Is your thought of evangelizing negative or positive?
Does it scare you to think of evangelizing our neighbors?
The following combines my personal reflection on, my paraphrase of and some direct quotes of a small section of Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation called Evangelii Gaudium, or, The Joy of the Gospel:
“The Gospel is radiant with the glory of Christ’s cross and constantly invites us to rejoice. When we encounter God’s love in Jesus, our friendship with God blossoms and becomes more rich. We are liberated from narrowness and self-absorption. We become fully human when we become more than human, when we let God bring us beyond ourselves in order to attain the fullest truth of our being. And here we find the source and inspiration of all our efforts at evangelization. We discover that Evangelization is the source of authentic personal fulfillment.”
When we have received the love which restores meaning to our lives, how can we fail to share that love with others?
“Life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort. Indeed, those who enjoy life most are those who leave security on the shore and become excited by the mission of communicating life to others.”
And what are we communicating? “The heart of the message will always be the same: the God who revealed his immense love in the crucified and risen Christ.”
Some of us recently began a personal experience of life in Christ. Some of us are recently renewed. At some point we have experienced some level of radical conversion, a profound change of mind and heart, what the Gospel calls metanoia. We desire to grow in that profound relationship we are honored to have: friendship with God, the Creator of the Universe, through His Only Begotten Son.
The more we grow in that relationship and the more we allow Him to fill us to overflowing with His goodness, the more we naturally want others to know Him, too. All it takes is our surrender to His Love and so allow its natural outpouring.
We “let that love flow to those who do not know Jesus Christ or who have always rejected him. But, we “should appear as people who wish to share joy, who point to the horizon of beauty and who invite other to a delicious banquet.” And we must remember that this is done not by proselytizing but by attraction, which is how the kingdom of God expands throughout the earth.
So, we evangelize, or preach the Gospel, just as St. Francis said, through our actions. When necessary, we may use words.
Now how does the thought of evangelization feel?
Are we ready to invite others on the journey of Life and Love?