DIGGING DEEPER

We must close the ever-expanding distance between our church walls and our neighborhoods, between parishes and culture by witnessing God’s love in our lives. Your witness to active love will affect culture

“If Jesus has given us the mission to evangelize, than He wants us to have and to experience a lived relationship with Him. Do I give myself permission to want that? Do I give myself permission to embrace Jesus’ desire to have that relationship with me? Do I often tell Jesus that I want to experience His presence and love? The first and last work of evangelization is to long for that more and more.” (Msgr. Richter, IE, 24)

When we, as people of God, are spiritually alive we become magnets to the lost, wandering and seeking around us. In sincerely following Christ with an open and trusting heart, we become disciples. As members of the Body of Christ, our love for others compels us to share our Savior; to magnify the grace and glory that we have individually been given and freely accepted. We become the initial experience of God for others. This is living faith in action – this is missionary discipleship and you are invited to be a missionary disciple.

We are not required to have all the academic answers, but to respond to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and relationships with others. We are called to trust.

We believe that renewal of the Church will be achieved through the renewal of the individual heart. A renewed heart faithfully strengthens a home and intentionally supports (in prayer and action) a renewed community. This is the process of restoring relationships that are Christ-centered in the Catholic Church that Archbishop Naumann desires for this archdiocese.

START WITH LISTENING

In reflecting genuine concern, our first response must always be to listen. We must “earn the right to be heard” as shared by Younglife founder Jim Rayburn. This is especially true in our world today. We are constantly bombarded by counterfeit offers of selfish pleasure and personal gain. We have a multitude of options to “feel better” at any given moment, with no recognition of the deepest void for God in our lives. We are surrounded by messages offering false freedoms and disingenuous love.

To be on mission for Christ is to practice intentional listening. We cannot offer Christ as a solution in this world if we do not listen to those sharing the pain of their problems. We validate their experiences when we take the time to enter into another’s suffering with a willingness to journey with them. This is the work of evangelization. Our journey with another becomes an active work of love through accompaniment.

MEETING OUR NEIGHBORS WHERE THEY ARE

If the world around us is going to know the freedom and love of Christ, we must bring His message to them. We are called to be missionaries within the context of our daily lives. We cannot expect those outside of the Church to travel to our buildings or attend our events, we must be willing to “travel” to them. Few may be called to live out their mission in the traditional sense of travelling to foreign lands, but each one of us is called to mission where we stand.

We must pray for the Holy Spirit to show us how to meet our neighbors where they are … where we are most needed. When we make ourselves open and available, God will always be present. We know and trust that the Holy Spirit is at work in each person, regardless of the response we might see in their lives. What is needed to bring Christ to others is a person open to the work of the Holy Spirit and actively reflecting His love in that moment of encounter.

Evangelization calls us to meet people where they are; we love them in that place and offer to accompany them under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to a deeper life in Christ. In order to meet them at the place in their faith journey, we must listen to their story and determine the threshold that describes their interior desire.

We will build a culture of evangelization within each individual with an intentional effort in fostering our own prayer life and personal relationship with Christ. Come Holy Spirit … enflame our hearts.

We will build a culture of evangelization within our families with a focus on developing safe havens for love and mercy within our domestic churches. Come Holy Spirit … enflame our homes.

We will build a culture of evangelization within our neighborhoods by modeling acts of Christian charity and service to reflect the desire of God’s heart for all people to experience peace, love and goodness. Come Holy Spirit … enflame our communities.