Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Calling all Evangelizers

Mark 16: 15
He said to them, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature."

I love this verse because not only does it call us to evangelize to people but to "every creature." Clearly God loves the planet and wants us to take care of it and cultivate it in the love of the Gospel. But let's focus on ourselves a bit, shall we?

Evangelicals aren't the only group called to preach the Gospel and convert people; all Christians are. But for some reason Catholics distance themselves from this notion. I guess that we don't want be associated with "Bible bashers" and understandably so because you kill more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Within our own circles we need to "evangelize" as well. Case in point: I was at Mass. I was wearing something on my head (I really don't remember what but I usually wear something that is obvious). An older gentlemen approached me to look at HB. "Oh, what a cute baby! I have seven grandchildren that are cute too," he said (or something to that effect). My thought was that's so great because my grandmother has seven so I said, "Oh, wow!" "Yes," he grumbled, "my daughter is very religious. The priest told her she needed to." Um okay. What's wrong with that? I thought that we were all religious. We're at Mass. But I didn't say this. At the time I didn't know what to say. I was very flabbergasted. I mean I cover my head at Mass. Clearly, I'm also religious. But then again, maybe I misunderstood him, although it sounded rather negative to me.

So we Catholics need to get off our duffs and evangelize. And the pope is currently making that an important part of being Catholic as well. Read Here (thanks Cam for the info) Maybe his plan to declare this the year of evangelizing. That would be cool. To get some ideas on topics, check out this Catholic evangelizer www.wordonfire.org

Let's first start with fellow Catholics. We need to make sure that Catholics are on the same page. Perhaps we should encourage each other to be informed, to know what's in the Catechism and to read the Bible. When I was confirmed, I was instructed by the Bishop to read the Bible five minutes a day. However, there is still this prevalent thought that the Church doesn't want its members to read the Bible. It's myths like this that we need to educate others about. What are the myths/ false teachings among your fellow congregants, family members, and friends? Can you point them to the correct information?

But be weary. Evangelizing does not mean to be mean or condescending. It requires gentleness, patience, and grace. Simply put, tell them the correct teaching and where to find it. If they disagree with the Church's teaching, then let them do so. Use words like "I" or phrases like "I think" "I feel" or "I believe" takes the pressure off things. You're only informing and not making judgment calls. Putting structures in passive tense also helps.

So get out there and start preaching the Gospel.

Author's Correction: Apparently I need caffeine or sleep, it's "wordonfire" not "worldonfire." Sorry about that.

4 comments:

  1. Great post!

    I'll be honest w/ myself here... at this point I need to focus on myself and not others. There was a time that I loved sharing my faith with others. I still do when they're interested, but I'm nowhere where I need to be. I don't see how I can do any good if I'm not. Of course (and I'm hoping this happens) if I can start to focus on fixing that maybe it'll come through and do that anyway.

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  2. That's a very good point. In working on ourselves, people begin to either ask questions or to see the change and change themselves. I'm always waiting for someone to ask me about headcovering. At first, I was very reserved. I didn't want to have to explain it for fear of rejection and being odd. Now that I've been doing so faithfully for about ten months, I feel more confident and not self-conscientious. I feel more comfortable pointing out that the statues of the Virgin depict her having her head covered. That's what I've decided to start with and then if they ask more, I'm happy to get into the tradition and the Biblical text for it.

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  3. Thats great. I still can't bring myself to cover at Mass. In regular public sure... Mass.. not so much. If I'd stayed in Lubbock I think I would be by now... but I moved here and its a lot less common at my Parish here.

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  4. I have the opposite problem. I can't bring myself to cover in public. For one, hubby doesn't approve. But I've seen some great scarves out there so that might be a first step.

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I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!