Posted tagged ‘Evangelization’

Behold, I stand at YOUR door and knock!

February 9, 2014

I love the ways that beautiful art can teach us the truths of the Faith and lead us closer to Christ.  I have a vivid memory of this subject being on a stained glass window at my childhood church, and I think it’s fair to say that the way it spoke to me was a more effective and lasting message than all the CCD classes I ever attended!

Anyway, as promised, here’s a little additional information about the holy card image included in your Evangelization Home Lesson.

Light of the World by William Holman Hunt

 Light of the World was painted by William Holman Hunt in the mid-1800’s and became a popular subject for Victorian era religious devotions.  It’s based on Revelation 3:20 and is filled with great symbolism for you to decode!

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

  • First, it’s important to puzzle through the symbol of the door.  What does it represent? (Depending on the ages of your kids they may come up with answers ranging from “your heart” to more complex ideas involving obedience and our free will.  All of those are great answers.)
  • Then, the most obvious visual element is that Christ is bringing light.  Christ as the Light is a theme that is all over Scripture and the Catechism.  If you light your children’s Baptismal candles occasionally, this might be a good time to remind them that Christ’s light first entered their lives at the time of their Baptism.
  • Next, notice how Christ is knocking.  He certainly could be pounding on the doors to our heart – the message of salvation is urgent and nothing is more important – but instead He appears to be gently knocking.  This reminds us that Jesus will never demand a place in our lives, but He is always, always, always lovingly asking us to open the door just a little wider so His light can come in just a little more.
  • You can see from the brush and weeds growing up next to the door that this particular door/heart has not been opened to Christ in a very long time, perhaps never.  But He’s still out there hoping to be let in.  This can be a very encouraging reminder that we can never fall so far away from Christ that He is no longer there.  No matter what, He is always close by waiting for our response to His knock.
  • Another less obvious feature of this piece is that there is no doorknob on the outside.  Jesus will not let Himself in; the knob is on my side of the door and only I can open it to answer His invitation to me, and it’s the same for each of you as well.

There are lots of other versions of this work, but if you want to get a closer look at the best of them, follow the link to the highest resolution version of the original either here or here.

behold 1 behold 2

Heart of the Lesson: Evangelization

February 8, 2014

Evang

Evangelization is one of those topics that has gotten a bad rap in this modern era.  It’s easy to envision someone in a polyester suit and a megachurch on Sunday morning television, or someone going door-to-door asking strangers if they are saved.  I’m necessarily discounting either of those methods, but I am saying that it’s likely the way evangelization plays out in your own life will likely be a simpler and natural outgrowth of your everyday life.

First of all, it’s important to know that evangelization is the reason the Church exists and because you are baptized, you are a part of that!  On the most basic level, Christ has made an impact on your life and whether He saved you from a life of deep sin in some dramatic way or you just feel all warm and cozy knowing He’s there, you should want to share it with someone!

Your primary mission field has a great deal to do with your vocation – you are parents or grandparents and may have a spouse.  That is where God is calling you to put forth your best efforts right now:

  • You bring your children to Mass
  • You work on some kind of family prayer time
  • You had them baptized
  • You do Family Formation lessons with them
  • (and many other faith-based things, I’m sure)

Of course, God is calling you to evangelize others as well and that will take a thousand different forms in your lifetime. You’ll know which direction God is calling you through prayer and being open to the Holy Spirit and whatever He puts in your path!

There are so many activities that go with this lesson – probably too many to do in a single sitting.   But if February is anything like January was, weather-wise, there will be plenty of weekends and evenings where you’re stuck indoors looking for something to do.  Try doing some of them outside your regularly scheduled lesson time.  Each of these activities is designed to focus on a different aspect of the topic, so take a look at them all (or just continue reading this overview) and prioritize.

IMG_7099Building the Church:  The idea behind this activity is that God’s Church is made up of all His people and no matter how many choose to be part of it now, there is ALWAYS room for more!  Start with a bunch of popsicle sticks and write the name of every Christian you know on a stick (one per stick).  Next, use the sticks to make some kind of church.   Here’s the trick though: while you’re building, be sure to include plenty of blank sticks.  The point is that no matter how many people are currently part of the Church, there is always room for more.  In fact, it’s incomplete without them and it’s our job to invite them!

growing in holiness bookMake an Andrew List: For this activity, start with reading John 1:40.  Saint Andrew was so excited to have found the Messiah, that the first thing he did was to tell the exciting news to his brother, Peter!  Think about how you can follow his example and who you can tell.  Then spend some time in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to give you the opportunity and words to use.  Just an aside, but this is a great place to keep the My Growing In Holiness activity from last month going.  Simply think of someone and make your prayers for them your February or March resolution.

Go Fish:  This game teaches that every act of evangelization includes four players: the person hearing the message, the person delivering the message, Jesus who is always the subject of the message, and the Holy Spirit who is the mover and inspiration behind every act of evangelization, no matter how big or small.  The game plays like Go Fish with the object being to collect one of each of these four cards in a particular color.

IMG_7100Each One Bring One:  The craft part of this activity is to create one of those zig-zag, linked sets of paper dolls (do those have a particular name?), but the idea behind it is so much deeper!  Going as far back as possible in your family history (even if that just means you start with yourself), talk about the Christian influences that have influenced you today.  Was it a Grandma who always brought you to Mass, or a neighbor who was so kind, or the parent who prayed with you at bedtime?  Everyone has stories and sometimes it’s the most ordinary influence which has had the greatest effect.  Take some time to prepare by thinking about those people and then share the stories with your kids.  At some point be sure to remind your kids that you are currently passing the Faith on to them and someday (maybe someday soon) they will be passing it on to someone else.  Not only is it exciting to consider, but you want to make sure they catch the vision.  You’ll want to be sure to do this one!

