The Pope & the Pastor
8. Thanks solely to this encounter – or renewed encounter – with God’s love, which blossoms into an enriching friendship, we are liberated from our narrowness and self-absorption. We become fully human when we become more than human, when we let God bring us beyond ourselves in order to attain the fullest truth of our being. Here we find the source and inspiration of all our efforts at evangelization. For if we have received the love which restores meaning to our lives, how can we fail to share that love with others? –Pope Francis, Gaudium Evangelii
There are endless things we can do to help others grow deeper in their relationship with Christ and the Church. I think of my own encounter when I read the encyclical God is Love or the many people who speak to me about reading Scott Hahn’s conversion story. Something opens up and we are desirous for others to read the same things. This is beautiful. Pope Francis helps us in our process of evangelization by recalling for us that it is not the books that changed us or helped us; but the way the books, particularly the people in the books, helped us encounter God and dispose ourselves to his plan for our lives. When we discover God has a plan for our lives, we can’t help but be changed and desire to pour it upon others.
It is not uncommon that we end up putting the means before the end: the book before the encounter. If we are frustrated at times with how others receive what we pour out upon them, it is helpful to evaluate our actions. Am I trying to get people to do what I have done or read what I have read, or I am aware that the encounter with God’s love is what they need and it is possible He will reveal His plan through a unique and different means. I am then reminded to pour out not only my love for particular devotions or prayer or books but a witness that I have been changed through knowing God. This liberates us from the temptation to reduce evangelization to just a few ways instead of the one sole means which is the “encounter – or renewed encounter with God’s love.”
Thank you to everyone who made September 17th such a blessed day to celebrate our Patron Feast Day. St. Lambert, pray for us!
“The Lord is always there waiting to give us his love: it is an amazing thing, one which never ceases to surprise us!” September 16, 2014 Pope Francis Tweet
Last week homily resource: Into your Hands Father by Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen