Pope Benedict XVI highlighted two key themes for the day's discussion on the New Evangelization in his address at the thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops: the passion for announcing Christ to the world and the knowledge that God acts in the Church. The theme of the Synod is "The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith."
The Holy Father explained that the question as to whether God is real is as urgent today as it was in the past. "With the Gospel, God broke His silence; He spoke to us and entered into history. Jesus is His Word, the God Who showed that He loved us, Who suffered with us even unto death, then rose again," the Pope said the assembly of bishops.
"This is the Church’s response to that great question. Yet there is another question: how to communicate this truth to the men and women of our time that they might learn of salvation? We cannot make the Church. We can only make known what He did. The Church did not begin with our actions but with the actions and word of God."
Addressing the Synod after praying with the General Assembly, the Supreme Pontiff reflected on Pentecost and how the Apostles received the Holy Spirit while gathered in prayer in the Upper Room. "The fact, then, that each Synodal assembly begins with prayer is no mere formality. Rather, it is evidence of our awareness that the initiative is always God's. We may implore it, but the Church can only cooperate with God," the Holy Father said.
Pope Benedict XVI also said that upon achieving this awareness, the second step is "confession", or rather, bearing witness even in dangerous situations. "It is precisely such witness in moments of difficulty that is a guarantee of credibility, because it implies a readiness to give our lives for that in which we believe," the Pope said.
"Yet, confession requires a visible form, a 'clothing'. This is charity, the most powerful force which must burn in the hearts of Christians."
Faith, the Holy Father concluded, "must become a flame of love within us, a flame which burns in our lives and is propagated to our neighbors. This is the essence of evangelization."