Well, last night here at Mundelein Seminary, I gave my first rector’s address, which is the opening of the year address and I laid out what I said are the “Seven Great Qualities of a New Evangelist,” because I’ve put the seminary here on that new footing, that we’re here to produce the “New Evangelists” that John Paul and Pope Benedict want. So I want to give now a quick version of that talk. Here are the seven things I laid out. First of all, I said a new evangelist has got to be in love with Jesus Christ. Evangelization is more than sharing ideas. If that’s all it is, any theologian or anyone trained in the history of ideas could do it. Evangelization is sharing a relationship. It’s offering people friendship with Jesus Christ. As the Romans said, “nemo dat quod non habet.” No one gives what he does not have. So if you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, you can’t offer it. Therefore, the first step is that intimate friendship with the Lord, which is cultivated, I told the seminarians, by prayer, prayer, prayer. That’s why prayer is so essential, especially the Eucharist. So, there’s the first quality. The second one — A New Evangelist has got to be filled with ardor. John Paul II said the New Evangelization is new in ardor, first of all, fire. Aristotle said that people finally only listen to an excited speaker. That’s in his great “Rhetoric.” If you want to engage in persuasive speech, you’ve got to be on fire. So I told the seminarians that if you watch someone on TV advertising some goofy weight loss project and they have all kinds of ardor for it… well you have to at least match that in our ardor for Jesus Christ. Furthermore, I told them that they key to it is the Resurrection. The key to ardor is a keen sense of the Resurrection. When you have that, you want to do what the first Evangelists did, which was to grab the whole world by the lapels and tell them about it. So, secondly, it’s new ardor. The third quality of a New Evangelist: They’ve got to know the story of Israel. Now it might sound a little bit rarified but, really, it’s not. The first Evangelists — think of Paul, Peter, John, and the rest of them — declared Jesus as the fulfillment of Israel. The Good News was, the Euangelion, that Yahweh has finally come to rule, to reign. Another way to put that: divinity and humanity have come definitively together. See the trouble is, in the story of Israel, God’s creation is interrupted by sin. So God produces a rescue operation in the form of a people, who are shaped according to his mind and heart. That’s the story of Israel. But, they never reach perfect union with God until Jesus Christ, where faithful Yahweh meets faithful Israel perfectly. With that, we find, salvation. That’s what the first Evangelists announced. St. Paul said that Christ is the “yes” to all of God’s promises. Well that means you have to know what the promises are… you have to know about temple, about covenant, about prophecy, about law because Jesus fulfills all of that, completes all of that. So the New Evangelist has got to know the story of Israel. Fourth thing: The New Evangelist has to know the culture. Karl Barth, a long time ago, said the homilist should have the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other hand. Still good advice for any preacher, any evangelist. The Bible, yes, but then the newspaper to know the culture. What’s the culture we’re facing now? John Paul said we have to be new in expression because we’re facing a secularist culture that says we can be utterly satisfied by the goods of the world that negates the transcendent reference. A culture that is complacent in its finitude. That’s the culture we’re addressing. You have to know it inside and out, I told the seminarians. You have to know how our great tradition trumps it, answers it, defeats it. Our idea is that the glory of God is a human being fully alive. The burning bush, as God gets close to the world he sets it on fire without consuming it. All of that. We have to know the culture. Fifthly, the New Evangelist has to love the great tradition. We Catholics don’t subscribe to Luther’s “sola scriptura” adage. We don’t say it’s by scripture alone. We say scripture, yes, but the revelation of scripture unfolds across space and time, the way a seed unfolds into a plant, the way a river deepends and broadens over time. So we look at Chrysostum and Jerome and Origen and Augustine and Bernard and Thomas Aquinas and Anselm and Bonaventure and John of the Cross and Ignatius and John Henry Newman and Teresa of Avila and Thérèse of Lisieux and John Paul II, we look at this grand interpretive tradition of theology. More to it, I told them, we look at the arts– great Catholic art from Dante’s “Divine Comedy” and the “Canterbury Tales” to the Sistine Chapel ceiling to Palestrina’s motets to the sermons of John Henry Newman. Even to the stories of Flannery O’Connor and the films of Martin Scorsese, you see a Catholic sensibility that provides a prism through which Christ is more fully seen. So, the evangelist loves the great tradition, reverences it. Sixth: The New Evangelist, I said, has to have a missionary heart. The fact that 75% of our fellow Catholics don’t go to mass on Sunday is a tragedy and we shouldn’t pussyfoot around that. The great liturgical reformer, go back to Reynold Hillenbrand, Virgil Michel, and Romano Guardini. Go back to the Vatican II documents themselves. What they wanted was a revival of the liturgy. They wanted more people actively involved in the Mass. That three quarters of Catholics stay away from the Mass is a tragedy. The number two religion in the country, if you counted it as a denomination, would be ex-Catholics. Many of the Protestant megachurches are filled to the gills with former Catholics. I would suggest, and I told the students this last night, that’s a tragedy. If you don’t feel that’s a tragedy, you’re not ready to be a New Evangelist because a New Evangelist has a hunger and passion for souls, to save souls. Now, yes, in the ultimate sense of heaven and hell but even in the proximate sense to save a soul that’s become divorced from God. That’s a soul that is necessarily in anguish because we’re all destined for union with God. So the New Evangelist has a passion for souls. Lastly, I said, the seventh quality is that a New Evangelist knows and loves the new media as I’m using the new media right now. I learned to type on manual typewriter, that’s how old I am. Fulton Sheen, the greatest media evangelist of the last century would give his right arm for what we have now. That we can put something on YouTube and it’s 24-7, all over the world. That now a Catholic blogger or someone using videos on YouTube has a far greater range than the leading Catholic journals by which, when I was a young man, you tried to reach the wider culture. Now my YouTube ministry has far greater range than any of the journals that reach out to the wider world. What I told the students was, I had to learn all this secondhand, I said you’ve got it in your blood and in your fingers, you grew up with the new technology, so use it…learn it. Get onto the cutting edge of where the new media has taken us. Lastly, I told them, “This is your time.” The Church has gone through the worst crisis in its history in America: the sex abuse scandal. What’s God doing during times of scandal? God is always in the business of raising up people who will bring the Church back. Go back to the story of Eli and his priest sons who were corrupt. Eli did nothing to stop it. The result was disaster for Israel. That’s our story. Some priests were corrupt. Some of their supervisors did nothing to stop them. We were delivered into the hands of our enemies. What did God doing during that ancient time? He raised up Hannah, who longed for a child. When she had that child, she named him “Samuel” and gave him to the temple. Samuel becomes the vehicle by which Israel is brought to a whole new level of redemption. So I said, there are a lot of Hannah’s I think around the last generation or so and they’ve given rise to lots of Samuels. I pointed to the students and said, “There you are, sons that your mothers have given to the Church.” That they might play a role in the revival of Catholicism. That’s the call of this time. A great call, because it’s hard. A privileged call, because it’s difficult. That’s the call of our time. I think it’s a great time to be a seminarian, a great time to be a New Evangelist.