Jesus Knocking Prayer Card:  I thought this activity deserved it’s own post.  It’s coming up tomorrow!

Finally, we’ve included a handy bookmark that has ways to evangelize on one side and a prayer for evangelization on the other.

Apologetics resources

February 4, 2014

apol

Many thanks to Todd Kraft, our speaker this weekend on the topic of Evangelization!  There were a number of apologetics resources shared by both Todd and parents, and I’ve listed them below.

Level 1 – Starter websites for apologetics.

1.)    www.biblechristiansociety.com – John Martignoni’s website with newsletters and mp3’s

2.)    www.catholicbridge.com – David MacDonald’s site that had his incredible testimony and many articles he has written.  A very pastoral website the helps dialogue with evangelicals.

3.)    www.catholic.com – Catholic Answers website.

4.)    www.catholiceducation.org – endless supply of articles that are faithful to the Catholic Church.

Level 2 – More in depth websites for apologetics.

1.)    www.thecatholictreasurechest.com – Excellent website by Bob Stanley

2.)    www.philvaz.com/apologetics/ – Great site by Phil Porvaznik

3.)    www.catholic-convert.com – Steve Ray’s site with many articles

4.)    www.phatmass.com/catholic-apologetics/ – Incredible amount of great stuff here.

Also:

Friendly Defender flash cards (perfect for beginners!)

Pretty much anything offered by Lighthouse Catholic Media (available in kiosks in churches all over the place, and on their site.)

Radio Replies (Originally a radio show by two priests in the 50’s, it was eventually transcribed into 3 volumes that have stood the test of time remarkably well!  The books are still available for purchase, and the link goes to a free online version.)

Men’s Argument of the Month Club

“Recycling” in the best sense of the word!

February 2, 2013

recyclingAnd, happily, it intersects with your mission to evangelize!

When you’re done listening  to the CD that was included in your January packet (Why Contraception Matters: How It Keeps Us from Love and Life), be sure to pass it on to someone else and ask them to do the same after they’ve listened.  One CD has the potential to pass on the message to dozens of people, so do your part!

Contraception CD

Making a list, checking it twice

February 11, 2011

Have you started your “Andrew List” yet?  The Holy Spirit wants to work in the lives of people you know!  Are you praying for them?

The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).  And he brought him to Jesus.

1 John 1:41-42

“A true apostle looks for opportunities…”

February 10, 2011

There are innumerable opportunities open to the laity for the exercise of their apostolate of evangelization and sanctification. The very testimony of their Christian life and good works done in a supernatural spirit have the power to draw men to belief and to God; for the Lord says, “Even so let your light shine before men in order that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).
However, an apostolate of this kind does not consist only in the witness of one’s way of life; a true apostle looks for opportunities to announce Christ by words addressed either to non-believers with a view to leading them to faith, or to the faithful with a view to instructing, strengthening, and encouraging them to a more fervent life. “For the charity of Christ impels us” (2 Cor. 5:14). The words of the Apostle should echo in all hearts, “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16)

-Pope Paul VI (Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, 6)

Evangelization for lay people

February 9, 2011

Lay people* also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, “that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life.” For lay people, “this evangelization . . . acquires a specific property and peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world.”

-Catechism of the Catholic Church, 905

*Lay People (laity): non-clergy members of a religious group

Benedict XVI’s Call For Evangelization

February 8, 2011

Hello Everyone,

I just wanted to post this great quote from Pope Benedict XVI on evangelization.  I thought it was timely seeing how this is our topic of the month as well as the current Family Formation home lesson for this week.

“We cannot remain tranquil in face of the thought that, after two thousand years, there are still peoples who do not know Christ and have not yet heard his message of salvation.

Not only this; the multitude grows of those that, even having received the proclamation of the Gospel, have forgotten and abandoned it, not recognizing themselves now in the Church; and many environments, also in traditionally Christian societies, today are refractory in opening themselves to the word of faith. Underway is a cultural change, fueled also by globalization, by movements of thought and by the prevailing relativism, a change that leads to a mentality and a lifestyle that does without the evangelical message, as if God did not exist, and which exalts the search for well-being, easy earnings, careers and success as the objective of life, even at the cost of moral values….The Gospel is not an exclusive good of the one who has received it, but is a gift to be shared, good news to communicate. And this gift-commitment is entrusted not only to a few, but to all the baptized…”
Pope’s Message for World Mission Sunday 1-25-11

Our job is to evangelize, most especially our spouses and our children.  This is hard sometimes but Christ is calling us to do it.  We should take time to consider the fact that we stand in the line of countless people who suffered and died just so that we could have the Catholic faith today.  The little sufferings that most of us will endure in life seem like nothing in comparison to the saints and martyrs.  Most of us are not called to evangelization unto death.  Since that is the case, our minor problems and difficulties should be put in perspective.  Let’s honor God and spread His Good News to all those around us, especially those closest to us, both in word and deeds.

Yours in Christ,

Matthew Brounstein

Evangelization in your neighborhood

February 8, 2011

“Furthermore, the family, like the Church, ought to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates.  In a family which is conscious of this mission, all the members evangelize and are evangelized. The parents not only communicate the Gospel to their children, but from their children they can themselves receive the same Gospel as deeply lived by them.  And such a family becomes the evangelizer of many other families, and of the neighborhood of which it forms part.
-Evangelii Nuntiandi (Evangelization in the Modern World), 71

Evangelization at home

February 7, 2011

“The ministry of evangelization carried out by Christian parents is original and irreplaceable.  It assumes the characteristics typical of family life itself, which should be interwoven with love, simplicity, practicality and daily witness.”

-Familiaris Consortio, 53


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