Learn by Topic: New Evangelization
Satanspel – The Devil’s Story
At Eden, Satan seduces Man with the false story (from the Old English “spel”) that humans can have “all knowledge” and “become like gods” (Gen 3:5). The turning away from God and His Truth to the devil’s false story, the Satanspel, is the fall of Man into Original Sin.
The Satanspel of today promises that a “modern” secular society (humans can be gods) and information technology (knowledge) will lead to the salvation of humans. Secularists seek to neutralize God in the public square and promote an individualist order where all humans can fulfill their personal cravings for material goods and sexual perversion. The “knowledge” of Eden is the “information” of today with Man submerged in a swamp of information through ever-more intrusive media devices. In the “information overload”, the trivial, obscene and morbid seduce Man into greater and greater distraction from God, with Man falling into ever-greater darkness of sin.
Gospel of Jesus Christ the Divine Evangelist
In Divine contrast to the dark lies of the Satanspel, the Gospel (literally, “Good news” or “God’s story”) is the Truth of Jesus Christ. Jesus, whose name means “God saves”, brings the Divine good news that God Is and Man can be saved by God through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, He, Himself, is the Good News, for He is God who comes into the world through the Incarnation to save Man from the dark spell cast by Satan. The Good News is the Story of Salvation for mankind. The Good News is that, rather than the randomness of deconstruction and cold evolutionary forces without a plot or storyline, there is the Truth of the Salvation Story in Jesus Christ.
What Jesus Teaches as Divine Evangelist
The Gospel Himself, Jesus Christ the Divine Evangelist teaches that:
There is a Kingdom of God – Rather then the confusion and waywardness of Israel or the deception of the human tendency to want to become gods, Jesus Christ brings the Good News that God exists and rules eternity in His Kingdom (CCC 544).
Salvation is the Story – Rather then a long string of meaningless events, human history has a trajectory in God. Even in the treason of Eden, God describes the victory over Satan in the protoevangelium (Gen 3:15; CCC 410), in which Mary, the New Eve, through her seed Jesus Christ, will conquer evil. The Gospel is the Good News of the God Story, that Man can be saved from Original Sin and death, that Satan has been defeated (CCC 1086) and that there is a way of life and a way of death (CCC 1696). Jesus Christ is the turning point in Salvation History, fulfilling all the promises by God in the Old Testament (CCC 1964-70). Men are given a real history, a family history, in the Bible and the Traditions of the Church.
Jesus, Himself, is the Good News of the New Covenant – In the Incarnation, Jesus gives definitive proof of God’s existence. Jesus pays a high price and works tirelessly to bring the Good News, walking thousands of miles, healing the multitudes, living without a home, accepting the Will of the Father to submit to the injustice of puny men unto death. In the Incarnation, Jesus gives God a human face and man preserves this idea of Christ’s Good News in the blessings of Icons (CCC 1160).
Man must repent and accept the Good News – Jesus comes to set the record straight. Man is in deep trouble because of Original Sin, which is the opposite of the Gospel (CCC 389). Man must reject the false idols of human gods and scientific rationalism. Man has a choice and is accountable (1 Pt 4:17) for conversion (CCC 1427). Man will either be in the kingdom or outside with “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 22:13). Man must not be ashamed of the Gospel (Rom 1:15), “live a life worthy of the Gospel” (CCC 1692) and be prepared to give up all for the Gospel (CCC 2544).
There is Salvation in Christ – Jesus Christ ushers in a New Covenant, paying the price for human sin through His Crucifixion and offering all men the new life of the Resurrection (CCC 571). Christ teaches that there is no salvation for man without self-sacrificing love.
Man must embrace the Gospel through lifelong catechesis– Jesus Christ, Himself, is the Word, which is the Gospel. The Gospel is promulgated in writing and speaking (CCC 76). Man must continually be catechized and pass along the faith to the next generation through education/catechesis (CCC 2226).
Man must embrace the Church – Jesus Christ establishes His Church so that men can know the Truth be given Grace through the Sacraments. The Apostles pass along the authority for Christ’s Church on earth to bishops so that “the full and living Gospel might be preserved in the Church” (CCC 77) as their first and primary task (CCC 888). The Gospel is preached at every mass (CCC 1160). Christ establishes communio in the Church and the fraternity of brotherhood (CCC 2636).
