During the short time that I’ve been the Evangelisation Fieldworker for our Archdiocese, I’ve had to consider two questions that are central to my role: what is evangelisation? and who am I called to evangelise?
It may seem strange to admit that I was asking myself these questions – after all, doesn’t working in evangelisation presuppose that I understand something about it?! However, it was during Advent that I started to think more deeply about them.
I was recently struck by an observation that a friend made about the Annunciation -specifically, that it was a moment of evangelisation – Our Lady was hearing the Good News from Gabriel. It took me a few moments to see the truth of it, but it’s taken me much longer to begin to digest what it might mean. Did Mary need to be evangelised? Wasn’t she already living the full life of grace that God wants for humanity? Then it dawned on me that Mary, like us, is at all times reliant on God for what she needs. The difference is that she realises it, welcomes it and responds to it, and we frequently don’t!
The temptation for me, and for anyone involved in evangelisation (which is all of us), is that I begin with myself – my ideas, my hopes, my fears – and forget that it’s God’s plan of salvation in Jesus that is being revealed, not mine. That’s not to say that God doesn’t use our experiences and desires to reach those he is calling, but evangelisation is God’s initiative and we, mirroring Our Lady, join in with it.
To whom is God calling us to share the Gospel? Firstly, it is to those with whom we share our daily lives, but as we say ‘yes’ to God, He may call us to go elsewhere. And what is evangelisation? You can begin to share our faith in Christ very simply: make an invitation, to Mass or parish event; answer questions about faith with courage and to the best of your ability; offer to pray for a person’s needs or encourage them to pray; strive to become, as St Francis was known, ‘a living prayer’; practice the Works of Mercy.
If you’ve asked yourself the same questions that I began with, the following 3 steps might be a good starting-point to begin to discern your part in God’s mission of mercy to the world:
1. God is present with you. In fact, through God’s providence, this very moment is in some way an answer to prayer. He is calling you to do ‘some definite service’ for Him.
2. This moment, then, is part of God’s missionary action in the world; what is he already doing in your families, parishes and communities?
3. God invites you, not to invent His mission, but to discover it. How will you respond?
If you would like to join us in thinking about, and praying for, evangelisation across our Archdiocese then please contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org or Natalie at email@example.com