I just finished reading Pope John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth). With the upcoming Catholic New Media Celebration and its focus on the new evangelization on my mind, one passage near the end stood out as particularly relevant:
Just as it does in proclaiming the truths of faith, and even more so in presenting the foundations and content of Christian morality, the new evangelization will show its authenticity and unleash all its missionary force when it is carried out through the gift not only of the word proclaimed but also of the word lived. In particular, the life of holiness which is resplendent in so many members of the People of God, humble and often unseen, constitutes the simplest and most attractive way to perceive at once the beauty of truth, the liberating force of God’s love, and the value of unconditional fidelity to all the demands of the Lord’s law, even in the most difficult situations.
– Veritatis Splendor, 107 [bold added for emphasis]
It is easy for us to get caught up in particular methods of communication, including the excitement of newer media ranging from podcasts to blogs and beyond. As we proclaim the word using new communication tools, let us be wise enough to not forget the critical ingredient of “the life of holiness.” Let’s remember that we must first be followers of Christ, not only proclaiming the word – but also living the word in lives of holiness. It is from our example of transformation and holiness that our efforts in the new evangelization “will show its authenticity and unleash all its missionary force.”