The message of Jesus Christ has power for us all and is the way to salvation for everyone, just as
From the master, Jesus, to the apostles, martyrs, and saints and now down to us today, the Good News that Jesus has come to save us is still the most valuable treasure the Church has for the world today. All persons need the merciful love of Christ and the goodness, truth and beauty that come from his divine love. We learn from the words and witness of those before us and those in our midst today. Therefore, rather than trying to come up with any new ideas of what evangelization is, or a novel approach to the subject at hand, we have tried to compile the wisdom of what the Church has said about evangelization and put it into a language easy to understand. We have also added our morsels of experience of evangelization through Ask A Catholic A Question.
Working with college students and having a passion for salvation of others, we offer this handbook for the good of the Church. We hope it will prove to be a resource which is valuable to Catholics who wish to evangelize in the midst of their communities.
Evangelization can be both simple and complex. Simple in the basic prin
ciples that underlie what evangelization is and yet complex in that it touches so much of the Church’s activity. Of course, the most difficult part of evangelization is in applying and living the principles out. In other words, learning and writing about evangelization is easy; it is becoming a better evangelist which is the real challenge for every Christian.
Evangelization is the reason why the Church exists, as Pope Paul VI says, the Church “exists in order to evangelize” and “evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity.” (EN 14) Yet many Catholics are intimidated into inaction, ignore their calling to evangelize or are ignorant they have been called in the first place. With the wealth of information, inspiration and education that the Church supplies, we can all become more
effective and zealous evangelists if we merely “set out into the deep” as our late Pope, John Paul II, has called us to do, when he echoed Jesus statement to the apostles in the Gospel of Luke chapter five, verse four.
We firmly believe the grace of God can work through each of us to bring this important message of salvation and truth to the world – we are the ones God has sent into the world to bring others this message of Good News! There are millions of souls in this world waiting to know Christ. If we don’t bring them the Gospel, who will?
Christ said the number of those who will find the way through the narrow gate is few (Matt 7:14). In the same fashion we have many in our midst who may call themselves Catholic or Christian and yet they do not actively practice the faith they claim. Our job is not to judge the state of the souls of these people, rather it is to help secure their salvation for the glory of God through evangelizing them. But, these are not the only persons who need to be evangelized. All do. Active Catholics, non-active Catholics, non-Catholic Christians, non-Christians, and non-believers all need to grow in faith of Christ and to be evangelized.
An analogy might be helpful in showing the importance of evangelization. If a neighbor were to sit at the breakfast table drinking his cup of coffee and eating a donut rather than saving a baby about to crawl into a busy street, we would consider him not only a bad neighbor, but a bad Christian. In the same way, if we see someone living a life without God and we don’t at least attempt to throw out the life preserver of the gospel to help them find the road to salvation, then we can be sure we are not acting as very good Christians ourselves. Most of us have courage enough to try to save someone who is dying physically, even if they are complete strangers, and yet many Christians seemingly don’t care that others they meet might be in danger spiritually. Lord please give us the courage to evangelize!