Are you newevangelisticexpialidocious? Unsure? Don’t worry. It’s a word I made up based on the term “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” from Disney’s Mary Poppins.
What’s the point of all of this?
I wanted to discuss terms and definitions in the Catholic faith. While they reflect the depth and richness of Catholicism, for someone new to the faith, these terms can be difficult to understand.
Think of terms like concupiscence, transubstantiation, expiation, hypostatic union, and magisterium. Until you became a student of Catholicism, you likely did not know what they meant (and may not know now).
Understanding the different terms used within the Church can be a major stumbling block for some people (if not most). So what are we doing about it?
We need to be careful with the words we choose – especially when evangelizing. While we may think that we are impressing people with our level of knowledge, in the end, we might be driving them away.
Among our fellow Catholics, I have sometimes noticed that we do the same thing. Instead of applauding someone’s overall message, we nitpick their use of theological terms. Listen, with a faith as deep as Catholicism, we will all make mistakes from time to time.
My basic point: we cannot get overly consumed with our Catholic vocabulary. It infringes on our ability to evangelize, and it can drive a wedge between us.
Already, I know critics of this message will say that I am attempting to “dumb down” the faith. Nothing could be further from the truth.
What I am saying is that we need to use the appropriate language at the appropriate time. Having a conversation with a fellow student of Catholic theology? Use all of the grandiose words that you can muster. Sharing the faith with someone for the first time? Leave your Catholic dictionary behind.
I wish that we were all newevangelisticexpialidocious. I wish we all had the Summa memorized, the Catechism theorized, and all of Scripture internalized, but reality tells us otherwise.
Our ability to evangelize will not be measured by using the biggest words, but through the power of the Holy Spirit, saying the right words.
© Chad R. Torgerson