Evangelii Nuntiandi §26 and Personal Jesus

I know I've pointed out that IMHO EN is a very evangelical document (pr Apostolic Exhortation to be precise), but after reading §26 I have to reiterate the point.

§25 starts by acknowledging that there are secondary points to evangelism which are conditioned by time, place, and culture--all things that have been mentioned before in the encyclical. But then it goes on in §26 to delineate the factors that "cannot be modified or ignored."

We find the following, which is what caught my attention:

But it is fully evangelizing in manifesting the fact that for man the Creator is not an anonymous and remote power; He is the Father: "...that we should be called children of God; and so we are."

Can we say 'personal relationship'? That phrase seems to come quite easily to mind after reading this. Or we can also point out that favorite and venerable evangelistic tool: the God-shaped whole in our hearts, which is also mentioned:

Perhaps this attestation of God will be for many people the unknown God whom they adore without giving Him a name, or whom they seek by a secret call of the heart when they experience the emptiness of all idols.

Comments

JohnG. said…
Hi abu, why this question on "Personal relationship" to God ?
Abu Daoud said…
Hi John,

Well, my experience in the East, specifically among the Orthodox and Greek Catholics, is that they don't generally understand the relationship with God as personal (nor do Muslims, for that matter), but more communal. That is, the community relates to God, the community as a whole receives God's grace and worships God, the community as a whole, if I can say it, is the elect. Not the individual.

That is why the angle of personal relationship is, in my opinion, noteworthy.
JohnG. said…
Thanks for the answer.

Strangely it's the opposite of several evangelical churches were it's "My personal Savior and I", opening the door to an huge amount of subjectivity, and reducing the Christ to the fantasms of the believrs.... Funny : as I'n used to speak with evangelical friends, I used to this "only" personnal approach of the Mystery. But the "only communal" approach, I can't imagine what it looks like. I'll have to go in these countries... one day ;-)

I believe both approach are true : personal and communal. We receive the Spirit personaly in a community, a Body, which is the Church ...

Roman documents generally reflect both of them.
FrGregACCA said…
It is indeed both, personal and communal, and these are integrally related. In many Evangelical circles, such as those in which I grew up, "personal" has degenerated into "individual" and the connection between the personal and the communal aspects of communion with God, not to mention the rest of the Kingdom - the angels and Saints - has been lost. This individualism is perfectly expressed in an old country song from the 1970's, during the "Jesus Revolution".

"Me and Jesus, we got our own thing going;
Me and Jesus, we got it all worked out.
Me and Jesus, we got our own thing going;
We don't need anybody for to tell us what it's all about."
Anonymous said…
You can say "authentic friendship" with Jesus if you're Catholic. "Personal relationship" is meaningless from the Catholic point of view: it's subjective, it does not incorporate the communal Catholic view, it does not acknowledge the fullness of Catholic truth or the objectivity of Jesus in the Eucharist and in Eucharistic adoration.

Janice

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