I’m reading a book that someone gave me as a gift, and I’m enjoying it so much. It’s entitled, Communicating in Ministry and Mission: An Introduction to Pastoral and Evangelizing Communication, by Franz-Josef Eilers, SVD, Ph.D. It’s published by Logos Publications in the Philippines, and it’s probably not easy to find here in North America, which is too bad. The title really says what it’s about, and it’s excellent from many perspectives. (Here’s a thorough review of the book,) and here’s a link to Logos’ other publications.
However, the reason I’m enjoying Communicating in Ministry and Mission so much is
its treatment of communication theology and spirituality, especially how Father Eilers puts them in context, and how they relate to the various Church documents, especially those on communication.
One all-too-short section starts to develop something that I’ve been praying with for years: how is Christ the Perfect Communicator, as he is called in Comunio et progressio, paragraph #11? This dense paragraph deserves further reflection. Obviously for followers of Christ, Jesus is our Model in everything, but while so much has been written about imitating Christ in virtue, in family life, in suffering, etc., not so much has been written about imitating the way Christ communicates.
That’s why I was happy to find a section on that in Eilers’ book. Eilers offers some sources that we can use to “unpack” this idea of Christ as the perfect communicator. Some of them I am very familiar with, such as Cardinal Martini’s pastoral letters about media. One was quite unexpected:
Eilers highlights Pope John Paul II’s Holy Thursday Letter to Priests from 2002, especially a particular section where Pope John Paul II meditates on Jesus’ interaction with Zacchaeus, from a pastoral perspective. Although I’m sure the whole letter is excellent, the passage I’m talking about starts at paragraph #4. And while Pope John Paul II is specifically talking to priests in the context of being ministers of mercy, it’s a profound reflection on how Jesus chose to communicate and engage with Zacchaeus.
This will be the topic for reflection during my prayer for the next few days. When you reflect on the phrase, Christ the Perfect Communicator, what does it mean to you?