Religious Education Congress
                               Archdiocese of Hartford, CT

    Ephesians 5:8-9
           “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of ligh...

   •   E.N. #19. …for the Church it is a question not only of preaching the Gospel in ever
       wider geographic area...

•   Timidity, hesitation
    John 20:24-29
           “Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them whe...

       Let’s be realistic:   Being afraid will not stop the things that we don’t want to

   3. Hey, What ever happened to the power of the Living
      Word among us?

E.N. #4. In our day, what has happened t...

It would be useful if every Christian and every evangelizer were to pray about the following
thought: men can gain salv...

2 Corinthians 4:6h-8
      “For God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to bring to
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“Fear grows in darkness" (Adele Gonzalez)


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Adele Gonzalez's presentation. Religious Education Congress 2009

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“Fear grows in darkness" (Adele Gonzalez)

  1. 1. 1 Religious Education Congress Archdiocese of Hartford, CT Saturday, November 7, 2009 9:15-10:00am - Morning Keynote: (c.420) ENGLISH “Fear grows in darkness; if you think there's a bogeyman around, turn on the light.” 1. We are called to be light to the world and signs of God’s love and forgiveness. 1 John:1-3,5 “What we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing this so that our joy may be complete. Now this is the message that we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.” Luke 15:1-2 ”The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to him, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." Matthew 20:1-16 "The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o'clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.' So they went off. (And) he went out again around noon, and around three o'clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o'clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, 'Why do you stand here idle all day?' They answered, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard.' When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.' When those who had started about five o'clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, 'These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day's burden and the heat.' He said to one of them in reply, 'My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?' Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last." John 13:12-15 “So when he had washed their feet (and) put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, "Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me 'teacher' and 'master,' and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
  2. 2. 2 Ephesians 5:8-9 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.” 1.5 Clarify the meanings of evangelization and catechesis: Pre-evangelization, Evangelization, Catechesis, Mystagogia, etc. • E.N. #44. A means of evangelization that must not be neglected is that of catechetical instruction… No one will deny that this instruction must be given to form patterns of Christian living and not to remain only notional: Evangelizing catechesis December 8, 1975, Paulus PP. VI: Evangelii Nuntiandi • E.N. #15. Anyone who rereads in the New Testament the origins of the Church follows her history step by step and watches her live and act, sees that she is linked to evangelization in her most intimate being: --The Church is born of the evangelizing activity of Jesus and the Twelve. • E.N. #14. The Church… has a vivid awareness of the fact that the Savior's words, "I must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God," apply in all truth to herself… "We wish to confirm once more that the task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church." … Evangelizing is in fact… her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize… • E.N. #15. The Church is an evangelizer, but she begins by being evangelized herself… She is the People of God immersed in the world, and often tempted by idols… this means that she has a constant need of being evangelized, if she wishes to retain freshness, vigor and strength in order to proclaim the Gospel. • E.N. #18. For the Church, evangelizing means bringing the Good News into all the strata of humanity, and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new… But there is no new humanity if there are not first of all new persons renewed by Baptism and by lives lived according to the Gospel.
  3. 3. 3 • E.N. #19. …for the Church it is a question not only of preaching the Gospel in ever wider geographic areas or to ever greater numbers of people, but also of affecting and as it were upsetting, through the power of the Gospel, mankind's criteria of judgment, determining values, points of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration and models of life, which are in contrast with the Word of God and the plan of salvation. • E.N.#31. … it is impossible to accept "that in evangelization one could or should ignore the importance of the problems so much discussed today, concerning justice, liberation, development and peace in the world. This would be to forget the lesson which comes to us from the Gospel concerning love of our neighbor who is suffering and in need." 2. As we face today’s crises, we often become fearful and pessimistic. What is fear? n An unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. Painful agitation in the presence or anticipation of danger. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 2004. What are some of the negative consequences of fear? • Paralysis, immobilization. John20:19-20 “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. 13 The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” • Hysterical activity, panic attacks Mark 4:35-41 “On that day, as evening drew on, he said to them, "Let us cross to the other side." Leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Quiet! Be still!" The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, "Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?" They were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?"
  4. 4. 4 • Timidity, hesitation John 20:24-29 “Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe." Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." • Intense reluctance to face the person or situation causing anxiety Mark 8:31-33 “He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” • Fear can be concealed under daring or violence John 13:36-38 “Simon Peter said to him, "Master, where are you going?" Jesus answered (him), "Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later." Peter said to him, "Master, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times." • Loss of courage John 18:25ff “Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm. And they said to him, "You are not one of his disciples, are you?" He denied it and said, "I am not." One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said, "Didn't I see you in the garden with him?" Again Peter denied it. • Fear is that which stands between me and the freedom that God created me for. • 1 John 4:18. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” • Fear tells me to stop what I am doing and remain “stuck” in my “safe” place Fear of failure = Need to succeed Fear to be disliked = Need to be loved and liked Fear of danger = Need to be safe Fear of differences = Need to control
