We, too, must do what we can to live our faith boldly and to proclaim
our faith openly, even if that means suffering. We must seek to draw others to Christ,
especially by showing them Christ centered kindness.
How, Practically, are we to do this? Again in Evangelii Gaudium, #128,
Pope Francis gives an example of a possible encounter with another person who
“speaks and shares his or her joys, hopes, and concerns for
loved ones, or so many other heartfelt needs.” The Christian
listener must be “respectful and gentle” and then, if appropriate,
“bring up God’s word” or relate a story dealing with the personal love of God.
“The message has to be shared humbly,” and the witness must be
“always willing to learn more.” One must be guided by the Holy Spirit.
“At times the message can be presented directly, at times by way of a
personal witness or gesture.” “If the circumstances are right,”
the encounter “could end with a brief prayer related to the
concerns which the person may have expressed.”
It is important that the persons being evangelized
“have an experience of being listened to and understood,”
with assurance “that their particular situation has been placed
before God, and that God’s word really speaks to their lives.”
In his exhortation the Holy Father goes on to speak about the
gifts of the Holy Spirit that tend to build up the Church, the
need for reconciliation of diversity with the help of the Holy
Spirit, and the need to proclaim the Gospel to professional,
scientific, and academic circles. Theologians and Catholic
scholars have a special role in evangelizing a whole culture.
Then Pope Francis writes many word urging priests to
evangelize effectively through better homilies. In reference to
theologians, he asserts, “They must always remember that the
Church and theology exist to evangelize, and not to be content
with a desk-bound theology” (# 134).
Fr. Donald S. Raila, O.S.B.,
Director of Oblates
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