THEOLOGICAL DISCOURSE ON VINCENTIAN CHARISM AND CULTURE IN THE WORLD OF TODAY

By Paul Bharati, CM
[Paper presented in Mysore, February 2006]

Introduction

When I was given this topic, I was wondering if I could make any connection between Vincentian charism and culture. After delving into the subject, I felt as if I found a hidden treasure. Culture and charism are well connected and interlinked. They don’t stand as poles apart, but stand to each other and are connected through the line of human life. The human life is the connecting link between these two subjects. In this paper, I make an attempt to understand term, “charism”. As we all know, it is widely used among the religious to refer to the identity of their congregation. Most of the congregations are identified with their charism. The charism becomes foundation and basis for the religious congregation. I discuss the term “charism” from a theological point of view. From a theological perspective, I found that it has two dimensions, one is as gift and another one is as mission. I base my argument both on biblical and dogmatic evidences.

In the second part, I discuss on the Vincentian charism, “Evangelization of the poor”. I deal with both historical and theological part of our charism. In the historical part, I highlight on the historical background in which St. Vincent received the charism. And in the theological part, I focus on the theological meaning of “evangelization of the poor”. Basing on the documents, evangelii nuntiandi, I try to interpret the evangelization of the poor, as a call for transformation and liberation.

In the third part, I throw some light on the culture and try to connect between culture and charism. The meaning of culture is discussed not in detail, but in a nutshell. Culture is the hub of human life. It is an axis on which human life is rotated. Without culture, it is hard to define human life. We cannot separate culture from human life. It is part of human existence. Taking these points into consideration, how important culture is for evangelization. Culture becomes a means to evangelize the poor. In order to evangelize the poor, we need to know the culture of the poor. It is not enough that we are aware of the culture of the poor, but we should experience their culture. The new theological concept of Inculturation helps us to connect between the culture and charism. Inculturation is an outcome of the reflection between the culture and evangelization. Inculturation invites us first to experience the culture of the people and to evangelize them with their own cultural expression. In this paper, I make an attempt to understand the concept, “inculturation” in terms of experiencing the culture of the people and to use it as a means to evangelize the poor. In this way, the culture and our charism are well connected and both play an important role in human life.

Theological Meaning – Charism

Charism as Gift. When we discuss on the theological meaning of Charism, we have to refer to Paul the Apostle, who used this term, “ Charism.” He is the one who introduced the word “charism” into the religious sphere. Paul used the term charism (cavrisma) fourteen times out of seventeen times used in the whole NT. We are deeply indebted to Paul the Apostle for introducing the term charism to us. Paul used the greek term Charismata (carivsmata) was often translated into Latin as “gift” or “present”[1]. The meaning of gift implies that it is from somebody given freely and the one who receives it, has to respond to that gift and to the giver. In other words, one who receives the gift cannot remain passive but actively respond to it. In the religious life, the charism has to be understood in the context of call. The charism is given as a gift to the called for a particular task. It is a call within the call. Obviously this gift is from God and it is given to particular people and those people are specially chosen by God among the called. It is a special gift given to some individuals. It is a gift to those who are open and well disposed to God. This gift is poured into the hearts and minds of those who are open to the transcendent. This openness to God takes place only when a person is transformed or changed. Ultimately this transformation enables a person to open to God and to receive this free gift or present, i.e. the gift of charism in one’s life. we can understand this process in the lives of the holy founders such as St. Vincent de Paul, St. John Bosco, St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Assisi, who had the experience of transformation which enabled them to be open to God and receive this special gift of charism. In short, we could say that the charism of religious life is a pure gift of God for the good of the Church (Rom. 12:4-6).

