It has been said, that if you are not evangelizing the culture,
then you are letting the culture evangelize YOU!
Pope Paul VI, in his apostolic exhortation known as Evangelii Nuntiandi, (‘to proclaim the gospel’), said that it was his duty as the successor of Peter, to confirm the brethren. He wished in this exhortation, to encourage us in our “mission as evangelizers, in order that, in this time of uncertainty and confusion, they may accomplish the task with ever increasing love, zeal and joy.” (December 8, 1975)
Scripture gives us a succinct description of the manner of evangelizing:
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15-16)
What is scripture telling us here? This passage is telling us five basic things with regard to evangelization.
- Be prepared to speak when called upon. Always be prepared to give an answer.
- Know what you are talking about. Give the reason for the hope that you have.
- Be gentle and respectful. Do this with gentleness and respect.
- Keep a clear conscience (reconciled to God). Keep(ing) a clear a conscience.
- When people reject you for the Truth you have made known to them, do not retort in anger and injustice, but remain in love so there can be no fault with you. Those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their behavior.
The kingdom of God and salvation are available to every human being as a gift of grace and mercy. For the Church, it is a question not only of preaching the Gospel from the pulpit, but also of “affecting, through the power of the Gospel, mankind’s criteria of judgment, determining values, points of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration, and models of life which are in stark contrast with the Word of God and the plan of salvation.” (Evangelii Nuntiando No. 19)
The Church itself is an evangelizer. We, as the baptized Christian people who make up the Catholic Church, are called to this work of evangelization of the whole world—All of us. In order to do so, we must begin by being evangelized ourselves.
Never let a question that comes to your mind go unanswered, especially if you are leaning away from what you know the Church teaches. Pray for an answer, read to find an answer, ask a good priest to find an answer. But never let your mind wander to what you think it might be, and never let someone who is not well-formed in their own conscience and understanding of the faith, scripture and Church teaching, give you the answer, without confirming that answer through orthodox sources. You might be surprised at how much sense the Church makes, when you read and understand the true theology behind hot topic questions like abortion and gay marriage, instead of allowing yourself to be formed by the culture. Give the Church a chance to explain. “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” JOHN 8:31-32
There are many resources on the web, and many have wide and varied views of the Truth. But by definition, there can be only ONE TRUTH. Two versions of the same truth, if they do not line up perfectly, mean either one is right and one is wrong, or both are wrong. They can not both be right. We will attempt on this website, to only publish resources and articles which are based on sound Catholic doctrine and authority.
Read your bible. And make sure it is a good Catholic Bible and not missing any books. The Ignatius Catholic Bible (RSV – Revised Standard Version) and the Navarre Bible are widely seen as some of the best translations. Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church—WOW—Another incredibly beautiful document that might surprise you. And read spiritual classics like The Diary of St. Faustina, or St. Therese’ The Story of A Soul, and St. Francis of De Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life, or The Joy of Full Surrender by Fr. Jean Paul de Caussade. Our Church is rich with the goodness of its saints. And YOU are one them! Find your niche and open your world to a radical conversion and profound change of heart.
Once you begin knowing your faith better, (and we ALL need to know our faith better—We could not learn it all in TEN lifetimes), you will begin to look more deeply at your own life. You will ask and permit the Holy Spirit to illuminate for you, the places in your own life which require attention, and you will work to conform your will to the will of God and the virtues of Christ. This is important for you as well as for the Kingdom of God. As Pope Paul VI says in his exhortation, “Above all, the Gospel must be proclaimed by witness.” Your witness and the way you live in your community is more powerful than you think.
When speaking of a small group of Christians living within a community, Pope Paul VI said that these people radiate in a simple and unaffected way,
“their faith in values that go beyond current values, and their hope in something that is not seen and that one would not dare to imagine. Through the wordless witness these Christians stir up irresistible questions in the hearts of those who see how they live: Why are they like this? Why do they live in this way? What or who is it that inspires them? Why are they in our midst? Such a witness is already a silent proclamation of the Good News and a very powerful and effective one. Here we have an initial act of evangelization.” (Evangelii Nuntiando No. 21)
But this witness is only the beginning. It is not enough if it is not explained and justified, as Peter said in the scripture quoted above. The believer who has come to be evangelized himself must then go on to evangelize others.
“Here lies the truth, the touchstone of evangelization: it is unthinkable that a person should accept the Word and give himself to the kingdom without becoming a person who bears witness to it and proclaims it in his turn.” (Evangelii Nuntiando No. 24)
This website is devoted to those who are dedicated to their own formation, and making themselves ready and committed to evangelizing others. “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent.” ACTS 18:9
reprinted from SentByTheSpirit.com