I say we evangelize Catholics first. Pope Francis has shown that, in order for our evangelization to bear fruit, we need to “walk the walk” ourselves, and be living, visible witnesses for what we are proclaiming.
I believe that all of our recent Pope’s have done this , and that Pope Francis is highlighting it. We have to let our light shine.
Others are converted by witnessing one’s own ongoing conversion. Conversion is a life-long process that requires constant attention until we die.
If we think that someone elses conversion is a higher priority than our own, then we are more concerned with the speck in our neighbour’s eye than the log in our own, and the battle is lost: we will likely only turn off the person we are trying to convert. That isn’t evangelizing, it’s proselytizing.
And that applies equally to fellow Catholics whom we perceive to have a flawed view of what we perceive as “truth”.
The word evangelize is confusing my thoughts on this. Isn’t the purpose of evangelization to convert? If that is the case then a Catholic would seek out a non-Catholic for this purpose. I do like the thoughts the previous posters expressed though.
Whenever your going to fix things we must always fix within our own home first. As we become better Catholics and learn our faith better, we can then teach others, and others will come in bc well be able to show them the richness and truthfulness of the church
Okay. We all evangelize ourselves, and it is a never ending life-long process. C’mon…we are to evangelize others at some point regardless of our personal journey. People are not going to be able to notice our light without a little instruction on what to look for.
So, how do you propose we evangelize others? By what method? How do we reach people on the street level where they are? People who have dropped out of religious life and going to Church?
Some concrete examples would be good. I think it’s easy to speak to other Catholics but we need to get out of our Churches and back to the highways and byways, and that includes inner cities and affluent suburbs. Note: I think I should point out that inner cities can be dangerous and that “veterans” of such places should be involved.
The “invisible,” to some, Catholic Church, must become become publicly visible.
I disagree. If we are truly living our faith, the Holy Spirit will see to it that others notice. How do you think 90 out of 115 cardinals noticed Pope Francis? Did he preach to them?
Naturally, we will be called upon to give witness and instruct others – it is well known as a spiritual work of mercy to which we are committed, but we can become clanging cymbals unless we are walking the talk and have the gift of prudence and discernment before we open our mouths.
How do missionaries and religious orders evangelize others? They build schools and clinics, they care for the sick, they educate children (in fact they’ll even teach the Koran to illiterate Muslims), they visit prisoners, they fight for social justice. In short they preach the Gospel by living it, which is a far more powerful statement than even the finest sermon.
But they rarely proselytize. They usually start with respect for people of other faiths. As in the film “Of Men and Gods”. Sometimes they’ll even go as far as martyrdom.
When the world is in a rage and people are freaking out over the crisis of the day and we go obout our business in peace, calmly attending to the little things God has placed in front of us, then people will notice and they will want to be like us. They will ask how we stay so calm, why we don’t react in anger and frustration, how we can be nice to people who curse us. Then the conversation can begin.
And it has to be a conversation. When the goal is conversion, you have lost before you started.