When we say that it is a gift of God for the good of the church, it directs us to another dimension of charism. When we are trying to understand this charism in the context of a religious call, obviously it has reference to Christ and the Church. This charism emanates from God as a gift to some individuals, to carry out the mission of Jesus in different ways which will enable the church to grow, as the church is the instrument of carrying out the mission of Jesus. A religious-life charism can generally be described as window on the gospel, a framed vision of people following Jesus that attracts others to do so in a similar way.[2] Charism is nothing but following Jesus in a concrete manner of having the vision and mission of Jesus. In other words, it is to participate in the mission and vision of Jesus. Charism is to be understood as a gift of God in the context of Jesus’ mission. If the charism and Jesus’ mission is interlinked, surely the Holy spirit has a role to play. According to Paul, there are varieties of charism in the Church, but all from the same spirit (1 Cor. 12:4). He acknowledges that there are different charisms given according to one’s capacity but all from the same spirit for the sake of the church. It is true that each founder/foundresses had different charism befitting to each one’s situation and the need of the time. One thing is clear that all of them were inspired by the same spirit and received charism from God in order to carry out the mission of Jesus to which the church is instrumental. As the document Mutuae Relationes 11, rightly says, Charism was presented as the experience of the Spirit by founders and foundresses which was then transmitted to their followers for continued development in harmony with their role in the church. Pope Paul VI, reiterates the same point in his document Evangelica Testificatio 11, “In reality, the charism of religious life, far from being an impulse born of flesh and blood or one derived from a mentality which conforms itself to the modern world, is the fruit of the Holy spirit, who is always at work within the Church”. Finally, as a conclusion, we can say charism is a gift given by God through his spirit to carry out a mission in a particular way and this mission is not for the sake of an individual but for the sake of the church, because the mission basically belongs to the Church and every person who receives this gift integrates himself into the church and becomes part of the Church’s mission.

 

Charism as mission. Charism and mission of a religious congregation are inseparable. The charism of the founder and the congregation finds its expression in its mission. They are very much interlinked and they only give an identity to the congregation. By having a charism the founders of the congregations demonstrated that they were living very much in touch with the reality. Charism is a realization of an action demanded from God in a particular situation. In other words, charism is born in response to a particular situation and it is basically for a mission in a given situation. Founders and foundresses are people of their own time, place, and culture, and they have a keen awareness of their environment and situation.[3] The Charism which the founders received was a mission for a particular situation. They discover their vocation precisely in the context of their environment and their situation. The situation led them to reflect on their own vocation, as a result of that they received a particular charism to follow Jesus in a concrete way. Charism enables the founder to move from reflection to action. It is a decision to act upon a situation. Through a charism the religious congregation becomes action-oriented and becomes dynamic. It enables a congregation becomes active and orients it towards a goal or purpose. The purpose is to follow Jesus more closely. Any congregation which does not have a charism or an orientation towards a mission, dies out and looses its relevance. The charism remains the same but the mission changes according to the situation and environment. For example the charism of our congregation is “Evangelization of the Poor,” basing on this charism, we take up a mission. Basically the charism remains, but our mission changes according to the time and need. The charism gives a momentum for an action to a congregation. It is a moment of action; of doing the thing that they are called to do, gathering people together in a spirit of mission.[4] The charism accelerates and impulses the founder and his followers for a mission. The charism enables the group to search out what it must be and do what it must commit itself in the power of the spirit, animated by precisely those attitudes and values which constitute the “content” of the charism, meaning that particular Gospel orientation or accent which characterizes every charism.[5] It gives meaning to the very existence of a religious congregation by orienting it to a mission and this mission is based on the Gospel values and principles from which the charism is derived.

Every charism is characterized with mission. Charism will not survive unless it has a mission or a goal. Even the religious who have contemplative life has a mission. Their mission is to pray incessantly for this whole world and transform this world. In other words, their mission is to transform the humanity through their contemplative prayer. Ultimately charism is not just to remain in a document or in a constitution but to be lived out. The charism translates into pastoral life and action on behalf of God’s people and not just into words and documents.[6] It brings fruitfulness and meaningfulness to a religious. The mission of a religious is more of living out the charism. It is to live out both individually and commonly. Individually each one realizes and internalizes the charism and in common he/she carries out the mission. Charism coupled with mission helps the congregation to grow. The growth of a religious congregation can be visible only in its mission and projects. Finally, we can say that charism and mission are well interlinked. Charism helps the congregation to discover its mission. Charism without mission is some thing like a man who goes without direction and aim. And mission without charism is something like a man who builds a house without a plan. Charism should be understood in terms of mission and charism which is at idealistic level is concretized only through mission. Hence charism should be understood as mission.

 

Vincentian Charism – Evangelization of the Poor

 

St. Vincent and the Charism. St. Vincent who is known as the father of the poor has based his spirituality on the charism of “Evangelization of the poor.” We, the members of the congregation which St. Vincent founded are, by constitution, oriented towards ministering the poor. It is this ministry that, at least in contemporary thinking, orients our spirituality. We all are to follow Christ, the evangelizer of the poor and we are to live simply, like the poor and to consider the poor as lords and masters.[7] It is undeniable fact that the charism of our congregation, “Evangelization of the poor” was some thing close to the heart of St. Vincent. The question is how did St. Vincent get this charism? Why did he have this particular charism? St. Vincent, after his conversion, moved with the situation of the poor and country folks, and basing on his incarnation spirituality which is the Christ-centered, sought the divine will for his ministry. In his life, two things are center for him, one is Christ and another one is seeking God’s will in a given situation.

First of all, it is a process through which St. Vincent received the charism. In the first stage of the process, St. Vincent comes into touch with the reality. It is to have a firsthand knowledge about the situation of the people. In other words, by being open to reality and being aware of the situation of the people, one acquires an experiential knowledge about the people. While St. Vincent was in Clichy, he found that the poor people were spiritually left uncared. But he was touched by the people who were docile, alive in faith, and eager for God’s word. When he was at Gondi household, learned firsthand the religious plight of the estate workers.[8] The pitiable situation of these people made him to reflect on his call and on God’s love for the poor and neglected. He understood the plight and situation of the people from two perspectives. One is from the perspective of his own call and another one is from the love of God. In other words, it is the blend of both his call and his experience of God. When he looked from the view point of God’s love for the poor, he came to awareness that God was truly alive in a country village and among the forgotten people of a vast country estate.[9] He understood that God’s limitless love could permeate into the lives of those poor people, provided there were human agents to spread God’s love to them. He understood that due to lack of interest from the part of priests, the poor people were not taken care of.

When he looked that situation in the context of his call, the first thing that took place in him was conversion. When he saw the poor people who were eager for God’s word and love, it was a significant moment of conversion for him. He realized that his ambition for a “good benefice,” for a life comfort, had been a block to his happiness and his ministry. He came to know that he could be happy laboring for poor and simple people.[10] He also realized that God was speaking to him through tragic human situations; the miserable lot of the country poor, the abysmal education of the clergy, the abandoning of infants on the streets of Paris, the ravaging wars in the provinces.[11] Having placed his own call in the context of God’s love and in the situation of the people, Vincent found the purpose of his call. Once he came to the realization of the meaning and purpose of his call, his inclination towards Christ grew more and more which enabled him to be rooted in Christ. Together with his call to follow Christ in a situation where the poor people were abandoned and neglected, and moved with the love of God, he sought the divine will for himself. The divine will was to concretize his call in terms of action and mission. Seeking divine will in his life played a key role in his spiritual life. Vincent listened for God’s will mediated through events and persons responded to what he heard. He followed providence step by step in his life, never trampling on its heels.[12] By listening to the will of God in a given situation against the backdrop of his call to follow Christ, he received his mission and vision to follow Christ as the Evangelizer of the poor. Hence the charism, “Evangelization of the poor”, was the result of his reflection on both his call and the seeking the will of God. When we talk about his call, it is to be understood in terms of following Christ more closely. His question was in which way he could follow Jesus. Taking the different aspects of the humanity of Jesus- Christ the teacher, Christ the preacher, Christ the healer and Christ the evangelizer[13], Vincent takes one of these aspects- Christ the evangelizer, which was fitting to the situation of his time. St. Vincent wanted that not only he, but also his congregation members base their spirituality on the humanity of Jesus the missionary of the Father, the Evangelizer of the poor- in his union with his Father, in his personal integrity, in his zeal for the mission that he received, in his love deep human love especially for the most abandoned.[14] Finally, we could conclude it saying that charism -Evangelization of the poor, St. Vincent received from God as a gift to serve the suffering and the most abandoned after the model of Jesus.

