A call to bring Christ to others

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By Francesca To

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” This is the call to all who follow Christ. This is something I was taught as a young girl in Catholic school and heard in church on Sundays. This theme has echoed throughout my adult life. It is a call I fully embrace. Yet, until recently, whenever I heard the word “evangelization,” I would almost instinctively experience a bit of fear and trepidation. It was a scary word, which to me implied having to be an expert on every subject related to Christ and his church. It suggested the need to walk up to complete strangers and broach uncomfortable topics with them; to come up with powerful words and to preach; to step well out of my comfort zone and transform into a person I am not. Pope Francis’ “The Joy of the Gospel” and my work on Vision 20/20 have inspired prayer and self-examination that have changed that perception.

It is true that we read about Christ in Scripture and hear about our faith in church and in school. It is also true that we will sometimes hear something so inspiring that it completely changes us. However, as I look back at the moments in my life when I most felt the presence of God and the times that have strengthened my love for him and my faith, I realize words did not make the difference.

Humans are sentient beings. We experience life not just through what we hear, but also through what we see and feel. I have felt Christ’s presence in my most difficult times, not only because someone said to me, “God loves you” or “I am here” but also because someone was there with me through it all.

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Similarly, we all know that offering forgiveness in words means nothing without the requisite actions of letting go and welcoming back. I have come to realize that while we do need to continue to learn about our faith, Scripture and Tradition, the call to evangelization is not about turning us into preachers and orators. It is a call to bring Christ to others, to be Christ to others. It is a call to be present, to accompany, and to love, in ways we are already equipped to do.

Perhaps this is more challenging than finding the right words and speaking them aloud, but we all have the capability to do this. No fancy words or grand gestures are required. Anyone who has experienced Christ has the ability to share this with others, if not with words, than with our deeds and with our hearts.

(Francesca To is a member of Divine Mercy Parish in Burlington and of the Diocese of Davenport’s Vision 20/20 Steering Committee.)


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