Dr. Michael Downey
BFG for a New Evangelization

Dr. Michael Downey has served as professor of theology and spirituality at universities and seminaries in North America and abroad.  His abiding concern for the wounded and marginalized has led him to serve those most in need through retreats and conferences throughout the world. Recipient of three honorary doctorates, he was awarded the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice by Pope John Paul II. His forthcoming book is entitled Silence, Sobriety, Solidarity:  Living with a Contemplative Heart (Paulist Press, 2024). 

Not long after his election to the Chair of Peter, in 1983 Pope John Paul II addressed the Latin American Bishops.  He urged them: “Look to the future with commitment to a New Evangelization, one that is new in its ardor, new in its methods, and new in its expression.”

In 1990, John Paul released Redemptoris Missio, on the permanent validity of the Church’s missionary mandate.  The release coincided with the twenty-fifth anniversary of Ad gentes, the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Church’s missionary activity.  Redemptoris Missio is devoted to the subject of “the urgency of missionary activity” and in it the pope wished “to invite the Church to renew her missionary commitment.” This encyclical is an important elaboration on the theme of the New Evangelization cited often by Pope John Paul II, as early as 1983. In many ways it continues the message of Evangelii Nuntiandi, Paul VI’s document on evangelization, and is a forerunner to Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium.

What is distinctive about the New Evangelization?  How is it different from other forms of evangelization?  The key is found in the words of John Paul II spoken forty years ago: “new in its ardor, new in its methods, new in its expression.” Built for Greatness is a contribution to the mission of the New Evangelization that is truly new in ardor, methods, and expression.

Vietnamese American Keith D. Hoang and Canadian Archbishop Emeritus Sylvain Lavoie, a Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate, have engaged in a unique collaborative venture.  Hoang introduces the reader to a day-by-day experiment based on the insights of the Tao Te Ching attributed to Lao Tzu, a legendary sage who lived around the sixth century, BC.  He then teases out resonances he recognizes between the Tao Te Ching and the Old and New Testament.  Thoroughly steeped in Sacred Scripture, Lavoie then offers brief commentaries on the resonances or parallels Hoang finds in Sacred Scripture.  All of this is aimed at providing a “fresh encounter with Jesus Christ,” another phrase often used by Pope John Paul II.

While this volume does not provide a thoroughgoing expose or explanation of the Tao Te Ching or the Old and New Testaments, it does provide 81 day-by-day snapshots from the Tao Te Ching and Sacred Scripture with commentary. This unique approach is supremely well-suited for the shrinking attention spans of so many of us as well as for the multitudes who travel though life at breakneck speed.

Stop.  Calm down. Pause.  Little by little, just one page a day.  After a quick read of one page, stop for a moment.  Stay calm.  Wait.  The gift of the Word and of the Spirit comes.  Waiting is the better part of Wisdom.  God’s coming is constant.

BFG Handbook: Two Versions of Built For God Handbook

Annotated & Explained 

Bible Verses Only 

Get your BFG Handbook today and Discover the Truth!  It’s a simple and fast read. Get your digital book available free online for your phone/PC or get your hard copy. Discover 81 Ways to Unleash Your Inner Power for Purposeful Living that will guide your path to Greatness—featuring a text of the Tao The Ching that’s infused with language from the Bible to clarify themes common to both books. Two ways you can read Built for God. “Annotated and Explained” or “Annotations to Bible Verses”