Renewing Our Faith by Old Habits

Here I am in Rome all month for the Synod on the New Evangelization.  I miss all of you already – - but my next bowl of Spaghetti alla Carbonara will snap me out of it.

How do we renew, restore, repair, re-energize our faith in the Person, message, and invitation of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

That’s the challenge posed by the New Evangelization.

To renew, restore, repair, and re-energize our faith, individually, and communally, as the Church . . .

. . . and then to be agents of the New Evangelization to others.

One of the most prominent and influential converts to Catholicism in the history of the Catholic community in the United States was Dorothy Day.

I’m reading her excellent biography by Jim Forest, All is Grace.

Dorothy herself relates a number of features that drew her to Jesus and His Church.

One especially powerful one was when she shared a meager room with two other young women, struggling, like her, to make it, down in Greenwich Village.

These two roommates were Catholic. Simple Catholics, but sincere.  And Dorothy at the time was a socialist, probably an agnostic, living a rather hedonistic life.

And Dorothy watched the two other girls.  She admired them.  What moved her?  What inspired her?

One, they went to Mass every Sunday morning (their only morning to sleep-in, by the way);

Two, they prayed silently every night before bed;

Three, they were deeply in love with two men, and had set their wedding date, but they wanted “to wait” until marriage something they admitted was tough to do.  That virtue impressed Dorothy;

Four, they were from poor, struggling families, and thus had a heart for others in need.

Not bad: Sunday Mass; daily prayer; virtue, even when it’s tough; and a humble charity.

Their example evangelized a future saint, Dorothy Day.

Maybe the “New Evangelization” requires the recovery of some old stuff!

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13 Responses to “Renewing Our Faith by Old Habits”

  1. What a simple and powerful story of conversion and evangelization by living for Christ! Every follower of Jesus should understand this and renew their commitment to evangelizing.

  2. carroll says:

    So Beautiful! You are in our prayers!

  3. Victor Cauchi says:

    I hail from Malta, a Catholic island at the southernmost tip of Sicily. I am following the Synod full blast, being a member of the Neo-catechumenal community and committed to envangelization. I am also an avid follower of the Carthusian Order with which I once made a postulate experience at La Farneta, Lucca of one week in 1976, a year after passing three weeks with the Trappists of Tre Fontane, Rome

    I have recently discovered that notwithstanding all my presumed faith and catechesis I have received and given, nothing stands steadfast unless seen in the prespective of the Cross. I recall, when I was young in the 50s, and I used to be taken to Church in pre-Conciliar times before homilies came in vogue, there used to be evening prayers, novenas, remembrances etc. – that was the real time when the faithful, besides Mass in the morning, were educated and taught in faith. And some way or the other the Cross always cropped up, the Crucifix bearing the body of Christ, and the personal cross one had to bear. Those evenings were lectures in theology in themselves, after which people went to their homes and were not afraid to talk about and identify their cross, realizing that in it only would they find their salvation.

    When I was 12 I started frequenting the Greek Catholic Church where the Good Friday liturgy has special significance. Among others there is a Cross standard with two sides, one black with the white corpse of Christ on it, and the other golden (like all icons opening up to a new heavenly light) with the Risen Christ on it. On Friday it was the black side that was displayed, but as from Saturday morning it was already turned to the golden side in anticipation of the full joy of Easter Sunday. That impressed me too, especially after Vatican II when more emphasis started being laid on the Resurrection, Christ’s and personal. I also like that Church because in a different way from the Latins, they always mentioned and emphasized Baptism. When years later I joined the neo-catechumens, I discovered that their emphasis was on the Resurrection and Baptism, which go hand in hand, and given my backdrop I felt quite at home.

    Even then, feeling today I am very much of a Carthusian at heart, I cherish the motto “The Cross stands steadfast while the world keeps turning round”. I think this would be a wonderful motto for the New Evangelization, together with a re-proposal of the theological sermons we used to have on the Cross, the Resurrection and Baptism.

    I will pray for you while at the Vatican: may you feel at home there, you really need to!

