Totally Unofficial Translation 9: “Evangelii Gaudium”

V. A mother of open heart.

46. The Church on the outward-bound journey is a Church with open doors. To go out to everybody else, in order to reach the human peripheries, does not imply running into the world without a route and without sense. Many times, it is better to delay one’s step, to put aside one’s anxiety, in order to see with one’s own eyes and to listen; or to renounce these urgencies in order to accompany the one who has stopped at the side of the road. At times, one is like the prodigal son’s father, who keeps the doors open so that when he should return, he should be able to enter without difficulty.

47. The Church is called to be always the Father’s open house. One of the concrete signs of that opening is to have churches with open doors in all regions. In that way, if someone wants to follow a motion of the Spirit and
approaches it looking for God, he will not find the coldness of closed doors. But there are other doors which one must not close, either. Everyone can participate in some way in ecclesial life; everyone can integrate into the community, and so neither must the doors of the Sacraments be closed for any reason whatever. This helps, above all, when one deals with that Sacrament which is “the door,” Baptism.

The Eucharist, if the plenitude of the sacramental life is well constituted, is not a reward for the perfected, but a generous remedy and nourishment for the weak. (51) These convictions also have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Often, we comport ourselves as controllers of grace and not as facilitators. But the Church is not a customshouse; it is the paternal house where there is a place for each one with his life on his back.

48. If the entire Church takes on this missionary dynamism, she must reach everyone without exceptions. But whom must she favor? When one reads the Gospel, one finds oneself with a convincing orientation: not so much toward friends and rich neighbors, but instead, above all, to the poor and sick, to those who are accustomed to be despised and forgotten, to those yonder who “do not have anything to recompense you with.” (Lk. 14:14) Doubts must not stay nor explanations have room which might weaken this message, so clear. Today and always, “the poor are the privileged addressees of the Gospel,” (52) and evangelization directed freely toward them is a sign of the Kingdom which Jesus came to bring. One has to say without swerving that an inseparable link exists between our faith and the poor. Never should we leave them all alone.

49. Let’s go out, let’s go out, to offer the life of Jesus Christ to everyone. I repeat here for all the Church that which I have said many times to the priests and laypeople of Buenos Aires: I prefer a Church injured, wounded, and dirtied by going out on the street, before a Church sick from being shut in, and the comfort of being moored to her own safeties. I do not want a Church worried by being the center, and which would end closed up within a thicket of obsessions and procedures. If something must upset us in a holy way, and worry our conscience, it is that so many of our brothers would live without the force, the light, and the consolation of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith that would hold them, without a horizon of meaning and of life. More than the fear of us being wrong, I hope that what moves us is the fear of being enclosed in the structures that give us a false contention, in the norms which turn us into implacable judges, in the customs where we feel ourselves tranquil, while outside there is a hungry multitude and Jesus repeats to us without tiring: “Give them something to eat, you all!” (Mk. 6:37)

FOOTNOTES:

[51] Cf. SAINT AMBROSE, De Sacramentis, IV, 6, 28: PL 16, 464: “I must receive it always, so that it may always forgive my sins. If I sin continually, I must always have a remedy”; ID., op. cit., IV, 5, 24: PL 16, 463: “Those who ate manna died; those who eat this body will obtain the forgiveness of their sins”; SAINT CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA, In Joh. Evang., IV, 2: PG 73, 584-585: “I examined myself and I found myself unworthy. To those who speak thus I say: when will you be worthy? When at last you present yourself before Christ? And if your sins prevent you from drawing nigh, and you never cease to fall – for, as the Psalm says, ‘what man knows his faults?’ – will you remain without partaking of the sanctification that gives life for eternity?”

[52] BENEDICT XVI, Address to the Brazilian Bishops in the Cathedral of São Paulo, Brazil (11 May 2007), 3: AAS 99 (2007), 428.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Totally Unofficial Translation 9: “Evangelii Gaudium”

  1. J.

    Thank you so much for offering a more literal translation of Evangelii Gaudium. Your work is much appreciated!

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