"A clean heart create for him, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit." Psalm 51:12
Renewal of Faith
"All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age". Matthew 28:18-20
Evangelization is something we should be doing all the time, both for ourselves and for others. For ourselves, in working to deepen our own relationship with Jesus and working hard to live our faith as good disciples. To others we are called to show them the light of Christ by the way we live our lives. We show we truly believe in our faith by living as our faith calls us to. However,
"If evangelization is what we are doing all the time, part and parcel of our everyday Christian lives, then its claim over our energy and time will be minimal. However, if evangelization means something extraordinary, different, unique or novel, then it starts to claim not only our time but our minds and our skills – and our sense of adequacy – as well. In the first instance, we need no special preparation or training; we feel quite equipped for evangelization. In the second instance, though, evangelization becomes something demanding specialization, extra study and planning, and, worst of all, extra time." (DeSiano, Creating the Evangelizing Parish, 22).
As with all things there must be a balance in our attitude towards evangelization. It is something we should do everyday but we must never talk it for granted. For instance, when we say we witness to our faith by the way we live our lives we must be sure that we are living our lives as Christ calls us to. It is not enough to say we belong to the institutional Catholic Church. We must work to be a community of disciples (DeSiano, Creating, 10). Taking from Pope Paul VI's On Evangelization in the Modern World, DeSiano and Boyack list some of the elements of evangelization and discipleship (DeSiano, Creating, 10).
How are you doing at these? Do you put any effort in coming to know Christ better? Could you be doing more? Perhaps attending daily Mass, reading the Bible daily, or praying every day?
When you make a decision is your faith part of that decision? Do you ask yourself what is God's will or do you do what makes you to look good or makes you richer?
Sharing of God's love always focuses on our actions but sometimes we need to use words to get people to understand that our values come from God. When you do a good deed for someone and they thank you, do you point them to God? When was the last time you used the name God or Jesus in public? Have you ever said no to an invite and told them you couldn't do it because it was against your Christian values?
Do you gather with others to share faith? This begins with Mass but it is not limited to it. In fact, it needs to go beyond it. Have you ever gathered with a small group of friends to share faith? How about on a regular basis (We call these Small Christian Communities.)?
What does reception of the Sacraments mean to you? What does it mean to you to be a baptized Christian? What does it mean to receive the Eucharist? Do you open yourself to God's forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Do you see marriage as a covenant based on God's love?
Have you ever invited someone to church with you; just a nice friendly invite?
For Further Reading
DeSiano, Frank, CSP, "American Culture and Catholic Parishes." "Priest as Evangelizer Workshop," Paulist National Catholic Evangelization Association," Instructor Rev. Frank DeSiano, CSP. March 2010.
DeSiano, Frank, CSP, "The Mass: Instrument of Evangelization," The Priest, September 2009, Vol. 63 No. 9, pp. 79-86.
DeSiano, Frank, CSP and Kenneth Boyack, CSP, Creating the Evangelizing Parish. New York:Paulist Press. 1993.
Pope Paul VI's, On Evangelization in the Modern World, December 8, 1975. Available online at http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_p-vi_exh_19751208_evangelii-nuntiandi_en.html .