 

Evangelization of the PoorTheological Meaning

From the writings of Paul VI and John Paul II, it is evident that evangelization has many facets, all of which play a significant role in the overall picture.[15] We may have to focus on two important facets which will be appropriate for our charism-evangelization of the poor and for the Asian context. The object of our evangelization is the poor. According to the document Evangelii Nuntiandi, Evangelization means the renewal of humanity. It says, evangelizing means bringing the good news into the all strata of humanity and transforming humanity from within and making it new:[16] “Now I am making the whole of creation new” (Rev. 21:5; cf. 2 Cor.5:17; Gal 6:15). In the evangelization of the poor, the first and most important thing is to renew and transform this world. We, the Vincentians, who have taken this charism, have to strive for the renewal of the world. Today’s world and the society need transformation, because the gap between the rich and the poor are becoming widened more and more. The richness and prosperity of the rich and the poverty and misery of the poor stand in contrast with each other in today’s society. Globalization and liberalization contribute to the creation of such a society. In order to bring equality and justice in the world, people need transformation, a transformation of heart. It is a transformation from selfishness to unselfishness, a transformation from an unconcerned attitude to a concerned attitude, a transformation from a having-more attitude to a being-more attitude, ultimately it is a transformation to bridge a gap between the rich and the poor. Our evangelization should aim at the interior change of a person, as Evangeli Nuntiandi, says, The purpose of evangelization is therefore precisely this interior change.[17] By changing persons interiorly, we can renew this world and can create a world of true brotherhood and sisterhood where every one lives in equality, in justice and in fellowship. The vast difference between the rich and the poor creates disharmony, division and hatred in the society and in the world at large. Our charism -Evangelization of the poor, should aim at creating an atmosphere where the poor will live in dignity and in honor and will create a more just society.

The second important aspect of the evangelization of the poor is to aim for the liberation of the poor and oppressed. Evangeli Nuntiandi clearly states that the church has the duty to proclaim the liberation of millions of human beings many of whom are her own children the duty of assisting the birth of this liberation, of giving witness to it, of ensuring that it is complete. This is not foreign to evangelization.[18] Evangelization involves liberation of human person. Enslavement of any human person runs contradiction to the very purpose of God’s creation. In today’s society and world, oppression is taking place in a subtle way. Oppression and enslavement in different forms, is enforced upon human persons. The unjust structure in the society is the cause for oppression. Evangelization should aim at a structural change and work towards building a just society. Every human person is in need of liberation. It may be from within and without. There may be some internal forces which enslave a person which leads one to sin and there may be also some external forces which oppress a human person. Evangelization should take care of both the aspects and strive for the integral liberation of a human person.

Evangelization of the poor demands the members of our congregation to make a preferential option for the poor as Jesus did in his lifetime. There are different ways we can express our option for the poor. The following ways may be more concrete and meaningful:

1. It is to be aware of the plight of the poor and oppressed

2. To view and interpret the word of God from the view point of the poor and oppressed

3. Option for the poor is not just feeling sorry for the poor or distress on their account. It is much more. It is to move from the feeling level to the active level. It is a love that activates and liberates.[19]

4. It is do justice and fight for justice. Option for the poor links between evangelization and action for justice.

5. Option for the poor leads one not to consider the poor as the object of evangelization but its subject.[20]

All these steps will help us to move towards the right direction of evangelizing the poor in an Asian context.

 

The Meaning of Culture

 

Etymologically, the term “culture” derives from the Latin term for tilling or cultivating the land. Cicero and other Latin authors used it for the cultivation of the soul or mind (cultura animi), for just as even good land when left without cultivation will produce only disordered vegetation of little value, so the human spirit will not achieve its proper results unless trained. This sense corresponds mostly close to the Greek term for education (Paideia) as the development of character, taste and judgment, and to the German term “formation” (Bildung).[21] Etymologically what we understood by culture is that it is which helps to form a human person, it is that which builds a human person. In other words, what a human person is and what he/she does emerge from a culture. The culture orients a human person towards certain values, beliefs, customs and traditions.

First, and perhaps most basically, culture is understood as a human universal. All and only human beings have culture. Culture is the defining mark of human life.[22] Every human person lives in a culture. All human beings are inherently cultural. We all live in and through particular social groups and their histories practices, symbols, locales, ideas, and ways of life.[23] We are, in short, culturally constituted as persons- the very medium for our personhood is culture. Culture is a vehicle through which every human person expresses himself. All people have culture but they do not have the same one. Culture varies with social group. Since it varies from one social group to another, each social group is distinguished from the other through culture. A culture is the specific pattern of behaviors which distinguishes any society from all others.[24] Within the group each one may differ from another, but these differences are not considered as differences of culture. In a society there are some commonalities or some common behavior, common beliefs, and common value system which are termed as culture and it is the one which binds every one together as one group. A culture is considered as a way of life for a particular group. Culture is essentially a construct that describes the total body of beliefs, behaviors, knowledge, sanctions, values and goals that mark the way of life.[25] It responds to the need of people for full humanity, because culture is “what belongs to the people, it is the people, not some thing that is bestowed upon them like politics, loans, dams and war.[26] Culture facilitates social harmony, gives meaning, identity and a sense of pride to individuals. Culture, which embeds positive human aspirations, must be valued as the soul of society.

