Evangelization takes time

My grandmother was an immigrant from the mountains of Italy, in a very small town, more likely a village, near Turin.  Her father left and went to New York to earn money so the rest of the family could join him. 

My grandmother was often left to take care of her two younger brothers while her mother tended to the animals or went to have bread baked at the community oven.  She also had to cook and often she cooked polenta.  You may know polenta as something you buy already made in a plastic tube or as a dish at a trendy restaurant.  Truth be told, polenta is peasant food, corn meal mush to be precise.  So my grandmother cooked the polenta over an outdoor fire in a big iron pot, stirring it continuously so it had no lumps until the grain swelled to probably three times its original size.  It took a very long time and required constant attention. 

Of course, when I was little and she told us the story I thought she was exaggerating about the constant attention.  She really wasn’t.  Not only do you have to stir it so there are no lumps, you have to stir it so it doesn’t explode out of the pot onto your skin because it is hot or the walls or flour because it is difficult to clean up.  Now, I make polenta; it doesn’t take hours to cook and stir, but it takes time and unlike pasta, careful tending.

Evangelization is the same.  It takes time and careful attention. 

We live in a fast society.  We pride ourselves on doing everything as fast as possible.  We want fast results for our evangelization efforts, forgetting what Paul said:

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth” (1 Cor 3:6-7),

We think it can be instantaneous, instead of remembering that just like planting (or cooking) evangelization takes time.  In matters of faith, it is in God’s time, not ours. Taking time is a good thing since there is more chance for deep roots to grow and be nurtured.

Evangelization, like most worthwhile things in this world, takes time.  There are no shortcuts, no quick fixes.  There is tending the pot, stirring to remove the lumps, and enjoying the finished product with those you love.

Copyright © 2013, Deanna Bartalini

Deanna Bartalini

Deanna Bartalini

Deanna G. Bartalini, is a Catholic writer, speaker, and educator. She serves on the retreat team at Our Lady of Florida Spiritual Center. Deanna loves teaching about Catholicism and how it fits into our daily lives. She writes at DeannaBartalini.com, serves as the editor of the NewEvangelizers.com blog, and is a contributor there as well as at AmazingCatechists.com. Deanna contributed to A Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion published by Ave Maris Press. She is the author of “Invite the Holy Spirit into Your Life: Growing in Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control” published by Our Sunday Visitor. Deanna is available to lead retreats and speak at catechist and ministry events.

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