Men are commanded to evangelize – Jesus preaches the Gospel with His own lips (CCC 75) and commands the Apostles to understand and preach the Gospel to all nations (Matt 26:13; Mark 13:10) for it is good news for all nations (CCC 528). Today, Man is called to be obedient evangelists (CCC 3; CCC 673), for the preaching of the Gospel has the power through the Holy Spirit to renew culture in Christ (CCC 2527). Man must take the Gospel seriously for it has been passed down for 2000 years with great hardship and sacrifice.
Responding to the Gospel has requirements – To fully respond to the Gospel, Man must embrace renewal in prayer (CCC 821) and be drawn into the sacraments (CCC 977). Jesus leaves a perpetual evangelization of man through the Sacraments (CCC 1247). To bear witness and promulgate the Gospel, Man must live a life faithful to the Gospel (CCC 2044: CCC 2226; CCC 2472).
Men must persevere to preach the Gospel – Christ teaches that there is great resistance to His Gospel, and despite apparent defeats and setbacks, Man must never cease to preach the Gospel (CCC 854).
He will send the Holy Spirit – Key to the Gospel is the promise that Christ makes to send the Holy Spirit to give the power to transmit the Gospel (CCC 2600, 2640).
Modern Man’s Aversion to Kings and Kingdoms
The word “monarchy” comes from the Latin, monarchia, meaning, “absolute rule, the ruling of one.” Monarchies, a form of human government, are ruled by a king (or queen) and have been around since early human history. Much of Western civilization has its roots in monarchies. Today, while about 20% of countries in the world are formerly called monarchies, few actually give more then ceremonial recognition to kings or queens.
Living in a democracy in the 21st century, the idea of kings and kingdoms is a foreign concept. The U.S. was founded based on the specific rejection of monarchy of the King of England. Americans value independence and reject the idea of being “subjects”, fiercely supporting democracy in the political realm.
Catholic men are called to recognize that Jesus Christ is the Divine King, the Messiah and that they are His subjects. Men are called to give total allegiance to the King, to kneel before Him in adoration and continually give themselves to Him. Recognizing the Truth of the Divine Kingship of Jesus Christ can help men become more loyal subjects of Christ.
The Divine Kingship of Jesus Christ
Messiah, or Christ in the Greek, comes from the Hebrew, meaning “the anointed one.” Since the time of the Prophets, a Messiah was foretold who would restore the fallen Kingdom of Israel and bring salvation to the world (CCC 763). Angels foretold of the coming of the Messiah to the Blessed Virgin, calling Jesus “great”, “the Son of the Most High” and that “He will reign…for ever…and His kingdom will have no end.” (Luke 1:31-33). Pagan kings found the Christ Child and “fell down and worshiped Him” (Matt 2:11) and King Herod, fearing his kingdom, slaughtered the Innocents (Matt 2:16).
Jesus, the Messiah King, is royally anointed by the Holy Spirit at His Baptism (Luke 3:21-22), and begins to preach about His Kingdom, saying, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17). The devil tries to unsuccessfully tempt Jesus with “all the kingdoms of the world” (Matt 4:8). Andrew and Peter realize that they “have found the Messiah” (John 1:41).
Jesus continually teaches about the Kingdom of God throughout His ministry: in the Beatitudes (Matt 5:2-12), in numerous parables and in the Our Father (Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done…). The people attempt to forcefully make Him king (John 6:15), but Jesus instead later enters Jerusalem like a Davidic king (CCC 560). Pilate mistakenly concludes the Jesus is simply the King of the Jews and has Jesus crucified when the people say, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15). After the resurrection, Jesus teaches for forty days about the Kingdom of Heaven (CCC 659).
The Catholic Church has always recognized the Divine Kingship of Jesus Christ and reserves the last Sunday of the liturgical year for the Feast of Christ the King.
What Jesus Teaches through His Divine Kingship
Jesus Christ, and His Church, teaches the great importance of the Divine Kingship of Jesus Christ:
The Kingdom is an urgent reality – Jesus greatly emphasizes the Kingdom of God/Heaven and that men must urgently turn towards Christ, for the Kingdom is ‘at hand’ (cf. Luke 9:60; 9:62).
Jesus Christ is the Divine King – Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the Son of King David, the King of Kings, a Divine King anointed by the Holy Spirit (CCC 436). He “accompanies His words with many “mighty works and wonders and signs”, which manifest that the kingdom is present in Him and attests that he was the promised Messiah” (CCC 547). He performs many signs to make known the Mysteries of the Kingdom of God (CCC 1151). He is the Perfect King (CCC 578), a Merciful King (CCC 545), a Heroic King who comes to free the slaves and the poor (CCC 544) through His own sacrificing death.