Cultures are conventions in the sense that they are human constructions. Everything created by man, in the process of living, comes within the concept of culture[27]. Culture is not innate, but acquired. People create cultures through their participation and bonding to a particular social space[28]. Since it is human made, it has time, space and limit. Culture could change according to the time and place. Value system and belief system can change according to the time. The change can be for better or for worse. As far as culture is concerned, three things are to be remembered. First and formally, we might say that all human beings share the trait of being cultural. Although the content of culture, and thus personality, will differ, we can meaningfully discuss a similar process that we all go through as socialized persons. Second, it seems that nobody is finally reduced to his or her cultural constitution. We are all more than cultural products, at least potentially. We have, then, a free or transcendent element that is never fully or adequately expressed by cultural tools. Thirdly, a small list of rather general but very basic goods seem to be shared across cultures, such as need for a property system, family organization, a distinction between killing and murder, fellowship of some sort, decision-making authority, etc. [29]

Culture is the living experience of a particular society. It attends to fundamental human needs like identity, dignity and self-expression. It penetrates into every area of life-family, society, and nation- and occupies a central place in every sphere of action, socio-cultural, economic, political and religious.[30] Finally, we could conclude saying that culture is a way of life which encompasses every sphere of human life-social, political and religious. Through culture human person expresses what he holds, his values, symbols, meanings, dreams and aspirations. Culture is responsible for what a human person is, for what he/she or thinks and for what he/she does.

 

Culture and Charism in Dialogue

As we understood from the preceding paragraphs, culture gives a human person a social identity that he/she belongs to a particular group and charism or evangelization gives him/her a transcendental identity, an identity which takes a human person to divine realm. Both makes a human person complete and total. Culture and charism should work together for a human development. Both should seek each other’s help to transform and transcend humanity. Before we evangelize people, we need to understand people and the culture becomes a tool for that. In the first step, culture and charism should come together for an understanding that they operate from different spheres of human life and accept each other’s independence. As Evangeli Nuntiandi says,

The gospel, and therefore evangelization are certainly not identical with culture and they are independent in regard to all cultures. Nevertheless, the Kingdom which the Gospel proclaims is lived by people who are profoundly linked to a culture, and the building of the Kingdom cannot avoid borrowing the elements of human culture. Though independent of cultures, the Gospel and evangelization are not necessarily incompatible with them; rather they are capable of permeating them all without becoming subject to any one of them.[31]

The understanding between culture and charism[32] leads both of them to maintain their independence and also not to subject to each other. One thing that the charism should understand is that evangelization is for people and to make it effective we need to understand the culture which is linked to people’s life. If the evangelization is going to be meaningful for people, charism should be inserted meaningfully into the culture to which it is addressed. By inserting charism into a culture, charism finds its partner to promote and to develop human life. Both relate to each other as both of them are related to human life. They give meaning to human life. This meaning is attained through culture and religion. That is why both charism which has religious dimension and culture, should have dialectic relationship in order to give meaning to human life.

Sometimes they both can challenge each other. Charism (gospel message) can challenge the culture which expresses a values system, a belief system and a tradition of people. It may find them incompatible and contrary to the Gospel. For example the caste system in India can be challenged. The caste system is completely opposed to the gospel. It can be the other way too. Sometimes an evangelizer or a missionary who is supposed to preach the charism of his/her congregation, may come with another culture and may impose it on the people. For example, when the Europeans came to India to Evangelize, in the name of evangelization they introduced a foreign culture to Indians. In the dialogical method both challenge each other and be transformed from their biased ideas and remain as partners to promote and to develop humanity to its fullness. The Evangelizer who comes from a different cultural background should accept and appreciate the culture of people and consider as God’s creative plan and as God’s gift for humanity. Once we understand in this way, culture is open to other elements to permeate in it. Thus, the charism-evangelization, can be inserted into the culture in which people live and evangelization can take a firm root in the lives of the people.

