Are you not convinced yet?

28 Oct

(This is the fourth in a series on our Church and our personal faith as we answer the call to spiritual renewal in the Year of Faith.)

As a lay person, am I really called to help people discover Jesus in their lives? How can I do this? How can I help people, in the throes of everyday life and struggles, to believe that God really knows and loves them?

Pope Benedict recognizes the challenge. In addressing the October 2012 Synod of Bishops on “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith,” the Holy Father said there is the question: How do we communicate this truth to the men and women of our time that they might learn of salvation?

Benedict XVI gives us three movements in the task of sharing our faith.

First, prayer is essential to living and sharing the faith. Prayer is “evidence of our awareness that the initiative is always God’s: we may implore it, but the Church can only cooperate with God.”

Second, from this awareness, he said, comes “confession” of our faith, bearing witness even in dangerous situations. It is precisely such witness in moments of difficulty that is a guarantee of credibility, because it implies a readiness to give our lives for what we believe.

And third, confession must be “clothed” in charity. He explained that charity is the most powerful force, which must burn in the hearts of Christians. Faith, he concluded, must become a flame of love within us, a flame which burns in our lives and is propagated to our neighbors. This is the essence of evangelization.

To bring truth to everyone in your life demands a mature sense of what the faith is all about, clarity of purpose, and a willingness to embrace others, even the entire world, as Jesus did.

A mature sense of faith: To have faith in God is to move into his very being, to be “dissolved” in divinity, and to recognize that in Baptism you become one with and in Christ. Being in Christ, you are a son or daughter of God – not by your own nature, but by adoption. You inherit the kingdom of God.

Clarity of purpose: You do inherit the kingdom of God – and you also inherit the mission of Christ. The mission is salvation for the entire world; it is to declare steadfastly and compassionately the saving life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. To embrace the mission of Christ is to bring hope to the hopeless, food to the hungry, healing to the ill in body, mind, spirit and soul. A disciple of Christ invites the marginalized, makes safe those who live in fear – all through love and a deep knowledge of the heart of Christ.

Willingness to embrace others and the entire world: The conversion of the world begins with and continues through your own personal witness and that of all other committed Christians around the world. When each disciple of Christ lives under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the whole Church is strengthened; our common and united mission of evangelization holds forth the Light that is Christ; united in the Spirit of God, our global witness holds forth as a gift from God the peace that is the longing of every heart and soul.

(Next: Here’s how you start)

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