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The model of
evangeliser which Pope Francis wants is that
of the apostles at Pentecost.
Filled by the Holy Spirit they were transformed into fearless, outgoing heralds of the
Good News of Jesus Christ, speaking to each person in their own language.
Evangelisers like this do not act out of duty. They act from an internal impulse: they
speak from the heart.
We are to proclaim our belief not only with words but in lives lived convincingly.
Pope Francis sets out some thoughts on developing such
“spirit filled” evangelisers and invites the Holy Spirit to fit us all for this task.
I. REASONS FOR A RENEWED MISSIONARY IMPULSE
Evangelisers must find time for both action and prayer if they are to be effective.
they do relies on their attentiveness to the Lord, in personal prayer
time,where they develop their own relationship with him. From this
they can reveal
their heart felt commitment by reaching out to all
their brothers and sisters through
words and actions.
The early Christians were well aware of difficulties and of the need for prayer to result
in action. Today, like them, as in every age, we
face difficulties: just a different set of
difficulties. We need to
be confident that we can overcome today's challenges,
learning from those saints who have gone before us.
propose that we pause to rediscover some of the
reasons which can help us to imitate them today.
Personal encounter with the saving love of Jesus
most important reason for speaking of faith/evangelising is our
response to the
love of Jesus which we have received. It is through
his grace that our hearts are
opened. When Jesus touches our lives,
we have his new life; we are renewed.
(264) What then happens is that “we speak of what we have seen and
heard” (1 Jn 1:3). …...There is nothing more precious which we can give
we want to know about God, then we need only look at the life of
This tells us about the divine
which everyone in reality is seeking.
We will maintain our enthusiasm as evangelisers as long as we remember
that what appealed to us in
the Gospel message will in a unique but different way
appeal to those
who have not yet received that message.
Like Heineken it reaches the parts nothing else can reach.
But this conviction has to be sustained by our own constantly
experience of savouring Christ’s friendship and his message.
We must know
and sense that Jesus has made and continues to make a difference in
our lives. Only in and with Jesus do our all our strivings to build a
better world make
know well that with Jesus life becomes richer and that with him
easier to find meaning in everything. …... A
person who is not
convinced, enthusiastic, certain and in love, will convince nobody.
we follow Jesus more closely we begin to understand that what
Jesus wants is what the Father wants, and what we in our turn will seek.
In the end, what we are seeking is the glory
of the Father; we live
and act “for the praise of his glorious grace” (Eph 1:6).
In the long run no other motivation works. We find ourselves evangelising
...for the greater glory of the Father who loves us.
The spiritual savour of being a people
The word of God also invites us to recognise that we are a people:
“Once you were no people but
now you are God’s people”
(1 Pet 2:10).
Jesus and with his people are inseparable aspects of mission.
crucified Jesus sends us a poignant message of the lengths to which
his love for
us has taken him. This is a love for his people and for
all people. Jesus wants us to
be involved with him in reaching out to all people.
Jesus models this loving encounter.
He looks into the eyes of his hearer
He is accessible, available, out there
He isn't hampered by convention
He is sensitive to the needs (fears) of those who seek him
a sense of joy, we too (269)...want
to enter fully into the fabric of society,
sharing the lives of all,
listening to their concerns, helping them materially
in their needs, rejoicing with those who rejoice, weeping
who weep; arm in arm with others, we are committed to
building a new world.
shielding ourselves from problems, (270)...
Jesus wants us to touch
human misery, to
touch the suffering flesh of others...entering...into
reality of other people’s lives and know[ing] the power of
Our involvement with the world is not that of a critic nor that of a faultfinder/opponent
but as one sincerely seeking with hope the good of all.
We are told quite clearly: “do
so with gentleness and
(1 Pet 3:15) and “if
possible, so far as it depends upon
you, live peaceably with all”
(Rom 12:18). We are also told to
with good” (Rom 12:21) and
to “work for the good of
all” (Gal 6:10).
from trying to appear better than others, we should “in humility
others better” than ourselves (Phil 2:3).
says that in this regard the words of scripture
should speak for themselves.