From Dialogue to Inculturation

In recent times, there is much discussion on inculturation. It is an outcome of a theological reflection on the relation between evangelization and culture. In the process of thinking on this topic, there is a theological shift from “enculturation” to “inculturation”. Enculturation implies a learning process by which an individual may become part of the culture. [33] Inculturation is not the insertion of an individual into a culture but rather process by which Christian faith and life become alloyed with the culture of a people.[34] Taking into consideration the above-mentioned definition of inculturation, we need to reflect on our charism, “evangelization of the poor”. How it could be effectively carried out in a particular culture? From the title, what I am suggesting is that we need to move from mere dialogue to inculturation. Dialogue enables the charism only to be inserted into a culture. It is something like an enculturation. In the inculturation, through our charism -the evangelization of the poor, we become bonded with the culture of the poor people. By becoming bonded with the culture, our charism is intrinsically connected with the culture of the people. In every society there are poor people and they have their own culture. Since they form another group within their own society, it is a subculture. The rich and poor, privileged and subalterns, urban and rural, men and women, young and old- all have their own subcultures.[35] The poor have their own culture. Their way of life, thinking pattern, value system, meaning and dreams are different from the rich and elite. Hence, we need to acknowledge the subculture of the poor.

Through our charism, how can we become bonded with the culture of the poor. In one of the prevalent models of inculturation, the cultures of people have been considered as a means through which Christianity, the faith, the church, etc., can be made indigenous and local.[36] According to this method, we have to use culture as a means to carry out our charism. Through this method, we use culture as an instrument to carry forward the message of the evangelization of the poor. The culture is used as a means to propagate our charism. To this instrumentalization of culture corresponds another widespread model which distinguishes between the core or substance and the external expressions, accidental or peripheral elements.[37] In this method, the culture becomes an external expression and the gospel message or the charism becomes the essence. The culture is confined to the exterior forms which envelop, as husk, the essence of faith[38] or the gospel message or the charism. According to Felix Wilfred, these methods are inadequate. In these models, the theological precede the anthropological. As long as this method is operative, there will not be any meaningful inculturation.[39] According to Felix Wilfred, there is true inculturation only when the anthropological (cultural forms and expressions, patterns of thought and social relationship….) precedes the theological (faith, mystery of the Church, grace, evangelization and gospel message), and not the other way round. [40] The cultural-bound experience takes precedence over the faith-bound experience. In the process of evangelizing the poor, first and foremost, we need to have a cultural-bound experience with the poor. We, the Vincentians before start evangelizing the poor, should experience the culture of the poor by being with them and by living with them. By doing this, we learn to communicate to the poor through their own way of life. I know a few nuns who are working in an interior place in one of the dioceses of India. They follow a similar method in their evangelization. They go and stay with the poor. They eat what the poor eat and sleep in the small huts of the poor, sharing their lot. In their evangelization work, first, they experience the culture of the poor by being with them. Secondly, the evangelization follows. The cultural experience of the poor enables them to communicate the gospel message to the poor. In other words, their own presence with the poor communicates the gospel message to them. Through the cultural experience of the poor, we can discover God in the poor and the same God is presented to them. The cultural experience of the poor and the gospel message or evangelization are intrinsically connected. In this method, we do use culture as a means to evangelize, but we don’t use culture to evangelize the poor by standing as an outsider, but as an insider by genuinely sharing the cultural life of the poor. Being an insider in the sense of, to think the way the poor think and to live the way the poor live. In this method we don’t use the poor as an object of our evangelization, but as subject. It is not we are giving them God-experience, but we discover God in their way life. In their customs, traditions, values and meanings, we discover God and disclose to them. The charism, “the evangelization of the poor,” is not presented as some thing a force from outside, but from within. The poor themselves become evangelizers. As a conclusion, we can say that an anthropological experience helps us to give a theological experience to the poor. The culture and religion are intrinsically connected. The cultural experience of the poor enables us to carry out our charism, by having such experience we become alloyed with the culture of the poor and we will be able to give them a God-experience.