  5. 5. 5 Let’s be realistic: Being afraid will not stop the things that we don’t want to happen from happening! • “Never fear shadows... they simply mean there's a light shining somewhere nearby.” Unknown • “Men fear death, as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other.” Francis Bacon What about God and faith? • “Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety or by the handle of faith.” Unknown • “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” Ambrose Redmoon • “It has been said that our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon • Mark 5:36 “Fear is useless… What is needed is trust.” “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” (On the way to Jairus’ house to raise his daughter). • “Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.” Unknown • “Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light?” Maurice Freehill • When we allow fear to overcome us, it can lead us to retreat from God, as in the garden. The relationship based on trust is destroyed and fear takes its place. Adam did not trust God to provide him with “divinity.” Jesus, the new Adam, trusted God’s plan as did Mary and many others throughout history. I CHOOSE TO BELIEVE THAT THIS KIND OF FEAR IS USELESS AND THAT IN ITS PLACE THE SPIRIT BRINGS TRUST! Reflection questions: 1. How is the situation within the Catholic Church in Hartford affecting your catechetical or other ministry? 2. How are the social and personal unknowns affecting your spiritual life today? 3. Where do you find/encounter God in these difficult times?
  6. 6. 6 3. Hey, What ever happened to the power of the Living Word among us? E.N. #4. In our day, what has happened to that hidden energy of the Good News, which is able to have a powerful effect on man's conscience? --To what extent and in what way is that evangelical force capable of really transforming the people of this century? --What methods should be followed in order that the power of the Gospel may have its effect? E.N. #74. … In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the name of the Apostles Peter and Paul, we wish to exhort all those who… are true evangelizers… to exercise it without the reticence of doubt or fear… E.N. #75. Evangelization will never be possible without the action of the Holy Spirit. … In fact, it is only after the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost that the apostles depart to all the ends of the earth in order to begin the great work of the Church's evangelization. Peter explains this event as the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel: "I will pour out my spirit." Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit so that he can speak to the people about Jesus, the Son of God. E.N. #76. 21st Century--- It is often said nowadays that the present century thirsts for authenticity… Either tacitly or aloud--but always forcefully--we are being asked: Do you really believe what you are proclaiming? Do you live what you believe? Do you really preach what you live? … We are, to a certain extent, responsible for the progress of the Gospel that we proclaim. The world which, paradoxically, despite innumerable signs of the denial of God, is nevertheless searching for Him in unexpected ways and painfully experiencing the need of Him… E.N. #80. …obstacles are also present today: the lack of fervor. It is all the more serious because it comes from within. It is manifested in fatigue, disenchantment, compromise, lack of interest and above all lack of joy and hope. Thus one too frequently hears it said, in various terms, that to impose a truth, be it that of the Gospel, or to impose a way, be it that of salvation, cannot but be a violation of religious liberty. It would certainly be an error to impose something on the consciences of our brethren. But to propose to their consciences the truth of the Gospel and salvation in Jesus Christ, with complete clarity and with a total respect for the free options which it presents--"without coercion, or dishonorable or unworthy pressure"--far from being an attack on religious liberty is fully to respect that liberty, which is offered the choice of a way that even non-believers consider noble and uplifting… And why should only falsehood and error, debasement and pornography have the right to be put before people and often unfortunately imposed on them by the destructive propaganda of the mass media, by the tolerance of legislation, the timidity of the good and the impudence of the wicked?
  7. 7. 7 It would be useful if every Christian and every evangelizer were to pray about the following thought: men can gain salvation also in other ways, by God's mercy, even though we do not preach the Gospel to them; but as for us, can we gain salvation if through negligence or fear or shame--what St. Paul called "blushing for the Gospel" --or as a result of false ideas we fail to preach it? For that would be to betray the call of God, who wishes the seed to bear fruit through the voice of the ministers of the Gospel; and it will depend on us whether this grows into trees and produces its full fruit. … Techniques of evangelization are good, but even the most advanced ones could not replace the gentle action of the Spirit. The most perfect preparation of the evangelizer has no effect without the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? Ezekiel 2:1-3:4 “Son of man, stand up! I wish to speak with you. As he spoke to me, spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard the one who was speaking say to me: Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their fathers have revolted against me to this very day. Hard of face and obstinate of heart are they to whom I am sending you. But you shall say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD! And whether they heed or resist--for they are a rebellious house--they shall know that a prophet has been among them. But as for you, son of man, fear neither them nor their words when they contradict you and reject you… for they are a rebellious house. As for you, son of man, obey me when I speak to you: be not rebellious like this house of rebellion, but open your mouth and eat what I shall give you. It was then I saw a hand stretched out to me, in which was a written scroll which he unrolled before me. It was covered with writing front and back, and written on it was: Lamentation and wailing and woe! He said to me: Son of man, eat what is before you; eat this scroll, then go, speak to the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth and he gave me the scroll to eat. Son of man, he then said to me, feed your belly and fill your stomach with this scroll I am giving you. I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. He said: Son of man, go now to the house of Israel, and speak my words to them.” Luke 10:1-6 “After this the Lord appointed seventy two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this household.' If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.”
  8. 8. 8 2 Corinthians 4:6h-8 “For God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of (Jesus) Christ. But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.” Matthew 14:22-33 “Then he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was many furlongs distant from the land, beaten by the waves; for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear. But immediately he spoke to them, saying, "Take heart, it is I; have no fear." And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water." He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me." Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "O man of little faith, why did you doubt?"