Several weeks ago my parish priest gave a sermon I disagreed with.

Father’s argument was about evangelization and was related to the Gospel that day wherein Jesus was not accepted by those in his home town.  He related an anecdote from his youth where some Catholic missionaries came to his hometown and went door to door preaching the good news in a manner similar to the Mormons.  Unsurprisingly the missionaries received about the same reception that the Mormons get in their travels.

Father expanded saying that we are called upon to evangelize, but not by standing on the street corner and yelling at passerbys.  He said that God dwells within us and the best evangelization is to live our lives in a manner showing faith, hope and charity.

I agree with everything Father says.  I have no intention of going door-to-door or standing in a park on a box.  Nor do I think I am called to.  I also think that the best way to proselytize is to be a good Christian.  No problems there.  My issue is that I think my priest has let us off too easily.

His advice is too passive.  There has to be a medium between the two ends.  Somewhere active.

Some people are called to speak out about their faith.  We shouldn’t just shake our heads at the missionaries that go door-to-door.  We should find some admiration for them, hope we could be them and wish that doors don’t close so easily.  Maybe this is only the role of a few, but that is pretty neat.

Maybe some are called to write.  To spread the word actively.

Those probably aren’t me either.  But there are still ways to be more active.

Maybe the next step down is to speak up when Catholicism gets slagged.  Heck, speak up when any religion gets slagged, but speak up.  I read a Chesterton quote today:

The word ‘heresy’ not only means no longer being wrong; it practically means being clear-headed and courageous. The word ‘orthodoxy’ not only no longer means being right; it practically means being wrong. All this can mean one thing, and one thing only. It means that people care less for whether they are philosophically right.
 The world is even more secular and divisive than in GK’s day.  I’m not saying to go out and pick fights. But just not to let something just pass you by.
And if that is too much to at least be willing to go out and say that you are a Catholic.
I figure we are called up to one level beyond where we are comfortable.
The best idea is still to follow the priest’s advice.  Live a life that clearly shows your faith.  But don’t just try and be a good person.  Do something to let folks know why you are a good person.
Note: I’ve seen a lot of people being obnoxious and claiming that the reason is similar to what I’m calling for above.  Obviously, that defeats the purpose…

One thought on “Proselytizing

  1. I very much enjoyed your post. I think its so important to not just live like a “good person” but that we must also share our experiences and beliefs with others. I think that’s the way we were meant to live: with an understanding of one another. I think that we must first recognize the significance of God in our lives. If we are able to do that, we can give reason for our actions to others. Once again, wonderful writing.

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