is first and foremost the Lord’s work, surpassing
anything which we can see and understand. Jesus
is “the first and greatest evangelizer”.
In every
activity of evangelization, the primacy always
belongs to God, who has called us to cooperate
with him and who leads us on by by the power
of his Spirit. The real newness is the newness
which God himself mysteriously brings about
and inspires, provokes, guides and accompa-
nies in a thousand ways. The life of the Church
should always reveal clearly that God takes the
initiative, that “he has loved us first” (
1 Jn
and that he alone “gives the growth” (
1 Cor
This conviction enables us to maintain a spirit of
joy in the midst of a task so demanding and chal-
lenging that it engages our entire life. God asks
everything of us, yet at the same time he offers
everything to us.
13. Nor should we see the newness of this mis-
sion as entailing a kind of displacement or for-
getfulness of the living history which surrounds
us and carries us forward. Memory is a dimen-
sion of our faith which we might call “deutero-
nomic”, not unlike the memory of Israel itself.
Jesus leaves us the Eucharist as the Church’s dai-
ly remembrance of, and deeper sharing in, the
event of his Passover (cf.
22:19). The joy of
evangelizing always arises from grateful remem-
brance: it is a grace which we constantly need to
VI, Apostolic Exhortation
Evangelii Nuntiandi
December 1975), 7: AAS 68 (1976), 9.
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