Conclusion to Novo Millennio Ineunte: A New Evangelization

The concluding two sections of Novo Millennio are entitled “Duc in altum,” and John Paul II speaks about the new millennium as a “vast ocean” upon which we shall venture with the help of Christ. We must already be properly disposed to set out — we need a “discerning eye” — an eye of faith — to even see Christ at work, and most of all we need a “generous heart” to be his instrument in this venture — a heart of love.

Into this new millennium the Church carries her “missionary mandate” (Mt 28:19) and this mandate “urges us to share the enthusiasm of the very first Christians: we can count on the power of the same Spirit who was poured out at Pentecost and who impels us still today to start out anew.” §58 John Paul had previously said with respect to grace that “in the presence of the mystery of grace, infinitely full of possibilities and implications for human life and history, the Church herself will never cease putting questions, trusting in the help of the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth (cf. Jn 14:17), whose task it is to guide her “into all the truth” (Jn 16:13) §56

The truth of Christ, the whole truth about man, will be the message of the new evangelization.  The deeper understanding of Christ and man will be found in the documents of Vatican II. 

What a treasure there is, dear brothers and sisters, in the guidelines offered to us by the Second Vatican Council! For this reason I asked the Church, as a way of preparing for the Great Jubilee, to examine herself on the reception given to the Council.Has this been done? The Congress held here in the Vatican was such a moment of reflection, and I hope that similar efforts have been made in various ways in all the particular Churches. With the passing of the years, the Council documents have lost nothing of their value or brilliance. They need to be read correctly, to be widely known and taken to heart as important and normative texts of the Magisterium, within the Church’s Tradition. Now that the Jubilee has ended, I feel more than ever in duty bound to point to the Council as the great grace bestowed on the Church in the twentieth century: there we find a sure compass by which to take our bearings in the century now beginning. §57

To Mary he entrusts the task of the new evangelization and he names her the “star of the new evangelization,” for mariners of faith must have a sure point of reference at sea. 

And for the final summary he returns to the theme of contemplation of the face of Christ:

The Risen Jesus accompanies us on our way and enables us to recognize him, as the disciples of Emmaus did, “in the breaking of the bread” (Lk 24:35). May he find us watchful, ready to recognize his face and run to our brothers and sisters with the good news: “We have seen the Lord!” (Jn 20:25).


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