend, I attended Holy Mass at St. Joseph Catholic Parish in Jasper, Indiana. After Mass was over, we knelt as we always do to say our “After Mass” prayers. As we were praying and talking a bit, I said to Tara, “Wow! Listen to that organ!” The organ throughout the Mass lifted us into the Heavenly Kingdom because that’s exactly what the mission of Sacred Music is to do.  As the Second Vatican Council document, Sacrosanctum Concilium (The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy) states, “In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things.”

We must return to a Holy Mass that is sacred, beautiful, and prayerful. The music at Mass is not meant to distract us nor is it there to entertain us. In the Holy Mass, we are reminded of the Sacrifice of Christ and we renew the covenant He established with us at the Last Supper. In his new book, Evangelical Catholicism, George Weigel says,

“To begin: Evangelical Catholicism understands the liturgy to be fundamentally God’s work, not ours. To celebrate the Church’s liturgy, especially the Holy Mass, is our privileged participation in the liturgy of the angels and saints [emphasis mine] around the Throne of Grace of the thrice-holy God…Evangelical Catholic liturgy can and does accommodate various musical forms, although following the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, it takes seriously Gregorian Chant as a kind of universal Catholic musical grammar; at the same time, it welcomes more modern chant forms and seeks to incorporate into Catholic worship the great hymn traditions [emphasis mine] of other Christian communities.” (72-73).

Angels and Saints at Ephesus

With the help of De Montfort Music, the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles release their new CD today – Angels and Saints at Ephesus. This is the follow up CD of their debut album – Advent at Ephesus. The Benedictine Sisters are prophetically living and preaching words of Weigel at this very moment. They see that Sacred Music will lead to a Sacred Liturgy.

I encourage you to purchase this beautiful music, listen to it, and encourage others to do the same. You can buy the music either at their website here or via iTunes. I would also encourage you to share this album with your Priests and Directors of Music/Liturgy. Ask them to have at least one Mass at your parish with Sacred Music. With music like this being produced and with work of De Montfort Music, we have the ability to bring back a sacredness to the Holy Mass sooner than later.