Jesus Christ has complete dominion as Divine King – Jesus, as Divine King, sits at the right hand of the Father and has an everlasting dominion (i.e. authority, rule and power) over all men (CCC 664; Matt 28:18). Jesus warns that “all judgment is given to the Son” (John 5:22) and that those who do not do the will of the Father will not enter the Kingdom (Matt 7:21).
All men are called to be His devoted subjects – Jesus calls all men to conversion, to repent and work for the Kingdom (CCC 2608). Men ultimately must choose who they will serve, either Jesus Christ or Satan “who act(s) in the world out of hatred for God and his Kingdom in Christ Jesus” (CCC 395). Men must give their complete devotion to Jesus Christ as the martyrs have done, with “matchless devotion towards [our] king and master” (CCC 957).
As subjects, men are called to serve the Divine King – Men are called to pick up their crosses and follow Jesus. He warns that lukewarm commitments or attachment to riches keep men from the Kingdom of Heaven (Luke 18:25). “One must give everything…Words are not enough, deeds are required” (CCC 546). Though subjects, men are part of a royal office of Jesus Christ (CCC 786). Men are called to be the King’s co-workers (CCC 307) to hasten the fulfillment of the Kingdom (CCC 2046).
Men must give obedience to the Church – Jesus, the Divine King, gives Peter the keys to the Kingdom (CCC 553) and supreme earthly authority has passed to each successive Pope and the college of bishops (CCC 869). Catholics are called to obedience to the teachings of the Church (CCC 891).
Men are called to adore Jesus Christ the Eucharist – The real presence of Jesus Christ, the Divine King, is in His Church and in the Eucharist (CCC 1088, 1373). In the Mass, men are given a foretaste of the Kingdom of Heaven (CCC 2770). “Adoration is the first attitude of man…[and] homage of the spirit to the “King of Glory” is a necessity… (CCC 2628). Men are called to worship the Divine King through adoration of the Eucharist: “The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it…” (CCC 1378). Like many who were awed by Christ in the Gospels, all men are called to kneel and worship their King.
Men are called to evangelize – Jesus commands the Apostles to spread the Good News of the Kingdom to all the world (Matt 28:16-20). As subjects of the King, “the laity are made to share in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly office of Christ” (CCC 873), “to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth” (CCC 863).
Here are some reasons to make sure to make this month’s ManNight:
- Many men have drifted away from their Catholic faith. They try to make their way in the increasingly confused culture. Jesus Christ is calling you, and all men, back to Him.
- The growing cultural darkness has had a particularly sad impact on young men. They are buffeted by all kinds of immoral messages and are encouraged to avoid manhood, especially Catholic manhood. Young men desperately need to be drawn into friendship with Jesus Christ. Young men need to witness, and be welcomed into, a community of Catholic men.
- Many studies have shown that the most important influence on a young man’s future faith life is the faith life of his father; if a father is a devout Catholic, chances are very good that the son will grow into Catholic manhood. Bringing your son to ManNight is an outstanding demonstration of your own faith and it will definitely help to draw your son to Jesus Christ.
- To grow in faith, each man must grow in friendship with Jesus Christ. To many men, Jesus is abstract and distant. In the Sacraments, prayer and study, men can get to know Jesus Christ better. As men grow in friendship with Jesus, their lives are forever changed, both in the present and the eternal. Each Catholic man must continually commit and act to draw closer to Jesus Christ.
- ManNight is a chance for Catholic men to get to know Jesus Christ better and to grow in true friendship with other Catholic men. Hundreds of Catholic men have been attending these events.
- Due to busy modern lives, we all face competing priorities. Some men might think, “I am too busy,” or that “I won’t get anything out of it.” In response to these kinds of excuses, I once heard a priest say, “Who said it was about you? Catholic men need to ‘show up’ to support other men in their faith lives.”
- Many men complain that Bishops and priests should do more, or do different things. Lay Catholic men need to do more for our clergy! Catholic men need to show up at events like this, to pray for, support and encourage our clergy. Show your support for clergy by showing up for the next ManNight.
Be part of the New Evangelization by bringing your son(s) and inviting a buddy and his son(s).