The final concern that came through the client survey has to do - directly or indirectly - with Catholic evangelization. Many of you were concerned about loved ones - often grown children - who are no longer living the faith. It looks like you are trying some wonderful things to win their hearts back to God's love - from prayer to email campaigns. But the solution that is missing is a concept of Catholic evangelization.
- A better prayer life and how to sahre my faith with others.
- Courage to speak up when my Catholic faith is challenged
- I started a fmaily religion list where I periodically send out info on the Catholic faith. Sadly, many family mambers do not want th eemails. Too mant Catholics in name only.
- Soften the hearts of my children in their 20's so they can hear Jesus speaking to them better.
- Increase the communities knowledge of what a Sacramental marriage is.
- The faithfulness of all four of our children and their families in our beautiful faith would definitely double our gratefulness. Two families have turned away from our faith and two families are very active in the Roman Catholic faith...we'll keep praying!!!
- I am happier teaching CCD to share my love of Jesus to 6th graders Some of my adult children do not attend Sunday Mass even though my husband and I are faithful
- What hasn't worked: teaching my children something and then them see the exact opposite done in society.
- I became a convert to Catholicism when our youngest daughter was just a baby; I wish that I would have converted much sooner and then I might have been able to influence our three older children in their journey of faith. Thankfully, my husband, who graduated from Notre Dame didn't give up on me! God bless them all!!
Do any of these describe you?
Does This Describe You?
Pat sighed as she sat in her recliner at the end of the day and pulled out her Rosary. She always looked forward to this time of the day, when she could finally find some quiet and spend some time focused on God. As she made the Sign of the Cross, her mind immediately went to her daughter Sarah. Sarah was now 28 years old, and she hadn't gone to Mass since she was 18. Pat's peace was broken as her thoughts turned to worry. She had tried everything she knew to invite Sarah back to the faith. She had been praying for her for 10 years. Nothing seemed to work. Pat became sick at heart when she thought of her beautiful, sweet daughter spending eternity in Hell. Pat shook herself and focused her mind on the first decade of the Rosary. She would just have to rely on God's mercy. What else could she do? She was afraid to push any more than she had. ". . . Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of thy mercy."
What Are You Afraid Of?
Pat's fear to "push any more" is very common. What if I told you that most of your fear could go away with better education? Catholics often fear evangelization because they don't truly understand it. Catholic evangelization is very different from the common image of evangelization we gain from some other Christians. For example, Catholic evangelization is not
- Standing at a street corner yelling Bible verses to people walking by
- Going door-to-door asking people if they have ever considered where they will go when they die
- Handing out pamphlets or tracts at a shopping mall and asking people if they're "born again" or "saved"
- Leading an educational or entertainment program in order to entice people to the faith
Just to prove that this isn't just by idea of evangelization, here's Dr. Scott Hahn talking about what to avoid when you evangelize as a Catholic.
In fact, a true understanding of Catholic evangelization can really open the door to a lot of positive action.
A True Understanding of Catholic Evangelization
OK, so what is Catholic evangelization if it's none of those things? Well, let's look at how Catholics view salvation. We do not consider ourselves simply saved as individuals who create a one-to-one relationship with Jesus. Yes, the Catholic Church does teach that we should have a personal relationship with God - a relationship based on trust, intimacy and love. We also believe that each person will be judged as an individual. But while we all of that is true, we also believe that we are not only saved from sin and death, but we are saved into God's Family. In fact, a relationship with God is automatically a family relationship - and therefore a relationship with each other.
So does that give you a clue about what Catholic evangelization is all about? It's about relationship and family.
There is no one formula for Catholic evangelization. But a truly Catholic form of evangelization always flows naturally from a real relationship. In other words, evangelization doesn't mean doing something alien to your nature.
Here's my simple formula for Catholic evangelization. We'll look more carefully at each of these elements in this series.
- Lead by Example -- Witness
The Importance of Personal Sanctity in Evangelization
- Evangelize through Relationship
- Learn to listen
- Equip Yourself to Be the Go-To Person for Questions & Discussions
Dr. Scott Hahn Discusses the Importance of Apologetics (knowing why we believe what we believe) in Catholic Evangelization
Dealing with a Loved One who Has Left the Faith
- Get rid of the Guilt
- Put Yourself in Good Company
- No Guarantees