    In silence and peace

    Victor (Cauchi, Malta)

  4. Pete Ascosi says:

    Archbishop Dolan, thanks for the post. Yes the pasta is great over in Italy!

    I like the anecdote from Dorothy Day’s life. And the conclusion that we need to recovery some of the amazingly new things that have been done throughout the ages.

    She also wrote something worth thinking about in light of evangelization…

    “If I have achieved anything in my life, it is because I have not been embarrassed to talk about God.”

    Thanks. We are praying for the Synod to bear lasting fruit.

  5. Carmen H says:

    Thanks for pointing out that our lives lived in earnest are the more powerful witness…”we might be the only Bible read by others…” Lets be thankful for the many saints that inspire our lives!!!

  6. Karen says:

    Please, I pray we return to some of the ‘old stuff’…Thank you, Cardinal.

  7. Karen says:

    I pray we return to some of the ‘old stuff’…Thank you, Cardinal.

  8. Here is the answer to your question!

    Once again, here at Resurrection NOW, Inc. – our mission is clear – to show the entire world that the Singular Image of the Shroud of Turin really was created by the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from the dead, in a VERY BIG WAY!

    As I explained to you, there was a point when the recently discovered Salvatore Mundi painting of Jesus by Leonardo da Vinci – was valued at less than 60 English pounds! Now, it is valued at $200 million dollars! – precisely because all know today that Leonardo DaVinci created it!

    As I said in an earlier message – it is very likely that Leonardo modeled the Salvatore Mundi after the Shroud of Turin, when the Shroud existed in Chambery, France.

    The Shroud of Turin is valued at about 60 English pounds today too!

    Everybody still tries to convince themselves that the Shroud of Turin has been “carbon dated” so that it is just a “medieval relic”!

    But here at Resurrection NOW, Inc – we KNOW that the Resurrection of the Crucified and Dead Jesus of Nazareth created it – so that His Singular Image – has INFINITE VALUE – being made by Our Creator and Redeemer.

    WE ARE FULLY PREPARED TO SHOW THE PUBLIC EVERYTHING WE CLEARLY KNOW!

    Since we know THIS – ALL CAN KNOW THIS! – especially at Ground Zero where ALL NEED TO KNOW THIS THE MOST!

  9. maureen and Tom McCormack says:

    That’s exactly it! One does not need to be a theologian to understand the simplicity of that message. Just follow Jesus where He leads and leave the rest up to Him.

  10. John G. says:

    +
    JMJ

    Your Eminence,

    “New Evangelization” and “recovery of old stuff”.

    Although this is an indirect reference to old Catholic Traditions no longer in practice, it is your third blog to relate to that subject. Perhaps this is your opportunity while you are in Rome at the Synod to discuss the subject with the other attendees. They might have the same feeling about restoring our Catholic Traditions that have been shelved in “modernizing” the Church. The Bishops have made it too easy to be Catholic. We need to again become the Church Militant. We need strong Catholics to Evangelize and proclaim the Word to others.

    Respectfully, John G.

  11. Claire Mc says:

    Mass, Prayer, virtue, and charity are not something old that existed in the past. People from every era found their way to these “habits” when they found their way to Christ. This is the same today. No need to “bring back old stuff” just need to lead people directly to the source.

  12. Jennifer says:

    Wonder what would have happened if I had a roommate like that or *if I had been like those roommates.* All we can do is make a commitment and try harder to behave as we should. “if not me who; if not now when?”

    Have to say – and I don’t mean anything political by this – but having watched the RNC and some other interviews w people who have interacted with Mitt Romney. I am inspired to become a Much Better Catholic! He clearly doesn’t leave it in the church parking lot. Not that I have either, but there is a lot of room for improvement.

    My old pastor (from my youth) used to say something like… “Be careful how you live your life. You may be the only book on Catholicism some people ever read.”

    These roommates (and Gov. Romney in his own way) were/are proof of great books!

  13. Larry says:

    I think that it’s a tad premature to refer to Dorothy Day as a “future saint,” if by that you mean an officially-declared saint. At this point, the assertion that her life deserves such recognition is highly debatable.