Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New Evangelization: A Continued Need Among Catholics

It's simply interesting how this seems so alien a concept to my Catholic family. I was struck by this and found it almost humorous. Raised strictly Protestant and Southern Baptist to boot, it was almost a rite of passage to be able to defend, and communicate about the Faith.

So as a Catholic, what does that mean. Well, most importantly it means meeting people where they are rather than dragging them by the hair to where they need and should be. Let me explain and give you some background.

As a youth in my Baptist church, I was instructed on how to approach members of other faiths (even Christian) and to dissect and show through scripture how they were wrong and going to hell. Of course, this seemed very powerful and intoxicating at the time. Looking back, I have a profound sense of guilt regarding this. How many souls did I poison away from His will and through my brutishness pushed towards Hell rather than greeted towards grace. Certainly, with years under my belt, I've come to realize that opening a conversation, instead of thumping with scripture is a much better tact.

That said, we as Catholics have a way to go before we are ready to open any conversation to explain our beliefs. Heck, according to a survey with the USCCB and CARA, only 23% of Catholics in 2008 attended Mass once a week, but 77% were proud to be Catholics.  Our God doesn't ask very much of us, and with the patience that only a parent can begin to fathom, He accepts us regardless of our selfish ways. We as Catholics need to step up our game, understand our faith (and that does mean attending Mass) and understand why we do what we do and believe what we believe.

My excuse is pretty lame -- I'm a newvert. That said, I'm trying to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can in order to fix that shortcoming. Learning is a lifelong process. I'm thankful that I was never a cradle Catholic, only because I feel I have so very much to learn. I do have fear that my infant daughter, who will no nothing other than this faith, may have to overcome this shortcoming. Catholics need to step up, and take the evangelization mantle back. Now!

Straight from the USCCB website, this prayer for Evangelization:

Heavenly Father,
Pour forth your Holy Spirit to inspire me with these words from Holy Scripture.
Stir in my soul the desire to renew my faith and deepen my relationship with your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ so that I might truly believe in and live the Good News.   
Open my heart to hear the Gospel and grant me the confidence to proclaim the Good News to others.
Pour out your Spirit, so that I might be strengthened to go forth and witness to the Gospel in my everyday life through my words and actions.  
In moments of hesitation, remind me:
If not me, then who will proclaim the Gospel?
If not now, then when will the Gospel be proclaimed?
If not the truth of the Gospel, then what shall I proclaim?
God, our Father, I pray that through the Holy Spirit I might hear the call of the New Evangelization to deepen my faith, grow in confidence to proclaim the Gospel and boldly witness to the saving grace of your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.