Évangéliser aujourd’hui, Le sens de la mission – Review

Pierre Diarra, Évangéliser aujourd’hui, Le sens de la mission, Mame 2017 – 86 pages – 10 €

We have here a very interesting little book which could help many of us to spread the missionary ideal and evangelisation. In his preface, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, presents the book as “a text written for formation and missionary animation.” Nowadays, we are called to be missionary more by “a contagious love” than by a “strategy of conquest” (p.7). In his introduction, the author explains that evangelisation could be summed up thus: “Proclaim that God is Trinity, the communication of Love” (p. 11). This aspect is developed further in Chapter 5, “The Love of God goes before the missionary.” He mentions, “This God who is Love and who is revealed in the Trinity is the centre, the origin and end of the Mission of the Church (p. 55). Jesus Christ is always present at the origin of Mission but in order to be more precise, it is the Trinity who sends us through the mouth of Jesus of Nazareth (Mt 28, 29).

If we truly love God, we can only love those whose Father he is also (p.34). Missionary dynamism is brought to fruition by the encounter which is, in many ways, a real adventure (p.63). Relations with the other, which will spring from this, will have different hues. However, as the author suggests, following the thoughts of Pope Francis, this other person will mean much more to me than anything that might bother me (p.61). The condition to any encounter will be to take the time to open ourselves to what is lived elsewhere, in the other person (P. 69).

This book is for everybody. It can be the basis not only of all catechesis but also a source for sharing between pastoral agents. My only regret is that this book retains the hallmark of the old tradition of the Pontifical Missionary Societies in that the mission is one way, from Rome to mission territories or to the young Churches. The idea of a partnership between Churches for evangelisation or a “new” evangelisation of all the Churches, young or less young, hardly appears at all.

Gilles Mathorel, M.Afr.

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