It is critical to salvation to choose to follow Our Saviour. However, contrary to some popular beliefs, that is insufficient on its own to complete our work of salvation.
Monsignor Charles Pope, over at the Archidiocese of Washington DC blog wrote yesterday about our call to evangelization, as Catholic Christians.
He quotes Jesus final words in what is called The Great Commission, prior to His Ascension: "Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt 28:19-20)."
He then writes about what plagues so many Catholic parishes in the world, spiritual lethargy. From his own example, he writes of parishes slowly dying, which we have all witnessed, and which many have attributed to the attitude of the world towards religion infiltrating those of weaker will in the Church.
But, if he is right about what parishes need to do to be invigorated, he is really on to something.:
But thank God, I’m blessed with a parish that wants to hear from God, which knows that God can make a way out of no way, a parish which prays for their pastor to get a Word from the Lord. And the Lord did not disappoint. The word was simple, “Obey.” Obey the great commission, obey Job One. The Lord seemed rather clear and put it on my heart to say to the Parish that if we will obey the Lord in this we have a future. If we do not obey him we do not deserve to exist. For too long the Catholic approach to evangelization was to open the doors and expect people to come. But Jesus sent them out to where people were to call and invite and evangelize. It’s time to obey.He offers up suggestions for ways to evangelize for even the most shy of us all:
These days evangelization comes in many different forms. Even if you’re shy, what does it take to do things like:It is my opinion that #9 is the most important thing that can be done to usher in evangelization in our own lives, and parishes. Our own parish of St. George here in London, Ontario is a good parish, with a solid congregation and a solid pastor. But, it has much more growth available. That has been my own personal motivation for joining brothers each morning to pray the Divine Office. We are setting a prayer foundation down for our parish, because we love our pastor, and our fellow parishioners. We believe that by praying for our pastor, and providing encouragement, we can help him to overcome those things that will gladly come against him and our parish to try and stifle what the Holy Spirit is doing here.
1. E-mail a friend a link about a great blog post or article you read?2.Send the link to the new radio station: http://grnonline.info/.
3.Send Links to YouTube videos that inspire.
4.There are great Catholic Websites and blogs. The New evangelization has made it easier to connect people to answers and resources. Sites like www.newadvent.org and the Catholic Answers website www.Catholic.com are rich veins information and encouragement.
5.Some of you who are technically savvy can help your pastor podcast his sermons or get them out on YouTube. Maybe you can help breathe new life into an out of date webpage.
6.Talk to your family members who are fallen away and ask them “where it hurts.” Find out what has kept them away and share the story of your own faith.
7.Get in the habit of inviting unchurched people to join you for special events at your parish. Not everyone is ready for a pew but a Chicken dinner might at least establish some connections where evangelization can take place.
8.Tell folks you’re praying for them and actually do it. Ask for prayer requests.
9.And pray, pray, pray for an increase, for a new springtime in the Church. Too many souls today are drifting and the Lord needs us to obey in order to save some.
This is not a time to be squeamish about our faith, Brothers and Sisters. It is a time to step out and follow God's command to us to bring the Good News to our families, friends and to those who do not know Him at all.