My Evangelization Story: declaration

Proclaiming and witnessing: declaration (Part 4a of 4) 

Personal and tailored-fit

In the recent issue of Youngster, it featured an article entitled Evangelization: the Pope Francis Way. What I like about the article is the portion where it reminded me that according to Jesus, our mission to be fulfilled on earth as Christian is to evangelize.

My favorite line from The Youngster article is the enumeration of the different means to make Jesus’ life known to all: fiery speeches to wordless witness, zealous crusades to open dialogue, scrolls of parchment to podcasts and blogs. Isn’t the line poetic? It sounded easy, but is it?

Evangelization is very personal – it is tailored-fit and there is no one-size-fit- all approach. As a unique individual, the Lord will call us in our least expected circumstances. For countless times, God met me when I failed, when I sinned, when I felt joy, when I was frustrated, when  I was afraid, when I was victorious, when I was tired – just about anywhere and anytime I called upon Him.

Be ready for the challenges

Since evangelization work is of God’s then it will be challenged by the negative force.  There are some challenges that will confront us in this mission. Allow me to share with my personal challenges:

Pride and self-righteousness: it is not about me, it is about GodThere was a time I realized that despite tremendous efforts, there seems to be little or no progress in my evangelization work. I found out the problem was with me: I developed pride and became self-righteous. I started to consider the change of heart of another to be my own doing. The work mission was already a “mining” task – a way to feed my ego. By God’s grace, I was able to correct myself and acknowledge that the task at hand is all about God and not mine.

Super Evangelizer: I cannot save the whole world all at once, only one-soul-at-a-time. With much enthusiasm and excitement to change stone into bread and water into wine, I started to have a vision of saving every person I meet. Eventually I began to feel tired and consumed from all the activities – I got burnt out. It was because I spreading myself thinly.

Then I came across a reading which I kept until now, which goes:

“A devout person once said: In my youth, fired with the love of God, I thought I would convert the whole world. But soon I learned it would be enough to convert the people who lived in my village. I tried that for a long time, but I was unsuccessful. Then I realized that my program was still too ambitious, so I concentrated on reforming the members of my own household. But I couldn’t convert them either. Finally, it dawned on me that I must work only upon myself. But I have stumbled in my attempt to accomplish even that.”

This inspired me to be very wise about rendering service and being protective of myself, because since I can only do the mission of evangelization one-soul-at-a-time.

Unworthiness and inadequacy: even if I’m young and not a good enough, God will empower me. As I grow in service, there were new assignments given to me. The reluctant me would always give an excuse of me being young, not yet ready or not good enough. For a time I was saying no to ”additional” work and eventually stayed in my safe state — comfort zone. Through prayers and encouragements, I began to take steps and exploring new grounds.

Ammunition for Evangelization

Based on experience, I realized that in order for me to be an effective evangelizer, I have to be in “mission mode” with 3A’s strategy: Attraction, Attention and Affection.

Attraction: I live my life being with hope, modesty, order, kindness, positivity and joy, despite the daily struggles and challenges. In a way, this created a sense of curiosity to some people around which resulted to them being attracted to what I’m doing as a Christian. When someone start to ask about when or where I go for Mass or request to be included in prayers petitions, I start to pray for guidance and courage to approach the person for a chat. I have proven that evangelization work is done through the daily words and action that speak about my life – it’s walking the talk.

kindness

Attention: It is important that I devout time, effort and resources in the mission to bring another to a personal relationship with God. As every relationship requires time, it is necessary to spend time with the person. I pay attention to details about the family, those around the house, the choices of sport, genre of music and films/movies and things that will make the person more comfortable with me. In this way, it will be easy for me to introduce to other persons with the common interest.

Affection: Whenever the person is sharing about a concern, difficulty, and moments of sorrow, joy or successes – whether small or big, I express affection with genuine concern. I find it important to be truthful and sincere in order to gain trust and to send a message mutual trust and confidentiality is highly valued. Reality is evangelization work starts with listening. It is always important that a person knows that you are willing and capable of listening, as this connotes understanding and acceptance.

It helped to do evangelization mission, however challenging, whenever I’m reminded by the Prayer of Jabez which says:

“Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!”

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Prayer for Meetings

OPENING

Lord, as we gather in your name, we want to be in your presence. Grant us a spirit of dialogue, illumine our minds with the light of truth and strengthen our fraternal spirit that we may always seek and do your will, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

 

CLOSING

Father of goodness, we thank you for this encounter in which we have shared our dreams and doubts, our projects and our difficulties. Make us always respond efficaciously to our vision and our mission in the world, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

Week-end in Trappist

“As for Jesus, he would often withdraw to solitary places and pray…”  I considered this passage, an excerpt from the Gospel of Luke 5:12-16 for January 7, 2011, as my reminder and affirmation for the planned weekend retreat in Guimaras.

So, after my make-up class last Saturday, I went to Trappist Monastery with my bestfriend Lorenz.

I received God’s affirmation of His presence during the morning prayer when a Brother monk read this passage:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to  the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”

Further during the Mass of Jesus’ Baptism, I received another message of affirmation from the Lord through the reading  and the Gospel of Matthew , saying:

“Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight” (Is 42: 1-4, 6-7)

“This is my Son, the Beloved; he is my Chosen One (3:13-17)”

I thank God that He let me feel His presence during the time that I chose to withdraw to a solitary place and pray.

Prayers in times of Sickness, Stress and Anxiety

Today, the Lord is reminding me to pray for others.

I learned that Andrew is suffering from Shingles and while composing an email to him, I was moved to pray and share a prayer for him. As I browse through the web to look for prayers for recovery from illness, I selected two prayers which I feel timely and appropriate — the first I sent to Andrew:

In Time of Sickness

O Jesus, You suffered and died for us; You understand suffering; Teach me to understand my suffering as You do; to bear it in union with You, to offer it with You to atone for my sins, and to bring Your grace to souls in need. Calm my fears; increase my trust. May I gladly accept Your holy will and become more like You in trial. If it be Your will, restore me to health so that I may work for Your honor and glory and the salvation of all. Amen.

Dealing with Stress and Anxiety

Dear Lord, I need you now because I am full of stress and anxiety. Reading your Word brings comfort, as I ask you to come and take my heavy burdens. I take each burden, one by one, and lay them at your feet. Please carry them for me so that I don’t have to. Replace them with your humble and gentle yoke so that I will find rest for my soul today. I receive your gift of peace of mind and heart. Thank you that I can lie down tonight in peace and sleep. I know that you, Lord, will keep me safe. I am not afraid because you are always with me. Please keep me daily, Lord, in your perfect peace. Amen

Sources:

http://www.2heartsnetwork.org/illness.htm

http://christianity.about.com/od/prayersforspecificneeds/a/stressanxiety.htm

Thank you, Lord for the grace of being able to pray for others 🙂