Don’t miss moments of valuable encounter
Jesus commands us to “go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…” (Mt 28:19).
“[A]t the root of all evangelization lies not a human plan of expansion,” says Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, “but rather the desire to share the inestimable gift that God has wished to give us, making us sharers in His own life” (Ubicumque et Semper). God calls us by name, inviting us to collaborate in the one work of redemption and sanctification – to be the yeast in the dough that gives rise to the rebirth and restoration of the Faith.
“Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization,” Pope Francis reminds us in Evangelii Gaudium (120). The fathers of the Second Vatican Council emphasized this when teaching that “[t]he Christian who neglects his temporal duties, neglects his duties toward his neighbor and even God, and jeopardizes his eternal salvation” (Gaudium et Spes, 43). Our Creator, who has endowed us each with unique talents, calls us to freely cooperate with His will, placing all at His service for His glory. As St. Peter exhorts, “Above all, let your love for one another be intense… As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Pt 4:8-10).
Tragically, at times we fail to appreciate the life God so generously offers. We exhaust ourselves with natural pursuits while the supernatural remains ignored. Out of fear or desire for an easier path, we compromise with modern or progressive trends instead of confronting and rejecting them. We miss opportunities to joyfully bear witness to what is true and good. Think of those moments of encounter that are lost: on an airplane, at a business meeting or family gathering, or around a restaurant table. As St. Josemaría Escrivá encourages, consider “[t]hose well-timed words, whispered into the ear of your wavering friend; the helpful conversation that you managed to start at the right moment; the ready professional advice that improves his university work; the discreet indiscretion by which you open up unexpected horizons for his zeal” (The Way, 973). In these circumstances of daily life, if open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, there is tremendous potential to draw our brothers and sisters closer to Christ.
No Christian may remain on the fringes of this great and noble quest. As Jesus reminds us, “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more” (Lk 12:48). We all have parts to play.
We will fulfill the demands of evangelization when we live in full accord with Christ’s teaching – when husbands and wives model to others the sacredness of marriage; when parents teach their children to love God and neighbor; when businessmen and all leaders avoid immorality, upholding what is true, beautiful, and just; and when we uncompromisingly defend and respect every person from conception to natural death.
In order to re-evangelize our world and all aspects of daily life, it falls upon each Christian, upon you, to know and love Christ. Strive to learn and live your Catholic faith. Strengthen and deepen your spiritual life through a commitment to daily prayer, Eucharistic Adoration, daily Mass, and frequent Confession. With exuberance, share your Catholic faith with everyone you encounter.
Our Lord assures us that we are not alone in this apostolic undertaking when He says, “I will be with you always” (Mt 28:20). Cast away your fears and be willing to suffer for your Catholic faith, for “without cost you have received; without cost you are to give” (Mt 10:8).
FATHER SHENAN J. BOQUET is the president of Human Life International (www.hli.org), and a priest of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, LA.