Why isn’t the “average” Catholic interested in Evangelization?
by Jean M. Heimann
Yesterday, I received some rather startling news. I was told by a major Catholic book publisher that the “average” Catholic isn’t interested in evangelization. I certainly hope that the Holy Father and Fr. Robert Barron don’t find out about this. Or perhaps they already know. Perhaps that is why they have so much zeal and enthusiasm for sharing the faith — to make up for those who have none.
We are all called to evangelize in our daily lives! Evangelization is an integral part of our faith. If we truly love our faith, shouldn’t we be on fire to share it? The people I come into contact with on a daily basis have that love for their faith and live it out in their lives. They inspire me to endeavor to live a holy life. It’s difficult for me to imagine how someone who believes in the truths of the Catholic Church – the sacraments, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal life–is not willing to share with others the authentic beauty of the faith.
Addressing participants at the Plenary of the Pontifical Counsel for Promoting the New Evangelization on October 14, 2013, Pope Francis stated: “Every person who is baptized is a Christ bearer as the ancient fathers used to say. Anyone who has met Christ, like the Samaritan woman at the well, cannot keep this experience to themselves … All of us should ask ourselves if the people we meet can feel the warmth of our faith and see the joy of our encounter with Christ!”
Whether or not we realize it, as Catholics, each of us has within us the power to proclaim the Gospel message. At Baptism and Confirmation, we were endowed with special gifts of the Holy Spirit, which enabled us to share our faith. At Baptism, we were divinely infused with the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity. At the same time, we also received the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as mentioned in Isaiah 11:2. These include: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. At Confirmation, these gifts were sealed and increased in us to enable us to boldly spread and defend the faith. These are known as the renewal gifts and are the basic gifts we all receive at Baptism and Confirmation. Additionally, each of us has been blessed with unique gifts to perform specific tasks in the vineyard of the Lord to build up the Body of Christ.
Every day at Mass, I am inspired by the large number of people I see who are deeply committed to particpating in this heavenly banquet. When I have the privillege to serve as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, I am humbled by those who come to the altar to receive Jesus in such a fervent manner and who afterwards go out into the community to serve others as Jesus did.
Who are these “average” Catholics? Where are they hiding? And, why are they so afraid of sharing their faith?
~© Jean M. Heimann, November 2013