In the aftermath of the Paris bombings feelings of being overwhelmed by events happening around the world were intense. The questions of why do violent people perpetrate such acts upon innocent people? What makes them embrace death as fiercely as we embrace life? As I study the history of our faith, I am reminded of the struggles and persecutions of the Jews and following them the early Christians. People around the world historically to the present day were and are falling victim to darkness, but how can we help? Evangelization is part of the solution, but where to begin?
Evangelization begins with prayer: personal and with our family members, at church and wherever faithful souls are willing to gather. Mother Teresa asked one of her dedicated volunteers who became too sick to continue serving the mission in Calcutta, to continue serving by praying. In prayer the Holy Spirit will empower us, give us hope, joy and the peace that the world cannot give.
Living our faith would be the next step. Are we doing everything our Lord has asked of us? Are we reading His Word to know Him better? Receiving the sacraments regularly and living a faith centered life helps pass the faith on to our family members and those around us. Creating a Catholic home with visible signs of our faith is a constant reminder for us and as well as sends a powerful message to all who enter.
Another great way to share our faith is to invite family and friends to mass, no pressure-just a friendly invitation. Since the mass is where we physically receive Jesus in the Eucharist, being in the presence of the Lord and hearing His Holy Word in His house is powerful. It helps to do a little pre-mass briefing to let visitors know that during communion it is okay to stay in the pew and pray or go up for a blessing. This could lead to a dialogue on the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist or on the importance of the sacrament of Reconciliation and being in a state of grace in order to receive the Eucharist.
Above all, pray for those whom you have invited and let the Holy Spirit do the work. We do not have to be canon lawyers or biblical scholars to nurture faith in others. The Holy Spirit will give you the words and for difficult questions there are many great resources to put into the hands of the curious. Be careful with the internet, there are many Christian websites that do not follow Catholic Church teaching. Great recommendations for Catholic books and websites can be found through sources dedicated to Truth such as EWTN, your parish Director of Religious Education and of course your priest. There are also free apps dedicated to sharing the faith: “Laudate” has traditional Catholic prayers to include audio versions as well as 2 versions of the Catholic Bible, the Catechism, Vatican Documents, etc. and “Relevant Radio” a Catholic radio station featuring Catholic programs and prayers are my two favorites.
Christmas is a perfect time to share the faith with an invitation to mass. Pope Francis’ evangelization prayer intention for December is: “that families, especially those who suffer, may find in the birth of Jesus a sign of certain hope.” Most Catholic Churches put a great deal of effort into making Christmas mass special which makes it a great opportunity to share with others. Also share your family Christmas traditions, especially your Christmas meal which is another opportunity for prayer. The dinner table is the “altar” of our domestic church; it is where we pray, break bread and commune with each other.
May your Advent be blessed, your Christmas be merry and may the Spirit be with you as you share the Good News by planting the seeds of faith. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see–I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people.” Luke 2:9-10
“Let’s Evangelize!” submitted by Michelle Hokenson.