Continuing our ongoing discussion of Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization
The title of Part IV, “Culture of Witness,” gives me the call-to-action I need. The bishops (as usual) waste no time getting right to the heart of the matter:
Christ teaches us how to evangelize, how to invite people into communion with him, and how to create a culture of witness: namely, through love. A Christian life lived with charity and faith is the most effective form of evangelization.
The bishops continue, just a paragraph-and-a-half later, with three sentences that I think need printed and posted in every parish office:
The faithful become agents of evangelization through living witness and commitment to the Gospel. The everyday moments of one’s life lived with Christian charity, faith, and hope provide witness to family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and others who have stopped actively participating in the life of the Church. This witness is essential for reaching others in today’s modern world.
There’s much more in this section, and it all supports my takeaway from these two snippets: Christ is our example and WE witness in our everyday moments.
When I hear the phrase “agents of evangelization,” I picture myself in a stunningly cool black outfit, complete with a Catechism in a holster on one hip and a Bible in a holster on the other. I’ll have a rosary within easy reach, a Miraculous Medal around my neck, and at least one set of super cool Catholic earrings (because sometimes accessories make all the difference).
But really, what’s expected of me is not some super-Catholic moves worthy of a spy novel. God’s asking us, essentially, to live the everyday moments of our lives with Christian charity, faith, and hope.
That’s the witness.
Am I the only one saying, “Is that all?” with a mixture of disappointment and trembling? Am I the only one who is begging for more and asking for less?
My everyday moments leave a lot to be desired, quite frankly. My first thought, really, is, “If the people who see me everyday are relying on my witness, um, God, you might want to rethink your strategy.”
There’s hope, though. Look at this, under the next subheading, titled “Conversion”:
The New Evangelization does not seek to invite people to experience only one moment of conversion but rather to experience the gradual and lifelong process of conversion…
Conversion is NOT a wham-bam moment, much though everyone seems to look at me and expect a story as though it was (or is). Oh, I have plenty of moments as convert, but I’ve been a practicing Catholic now for ten years.
I’m STILL converting. I’m not sure it will EVER be done.
Apparently, I’m not the only one for whom this is true. I find a lot of hope in that. Maybe I’m not such a bad instrument after all (though I say that with some reluctance).
The bishops go on, in this section, to highlight specific ways to educate and fill people with faith via the New Evangelization. It would be exhausting to go through them one-by-one–and yes, I say that in part because I want you to read the document for yourself.
So, go read it, and then I want to know: which of their proposed methodologies most spoke to your heart?
Previous posts in this series:
- Commanded to Be Witnesses
- Called to Him
- Are we welcoming?
- It’s Personal
- Show Them Jesus
- The Very Core of Our Mission
- Proclaiming Anew
- It’s Not New, But We Need It
- It’s about Hope
- Responding with a Touch
Copyright © 2012, Sarah Reinhard