 

Conclusion

As a conclusion, we could say that culture and charism, together work towards an integral development of human person. By bringing them together, the church recognized the culture and its important role in the work of evangelization. It is also an acceptance of human elements which is an integral part of faith. After this study on culture, we can’t but consider it as a gift of God for the humanity to live as social, political and cultural being. Culture is not to be destroyed but challenged and nurtured for the growth of humanity. It helps a human person to grow as a social being. Charism -evangelization, takes recourse to the culture. It understands that by making culture as its partner, it can permeate into the life of people. Evangelization becomes meaningful to people, only when communicate to them through their way of life, through their way of thinking and through their own signs and symbols. Hence, we, who have taken the charism-evangelization of the poor, should first, have an experience in the cultural life of the poor. That will enable them to preach the good news to the poor effectively and efficaciously.

 


[1] E. Nardoni, “ The Concept of Charism in Paul,” CBQ 55, Jan.1993, 68-80.

[2] E. McDonough, “ Charisms and Religious life,” Review for Religious, vol.52, 1993, 646-659.

[3] F. D.Sheeran, ‘Charism as Empowerment to Discern, to Decide, to Act, to Assess,” Review for Religious,

Vol. 48 1988, 161-170.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Constitution and Statutes of the Congregation of the Mission, 1984, article 1.

[8] G. H. Luttenberger, CM., “Vincent de Paul’s Charism in Today’s Church,” Review for Religious, Vol.52,

1993, 660-680.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] R. Maloney, CM., Go! On the Missionary Spirituality of St. Vincent de Paul, Editorial CEME,

Salamanca, 2000, 165.

[12] cited by R. Maloney in Go! On the Missionary Spirituality of St. Vincent de Paul, 160 (originally from

St. Vincent’s works, vol. I, edt. by Pierre Coste, Paris).

[13] R. Maloney, CM., Go! On the Missionary Spirituality of St. Vincent de Paul, Ibid, 174.

[14] Ibid, 174.

[15] R. Maloney, CM, He Hears the Cry of the Poor- On the Spirituality of Vincent de Paul, New City Press, New York, 1995, 111.

[16] Evangelii Nuntiandi, 18.

[17] Evangelii Nuntiandi, 18.

[18] Evangelii Nuntiandi, 30.

[19] P. Bharathi, CM, The Exodus Experience: An Indian Interpretation, (Class notes, Jnana-Deepa

Vidyapeeth, Pune, 2005).

[20] R. Maloney, CM, He Hears the Cry of the Poor- On the Spirituality of Vincent de Paul, ibid, 111.

[21] G.F.McLean, “Culture and Religion,” in Culture, Evangelization and Dialogue, edt. by, Antonio Gallo,

The Council For Research in Values and Philosophy, Washington, 2003, 9-39.

[22] K. Tanner, Theories of Culture, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1997, 25.

[23] D. Cowdin, “ Limits on the Evangelization of Culture,” in Culture, Evangelization and Dialogue, edt. by,

Antonio Gallo, The Council For Research in Values and Philosophy, Washington, 2003, 9-39.

[24] K. Tanner, Theories of Culture, 26.

[25] Ibid, 27.

[26] E. Monteiro, Church and Culture: Communion in Pluralism, ISPCK, Delhi, 2004, 44.

[27] K. Tanner, Theories of Culture, 26.

[28] E. Monteiro, ibid, 49.

[29] D. Cowdin, “ Limits on the Evangelization of Culture,” ibid.

[30] E. Monteiro, ibid, 49.

[31] Evangelii Nuntiandi, 20.

[32] Charism could be understood as gospel message. Gospel and charism-evangelization of the poor are identical. Charism of our congregation is an integral part of the gospel message. Whenever, I mention in this paragraph, “charism” refers to the evangelization of the poor which is a gospel message.

[33] E. Monteiro, ibid., 49.

[34] Ibid., 51.

[35] E. Monteiro, ibid, 49.

[36] Felix Wilfred, “World Religions and Christian Inculturation”, in Indian Theological Studies, vol.25. No.1

1998, 5-26.

[37] Felix Wilfred, “Inculturation as a Hermeneutical Question-Reflections in the Asian Context”,

Vol.52,No.9 Sep. 1988, 422-436.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Ibid.

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