There is a common phrase that states, “change begins from within,” and as one of the greatest changes we will ever experience, we must realize that evangelization begins from within, as well.
At some point in your life, you may experience a change of heart and a renewing of your faith. The world will seem brighter, the flowers will smell sweeter, and you will begin to have a new outlook on life.
With your renewed sense of faith, you will want to run out and tell the world the Good News. As a modern Catholic, the New Evangelization will beckon you.
But what is the New Evangelization? What is its focus?
According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,
“The focus of the New Evangelization calls all Catholics to be evangelized and then go forth to evangelize… The seed of the Church is present, but the message of Jesus Christ needs to be re-sown and watered for those who have already heard Christ’s call, but who have not been fully evangelized or catechized.” (USSCB.org)
In other words, to evangelize, we must first be evangelized and catechized ourselves. Evangelization begins from within, and that includes re-catechizing ourselves, as well.
An elementary or high school teacher begins their career by being a student in college first; likewise, we must be a student of our faith before we can ever effectively teach the world about the love of Christ.
An important part of being an evangelist, then, means understanding Catholic beliefs and developing your own faith. The more you evangelize yourself, the more effective you will be at evangelizing others.
But how can we evangelizes ourselves?
The first step is to learn more about our beliefs through studying Scripture and the writings of other Catholics, both past and present. By no means does that require having a doctorate in theology; you simply have to understand the basics.
The next step is developing a stronger relationship with Christ. This, of course, begins with prayer. Prayer should become an important part of your spiritual development.
Finally, you must embrace the Sacraments. From weekly Mass to regular trips to the confessional, the Sacraments bring Christ into our lives in a very real way.
By learning more about the faith, and making it a part of your daily life, you are giving yourself the tools and knowledge you need to be an effective evangelist.
Before you turn your attention to others, focus on developing your own faith in real, substantial ways.
Copyright © 2013, Chad R. Torgerson