The Art of Evangelization
For many years I was a just in case Catholic. I went to Mass, on a semi regular basis, just in case there really was a hell. Just in case the Church was true.
Then I encountered Christ. It all began in a book store in Ireland. Everywhere I turned a book with a very yellow and red cover beckoned to me. It was the then new Catechism of the Catholic Church.
I bought it and read it cover to cover that evening. Never again would I be a marginal Catholic. It was, I realized, true. Every word. I would never be the same again.
A few years later, we returned to the states where we had this new fangled media called the internet. It was not available in Ireland at the time. It enabled me to study more Church documents. I became a Church teaching junkie. Still am.
But I knew that God was calling me to put my faith into action. Since I did not know what God wanted of me, I checked almost every box on the time and talent form. The only ministry that responded was the RCIA.
So I have been very involved in evangelization. Every Christian is called to spread the Gospel—to make disciples of all nations
But there is a right way and a wrong way. We should invite and not impose. In my enthusiasm and joy of finding the truth, I was ummm a bit pushy. I wanted to helicopter everyone to the top of the mountain instead of inviting them to continue on the journey.
My spiritual director at the time, a priest, admonished me, “Susan the world already has a savior and it is Not YOU.”
I learned to acquire patience. But most of all I try to remember that I have to get out of the way and let Jesus speak through me. As Mother Theresa said, “be a pencil in the hand of God”.
Monsignor Pope has some suggestions for how to evangelize:
“These days evangelization comes in many different forms. Even if you’re shy, what does it take to do things like:
- E-mail a friend a link about a great blog post or article you read?
- Send the link to the new radio station: http://grnonline.info/.
- Send Links to YouTube videos that inspire.
- There are great Catholic Websites and blogs. The New evangelization has made it easier to connect people to answers and resources. Sites like www.newadvent.org and the Catholic Answers website www.Catholic.com are rich veins information and encouragement.
- Some of you who are technically savvy can help your pastor podcast his sermons or get them out on YouTube. Maybe you can help breathe new life into an out of date webpage.
- Talk to your family members who are fallen away and ask them “where it hurts.” Find out what has kept them away and share the story of your own faith.
- Get in the habit of inviting unchurched people to join you for special events at your parish. Not everyone is ready for a pew but a Chicken dinner might at least establish some connections where evangelization can take place.
- Tell folks you’re praying for them and actually do it. Ask for prayer requests.
- And pray, pray, pray for an increase, for a new springtime in the Church. Too many souls today are drifting and the Lord needs us to obey in order to save some.
The Bottom line is that we have got to get back into the business of obeying Jesus Christ in the mandate to Evangelize. To be a disciple means to obey. Jesus was not ambiguous about his final wish: Go, Go everywhere, in every available way. Go. Make disciples of everyone by drawing them into the sacramental life of the Church and teaching them everything the Lord has commanded. Go.”