Loving others is a spiritual force drawing us to union with God;
indeed, one who does not love others “walks
in the darkness”
(1 Jn 2:11), “remains
(1 Jn 3:14) and “does not
(1 Jn 4:8). ...When we
live out a spirituality of drawing nearer to
others and seeking their
welfare, our hearts are opened wide to the Lord’s
greatest and most beautiful gifts.
loving encounter with a person teaches us something new about
Just as the love of God enables us to love, so each outreach to our
neighbour increases our faith.
we want to advance in the spiritual life, then, we must constantly be
openness of the heart is a source of joy,
since “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
is an integral part of my identity as Christian, not an optional
extra or a part
time activity. We are to live lives of love 24 hours
per day. We can find people with a
heart for this vocation be they
nurses, teachers, politicians.....
A consequence of this sharing of our lives is that we realise that all people are worth
This goes beyond their attributes. It is a recognition that they too are
reflection of God's glory. We can see ourselves as God's people.
The mysterious working of the risen Christ and his Spirit
and the possibility of change for the better underlie our faith in
resurrection of Christ. The lack of such hope undermines any
sense of mission. It can
be found in the absence of spirituality,
which accompanies pessimism, fatalism and
mistrust, and stifles evangelisation.
Once we recognise the resurrection as an ongoing event we can see beyond
violence and injustice to the new life transforming our world, as
Values always tend to reappear under new guises, and
have arisen time after time from situations that seemed
is the power of the resurrection, and all who evangelize are
instruments of that power.
We have to be aware that difficulties and new challenges continue to beset us.
To experience disappointment at the pace of progress is not
to give up the struggle.
Nor should we allow ourselves to be deflected by being caught up in careerism.
resurrection at the heart of our faith reminds us that we believe in
a living God,
who loves us and is involved in our history. More than
that he marches
triumphantly in history .
(278)...May we never remain on the sidelines of this march of living hope!
We know God is with us, even when we do not always perceive growth. Those who...
entrust themselves to God in love will bear good fruit (cf. Jn 15:5).
None of our acts of love will be lost. The working out of mission is essentially an
unfolding of mystery, rather
than a quantifiable series of transactions. It is our belief
our loving actions bear fruit under the action of the Holy Spirit,
commitment as and where he wills
Keeping our missionary fervour alive calls for firm trust in the Holy
Spirit, for it is he who “helps
us in our weakness”
(Rom 8:26)... we
need to invoke the Spirit constantly.
Holy Spirit is the key to acting in the will of God.
For this is what we seek to do in all our evangelising.
The missionary power of intercessory prayer
for the good of others (intercessory prayer) opens our hearts to
evangelisation and complements contemplative prayer.
needs are met our attitude is one of gratitude for what God is doing
in the lives of others. And our continued prayer leads us
to see and love again and again.
II. MARY, MOTHER OF EVANGELISATION
an intercessor, Mary was present with the apostles at the outpouring
of the Holy
Spirit at Pentecost. Just as she was in at the start of
the Church's evangelising effort,
so Mary remains part of it now.
words from the cross
is your mother”
not chiefly the expression of his devotion and concern
mother; rather, they are a revelatory formula which manifests the
mystery of a special saving mission.
Jesus left us his mother to be our mother.
is given as our mother. As the bringer forth of Christ, Mary is the
who was able to turn even a stable into a temporary home for Jesus,
knows our needs, opens our hearts to faith, is a sign of hope for the people
and [always] leads us to Christ, her son.
Star of the new evangelisation
we begin a new phase of evangelisation we ask the intercession of
for the undertaking of this call by all the faithful. Today we
look to Mary,
woman of faith, who let herself be guided by the Holy
proclaim the message
of salvation to all and to
new disciples to
become evangelisers in turn.
To talk of a Marian style to the work of evangelisation is (288)... to believe once
again in the revolutionary nature of love and tenderness... which we see
when we look to Mary.
...In her we see that humility and tenderness are not virtues of the weak
but of the strong...
In making her faith our faith, we recognise the one
- …who praised God for “bringing down the mighty from their thrones” and “sending the rich away empty” (Lk 1:52-53)
- ...who carefully keeps “all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Lk 2:19).
- ...[who] constantly contemplates the mystery of God in our world, in human history and in our daily lives.
With her, we hear, with hope and confidence, the words of the Risen Christ
“Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:5).