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Holy Father’s Prayer of Intention: october

We pray that every baptized person may be engaged in evangelization, available to the mission, by being witnesses of a life that has the flavour of the Gospel.

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Evangelization often gets a bad rap.

It’s the song by our favorite musician that we always skip. It’s the call we let go to voicemail. It’s the kiosk in the store we have to walk by. We don’t want to be rude, but we also are just so not interested.

By ‘bad rap’, I mean the caricature of what evangelization entails that makes almost all of us cringe:

-approaching strangers …

-peppering them with questions …

-positing rehearsed logical proofs …

-pushing tracts into their hands …

-inviting them to come with us …

and making that hard sell to share the good news of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We imagine the awkward places where this conversation could occur (hockey game concession line, adjoining bathroom stall chat, DMV waiting room), and we think “Nope, that ain’t for me.”

I can’t blame you.

Some encouraging news: that’s not evangelization.

Our call as believers of the one true gospel of Jesus Christ is about “proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God” everywhere, all the time, to everyone (Luke 8:1).

Being engaged with evangelization is about those with whom you interact, being able to observe that your life reflects your love of a just and holy God, and that you love your neighbors. Some of us share it loudly. Just as many do so more quietly. Some of us strike up conversations about it with strangers. Others, with longtime friends that we’ve lived life with, for years. Some of us never say much, but when we do, we mean it.

Pope Francis reminds us of this call this month and explains how we all have a “missionary mandate,” “This missionary mandate touches us personally: I am a mission, always; you are a mission, always; every baptized man and woman is a mission. People in love never stand still: they are drawn out of themselves; they are attracted and attract others in turn; they give themselves to others and build relationships that are life-giving.”

What describes your flavor of sharing the Gospel with others?

Jim Roach, M.Div – Campus Minister at Saint Louis University

 

Holy Father’s Prayer of Intention: september

We pray that we all will make courageous choices for a simple and environmentally sustainable lifestyle, rejoicing in our young people who are resolutely committed to this.

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What complicates your life? Every day we make choices about how we use our time, energy, and resources. Looking to Jesus’ life as a simple carpenter, we know that complexity is not what God desires for us. In our hearts we know that God calls us to a simple, liberating relationship with created things, but living this requires a perspective shift.

Consider the rich young man (Lk 18:18-23), who yearns to follow God and asks Jesus how he might do so. When the young man learns that he must part with all of his possessions, he walks away sad. In contrast, St. Francis of Assisi, a rich young man himself, underwent a radical conversion and walked away from his wealth with immense joy and freedom. This conversion to a life of simplicity requires a new perspective. As G.K. Chesterton remarks, “[Francis] looked at the world as differently from other men as if he had come out of that dark hole walking on his hands” (St. Francis of Assisi, 70).

I rejoice in today’s young people who have invited me to see differently. Many question how we relate to Creation. They seek freedom from habits of consumption and make sacrifices that open them to the “cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (LS, 49). They exemplify Pope Francis’ description of the Christian life “marked by moderation and the capacity to be happy with little. It is a return to that simplicity which allows us to stop and appreciate the small things, to be grateful for the opportunities which life affords us, to be spiritually detached from what we possess, and not to succumb to sadness for what we lack” (LS, #222). Let us ask for the grace to see differently!

Kevin Kuehl – Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (United States)