Saturday, January 21, 2012
A Challenge to Catholic Evangelism
In this post I want to challenge you to consider the call to evangelism. There are a number of steps to start off with. First think about what your talents and gifts are. Do you write well? Are you good with people, with children, elderly, or other specific groups? You will call on your talents in this endeavor because evangelism is all about relationships. I discovered that I have a talent for interacting with the disenfranchised and the downtrodden. I hope that when I have the opportunity to witness to the love of Christ and His salvation, that I will exemplify the qualities that are present in the Gospel.
The second aspect of evangelism is having a cohesive message. Some groups you might encounter can be oppositional. There are people who feel they have been hurt by the Church and therefore have a bias. They may be critical of your efforts and contradict what you say to further their goals. So if your message is coherent and steadfast this will be much more effective. You cannot reach everyone and people need, more than anything, sufficient time to absorb new ideas, repeated exposure to the message and a gentle and respectful approach. Since the Pope is so supportive of this "new" evangelism, you can readily find material from Papal and other church writings, and certainly from the Gospel itself.
The third aspect I would propose was hinted at in the paragraph above, and that is persistence. You will not succeed with a one man show using a one time heavy handed approach. Instead, enlist the help of others and give your project months and years to develop. Sow the seeds of conversion and spiritual enrichment and nurture them to grow. Be flexible and allow people in your sphere of influence to be themselves, but to feel included in the Christian way. Invite, incite, and delight. There are a lot of hungry souls who yearn for something more than our secular culture can provide. God will bless you and your efforts as He does all of us and may His love shine from you like a beacon. In your efforts do not neglect those who are already in the fold, as they need regular encouragement too and reinforcement for the work they do.