Does the very word evangelism not confuse and sometimes frighten those of us who are Catholic? And it may also do the same to any of you who are not Catholic and who might think you about to be sold some bill of goods that you do not want.
It is a word that can be challenging and we talked about that last night.
Radical Grace, by Richard Rohr, OFM and found today's reflection: Five Great Gifts: Evangelism.
"I suppose that many of us still of evangelism as a Protestant term. But it's a biblical term. The evangelist is the one who gives Good News. The evangelist has the specific charism of being able to welcome, to invite, to announce Jesus and the Kingdom with excitement. The evangelist is the door opener. Catholics have been, historically, very weak on this charism, since most Catholics were baptized as infants."
He goes on to say a few other things and ends up with this:
"Yet the Church desperately needs a new evangelism. And many of us need to be re-evangelized - or perhaps hear the Good News for the first time."
Roman Catholicism comes with such a long history and cultural context that I think that last sentence says it all. While I have fond memories of the faith of my childhood, it took me an 18 year absence and a long, slow return of the past 20 years or so, to get where I am today. And in this second part of the journey, I feel I am only now truly hearing the Good News for the first time.
In addition, I am reminded - as we discussed last night - discomfort may be the most required step of real transformation. That is why I purposefully say it has been a long, slow return. It is long, slow and frequently uncomfortable, challenging. I mean- why else would we change? There has to be a reason and discomfort is a big motivator.
Transformation requires change. That pesky piece of information often makes what Fr. Pat says so true... It is so attractive to want to follow Jesus.
And so very hard to do so.
Looking forward to this day.