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Posted November 8, 2003

Holiness, Evangelization, Vocations

by Archbishop Dolan
Origins: Nov. 13, 2003 Vol. 33: No. 23


"ĎNo one gives what he hasnít gotí We cannot give Jesus unless we got him! Out of holiness springs evangelization." Archbishop Timothy Dolan told the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors.

"The call to serve," which is evangelization, "comes only from . . . the depths of a heart on fire with love of Jesus ó that is holiness.

Dolan stressed that holiness is, firs, "a relationship with a person, "the second Person of the Trinity. "We have a relationship not just with a plan but with a person, not just with a system but with a shepherd."

Second, holiness is "incarnational," Dolan said.

"Every one of you knows how our young people summon us away from a dry, cerebral, antiseptic relationship with Jesus to a warm, tender, heartfelt one. Holiness for them has flesh, bones, a heart. Seminarians today are drawn to saints who had warm, tender relationships with Jesus. Young people want a tactile, heartfelt, earthy, incarnational holines.

Third, he said, holiness is ecclesial. This notion is crucial today, noting that the church is "all about people!

The archbishop said, quoting Father Ron Rolheiser, OMI, that "we must challenge . . . the pathological individualism and excessive sense of privacy within culture as well as the fallacy . . . that we owe nothing to anyone besides ourselves and that we can buy into family, neighborhood and church how and when we feel like it.

He also asked young people to be patient with the church, which is always a community of weak and imperfect individuals. He said that in these difficult days in the church a lot of prestige, clout, frills and dazzle has gone from our work, and what do we have left to give? He said "We have Jesus ó a strong relationship with him, incarnational and ecclesial in its character. We are called to holiness, and from that call comes evangelization.

Quotations from the talk:

"He wonders if what people today find most disturbing about the church is not its claim to truth, but the fact that itís all about people."

"We battle today the old heresy of gnosticism that claimed 1,900 years ago . . . that only certain elite elect possessed the real truth and comprised the genuine church. We see that today on the fringe left, in groups that constantly carp about the church as oppressive, patriarchal, out of touch, corrupt . . . We hear it from the fringe right, who have circled the wagons or taken to the bunkers to form their own church from what they see as the rotting carcass of postconciliar, wavering, weak, diluted, dissenting lost Catholicism."

"It is revealing to take a look at the words Jesus uses when summoning his disciples. Does he say, Work with me? No

Plan with me? No

Run with me? No

Exercise with me? No

Discuss with me? No

Rather, he invites:

Abide in me. Remain with me. Live in me. Stay with me. Keep watch with me. Be with me. All "being" words, no "doing" or "having" words.