St Clement's, Ewell

  • 307 Kingston Road
  • Ewell
  • Surrey
  • KT19 0BW

020 8393 5572


SPIRIT-FILLED EVANGELISERS


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.

Everything 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.



 (263)So I 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

The 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

to others.


If we want to know about God, then we need only look at the life of Jesus.

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.


(266) But this conviction has to be sustained by our own constantly

renewed 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

sense…..We know well that with Jesus life becomes richer and that with him

it is easier to find meaning in everything. …... A person who is not

convinced, enthusiastic, certain and in love, will convince nobody.


As 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.

(267)... 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

(268) 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).

Involvement with Jesus and with his people are inseparable aspects of mission.

The 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


With 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

and spiritually in their needs, rejoicing with those who rejoice, weeping

with those who weep; arm in arm with others, we are committed to

building a new world.

Without shielding ourselves from problems, (270)... Jesus wants us to touch

human misery, to touch the suffering flesh of others...entering...into the

reality of other people’s lives and know[ing] the power of tenderness.

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.

(271) We are told quite clearly: “do so with gentleness and

reverence” (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

overcome “evil with good” (Rom 12:21) and to “work for the good of

all” (Gal 6:10).


Far from trying to appear better than others, we should “in humility count

others better” than ourselves (Phil 2:3).

Pope Francis says that in this regard the words of scripture 

should speak for themselves.


(272) 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 in death” (1 Jn 3:14) and “does not know

God” (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. 


Each loving encounter with a person  teaches us something new about

God. Just as the love of God enables us to love, so each outreach to our

neighbour increases our faith.

...If we want to advance in the spiritual life, then, we must constantly be

missionaries. This openness of the heart is a source of joy,

since “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35)

Mission 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

our sharing. This goes beyond their attributes. It is a recognition that they too are a

reflection of God's glory. We can see ourselves as God's people.



The mysterious working of the risen Christ and his Spirit

Change and the possibility of change for the better underlie our faith in the

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 goodness

overcomes evil. (276)... Values always tend to reappear under new guises, and

human beings have arisen time after time from situations that seemed

doomed. Such 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.

The 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

that all our loving actions bear fruit under the action of the Holy Spirit, using our

commitment as and where he wills

(280) 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.

Trusting the 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

Praying for the good of others (intercessory prayer) opens our hearts to

evangelisation and complements contemplative prayer.

As 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

As 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.

Jesus words from the cross (285)... “Here is your mother”

(Jn 19:26-27)...are not chiefly the expression of his devotion and concern

for his 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.

Mary is given as our mother. As the bringer forth of Christ, Mary is the first missionary

disciple.  

Mary, 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

As we begin a new phase of evangelisation we ask the intercession of Mary,

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 Spirit (287)….to help us

proclaim the message of salvation to all and to enable 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).