If you want to guide someone to Christ, then you must collaborate with Christ

October 13, 2020

In his encyclical on Evangelization-Evangelii Nuntiandi, St. Paul VI describes the purpose and content of evangelization as the means to bear witness, in a simple and direct way, to God revealed by Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit, to bear witness that in His Son God has loved the world that in His Incarnate Word He has given being to all things and has called men to eternal life.[1] The significance of this working explanation is that it has nothing to do with a written program or media resource. If one takes the time to analyze St. Paul VI’s description of evangelization the focus is on the ability to provide an authentic witness of Christ in simple ordinary ways.

If one is to begin a ministry in the art of evangelization, prudence should dictate in asking oneself the question; Do I have a charism to bear witness to Christ?  The original kerygma established by Christ through his baptism introduces to the whole world His Incarnate Word. In other words, the Word of God takes on human form and now we not only hear the Word of God, but we can see the Word of God. This means that Divine Revelation is now visible, and it awaits our response in faith.

Will he find faith on earth?

The introduction and development of a conversion process which is the premise behind the methodology on evangelization should reflect the deliberate act of calling someone to eternal life[2] and that our Father in Heaven is Father of all. [3] These two pillars are vitally important because as we begin to guide someone toward Christ and His Church it is imperative that the person investigating the Catholic faith find active models of visible human faith. Christ reminds us in the parable of the widow and the unrighteous judge if the Son of man will find faith on earth when he comes?[4]

It is imperative that an evangelist possess a visible act of faith because it is the first interaction anyone investigating the Catholic faith will encounter. If God is Father of all then we are all children of God. This means that the seeker, believer, follower, none, outcast, indifferentist, gnostic, atheist, wanderer and the confused require a Trinitarian act of faith that reveals that Christ truly loves them thus addressing their developing sense of faith. This means that our evangelistic efforts should echo hope, brotherly love and communion with God.

The Word of God and the act of Faith

Incumbent to the process of conversion to Jesus Christ, St. Paul reminds us that: Faith comes from what is heard.[5] This means that the proclamation of the Word of God must reflect a genuine act of faith, this is where we come toward a fuller understanding of Divine Revelation and our response to it. Thus, our response to the proclamation of the Gospel must not put on a false face but on the contrary reflect a genuine love for Christ and His Church. Any person investigating the truths of the Catholic Church will be keen in discerning whether the Christians around him are indeed genuine disciples of Christ or mere spectators. Introduction to the Word of God should focus on prayer and meditation followed by a proper catechetical explanation of God’s word in collaboration with the creed. The premise here is an introduction to the practice of listening and contemplating the Word of God-Lectio Divina and then incorporating aspects of the creed in relation to prayer. Our aim is to help the person know the living God in a simple and direct way. This evangelistic development plants the seeds of desire to collaborate with Christ.

Collaborator with Christ     

Spiritual progress tends toward ever more intimate union with Christ. This union is called mystical because it participates in the mystery of Christ through the sacraments the holy mysteries and, in him, in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. God calls us all to this intimate union with him . . . the way of perfection passes by way of the Cross.[6]   

The significance of this quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church is that it provides guidance on how to be a collaborator with Christ-in effect an active evangelist. And a key characteristic of an effective evangelist is by way of the Cross. In other words the way an evangelist is willing to carry the Cross of Christ which the Church would define and explain as a willingness to bear the sufferings of Christ-redemptive suffering strengthens the ability of the evangelist to renounce evil and always be prepared for the spiritual battle that quite often takes place on a daily basis.  

A collaborator with Christ expresses and exercises a visible intimacy with Jesus. This involves the development of a simple life of prayer and fasting that places focus on Christ and shuns worldly pleasures. St. Paul reminds us that we should never cease to pray[7] as collaborative disciples in Christ. As mentioned before, whatever the current spiritual disposition of the person you are witnessing may be the first encounter-proclamation of the Gospel is critical in addressing spiritual curiosity and providing spiritual nourishment.

Collaboration with Christ affirms that our ministry is centered on Christ’s and not our own. This means that our ministerial intentions are to imitate the way of the Cross because in the end the aim of evangelization and all catechetical instruction is the union of our souls with Christ in Heaven.

We evangelize because the Father loves us.[8]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Evangelii Nuntiandi, 26

[2] Acts 10:34-43

[3] Evangelii Nuntiandi, 26

[4] Lk 18:1-8

[5] Rom 10:17

[6] CCC 2014

[7] 1 Thess 5:17

[8] 1 Tim 1:7

 

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