Friday, August 29, 2014

Just what is the new evangelization, anyway? (Where is it going, this nouvelle évangélisation?)

I'm sitting at my desk before beginning the day's work, looking out the window and watching a man in a suit who is reading the flyer I put on the door of our meeting rooms building. This happens all day long. It's a regular sheet of white typing paper with words and a little picture of St. Thomas Aquinas on it, put into one of those plastic sheet holders so it doesn't get wet, and scotch taped to the door.

Since I've written the above a lady in jogging clothes and a young man with a backpack have also read the sign.

Even though we don't actually get people coming in off the street at these classes, the flyers have reached many more people than the classes ever will.

On the other hand, the attendees at the summer classes--60+ people per week on average--have once again shown the considerable gravitas of the faithful Catholic. My class on St. Thomas today is at 1 pm, and a nice-sized group of mostly retired Catholics will come and think about how to move forward in their studies. There are hundreds of excellent resources out there. The Sophia Institute has remarkable resources.

So here are these two quite different levels of interest, both compelling to those of us who dedicate ourselves to the Gospel. First, there are the drive-by folks almost desperately looking for any sign of life and teaching, who are not committed but reachable. Secondly, there are the committed, dedicated Catholics, those whom God won over some time ago, who are willing to do the initial hard work it takes to make St. Thomas' Summa Theologiae accessible.

And most folks are in between, living daily life and coming to the Church on Sundays, soccer permitting.

What I think we should do is, whatever time is given to God by His people, let's make that time count. Let's not pander to the easy road of mediocrity on any level. Sunday Mass is and should be the high point of the week. All right, then, let's act like it. Let's have music that is special to the Liturgy and conducive to prayer. Let's refuse to use the pulpit for any agenda but God's. And let's leave room for the Holy Spirit to speak quietly to the human heart.

When the people who walk by and show a flash of interest come through the Church doors, let's make sure there is something deep and true for them to find. Even if it's only the light of faith burning brightly in the obvious prayerfulness of another Christian, let's do all we can to foster that faith.

Too much time, heaven knows, is being spent on blogs and websites rather than where evangelization really happens, as in the passing of the Easter flame, in direct Christian witness.
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