November 16, 2017
This past week I read Msgr. Richter’s new booklet Integrated Evangelization: How to Facilitate the Encounter with Christ. It is only 25 pages in length, but has some wonderful nuggets to pray and ponder on. One of my favorites is in the chapter on Truly Caring for One Another. He shares that Mother Theresa would not let her sisters leave the convent to bring Jesus to the poor if they were not able or willing to smile. “How is your smile today?” she would ask, “Are you able to go about your day or do you need to stay in?”
Msgr. argues that we have made evangelization way too complicated. He uses the story of Andrew meeting Jesus and bringing his brother Peter to him in John 1:35-42. “Andrew met Jesus and became convinced that he was the Messiah — the treasure. He wanted his brother Peter to have that same treasure, so Andrew brought Peter to Jesus. Andrews’s evangelization was integrated into his relationship with Peter. It was not meant to be complicated.”
Msgr. Richter is challenging us to see that evangelization is not to be complicated or burdensome but instead it is rather simple and intentional. Evangelization is all about relationships, beginning first and foremost with our personal relationship with Christ and the Church, which flows into other relationships we have with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and the stranger in our midst. All that we say and do or don’t say and do comes from our lived relationship with Jesus Christ.
Msgr. Richter says that “evangelization is about a person who holds a great treasure, his or her relationship with Christ and the Church, being intentional about inviting others into places — relationships, situations, events, classes, conversations, experiences encounters — for the grace of God to meet them more fully and win them over more deeply. This invitation is offered by one whose heart is in a space that is free from fear and pressure.”
He has organized the actions of evangelization into four actions.
First Action: Praying about whom God wants to meet through my cooperation.
Second Action: Praying for the person whom I was made aware of through the first action of praying about.
Third Action: Befriending or reaching out.
Fourth Action: Accompanying the other.
Msgr. Richter, ends his booklet with words of encouragement from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, “Faith is first and foremost a personal, intimate encounter with Jesus. It is having an experience of his closeness, his friendship and his love. It is in this way that we learn to know him even better, to love him and to follow him more and more. May this happen to each of us.”
You can order Integrated Evangelization from the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bismarck North Dakota. They are $3.00 a booklet plus shipping.
Cathedral of the Holy Spirit
519 Raymond St.Bismarck North Dakota, 58501
E-Mail: Joni Obrigewitch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 701-223-1033