Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Tag Archives: Evangelism

Encourage & Teach: Take a Risk, Risk a Share

RiskThis past weekend, I was with 35 men and women on retreat. We all had a longing in our heart for something more than what the world can offer us. One of my fellow retreatants, a young woman from Seattle, shared that a week prior, she was looking for a retreat. Unable to find one in her area, she broadened her search across the country. She found our small retreat right here in McLean, Va. She took a risk, bought her plane ticket and, suddenly, she was in Virginia. (Read more…)

Encourage & Teach: Evangelism Should Be Like Dunkin’ Donuts…

About once to twice a week I go by Dunkin’ Donuts and pick up a cup DunkinDonutsof coffee before work. I have a few options, but I always choose the one that is in the opposite direction of my office, adding an extra ten minutes to my commute time on purpose.

“Why?” you ask.

The reason is simply that the workers there are full of joy. And it is not just the pasted-on customer “service with a smile” – they truly are joyful. Not only are they joyful but they take an interest in each person that approaches the counter. (Read more…)

Encourage and Teach: The Evangelist & Christ the King

PL SHIt is by no coincidence that Bishop Loverde released his new Pastoral Letter (Go Forth With Hearts On Fire: A Pastoral Letter on the New Evangelization) on the Solemnity of Christ the King and the last day of the Year of Faith. Since we have spent the past year reflecting upon the faith, he has provided us with the “next steps” to appropriate and propagate the graces our Lord has shared with us and desires to share with all whom we meet.

What we may not know is how providential and appropriate it is for a letter on evangelism to send us forth to proclaim the good news. What do I mean? Well, we need to understand the role of evangelist a little more. Read more…

Secularism and the Natural Desire to Know God

Check out this talk by His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I on the topic, Secularism and the Natural Desire to Know God. This was sponsored by the Dominican House of Studies through Thomistic Circles.

Thomistic Circles is a work of the at the Dominican House of Studies, in Washington, D.C. Serving as a forum for the exchange of theological and philosophical ideas, it seeks to consider contemporary cultural and intellectual issues from within the Thomistic tradition. As a work of the faculty, it involves collaboration from a variety of scholars from other institutions as well, and invites the participation of students at the PFIC, as well as outside guests who wish to register. It is a series of events meant to facilitate the development of the Thomistic Institute at the Dominican House of Studies.

Keynote Address: His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., with: Dr. Russell Hittinger (Warren Chair of Catholic Studies, University of Tulsa).

Thomistic Circles is a work of the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies, in Washington, D.C. Serving as a forum for the exchange of theological and philosophical ideas, it seeks to consider contemporary cultural and intellectual issues from within the Thomistic tradition. As a work of the faculty, it involves collaboration from a variety of scholars from other institutions as well, and invites the participation of students at the PFIC, as well as outside guests who wish to register. It is a series of events meant to facilitate the development of the Thomistic Institute at the Dominican House of Studies.

Salt and Light: A Modest Apostolate

Fr. Paul Scalia, Pastor at St. John the Beloved in McLean, Virginia, wrote a beautiful Gospel Commentary on Matthew 5:13-16 entitled, A Modest Apostolate, in the Arlington Catholic Herald this week. Enjoy!!!

A Modest Apostolate

By Fr. Paul Scalia

Do not put too much salt on your food. It is bad for your heart. Besides, it ruins the taste. And do not blind people with lights. The best lighting is gentle and indirect. Turn your high beams down when traffic is coming. No one likes a klieg light shining in his face.

Now, this advice might (or might not) be helpful for your daily living. But it can help us understand what Our Lord says about us: “You are the salt of the earth. … You are the light of the world” (Mt 5:13,14). His words describe the relation of Christians to the world: salt to flavor it and light to brighten it. But these images also capture how modest and unassuming evangelization should be.

There is a place, of course, for the large and dramatic efforts to win souls for Christ. The grand presentations can be effective. But they come and go, and people still need to encounter Christ in the ordinary. What is needed in daily life is an evangelization that is a subtle, indirect and gentle. Most of us are called to bring souls to Christ not on a large stage but in very ordinary circumstances — in the home, at work, on the bus, etc. And for that modest apostolate we do well to heed the subtlety of salt and light.

Salt, first of all, works best when it is not noticed. It is not meant to call attention to itself but to the flavor of the food. It works best when it disappears into the food. So also the Christian works best when he gives a natural, peaceful and gentle witness, bringing out the goodness, truth and beauty of God’s creation without calling attention to himself. A faith worn comfortably and peacefully is perhaps the greatest witness that can be given. A charitable word, an act of patience, a small sacrifice — these are like salt that goes unnoticed itself but brings out a greater flavor. People should take more notice of God than of us. They should taste the goodness of the Lord. We are only there to bring out that goodness.

Light likewise works best when it is indirect. A lamp is meant to call attention to the things around it, not to itself. So also the light of evangelization ought to differ from the light of interrogation. The light of Christ should not blind others. Rather, it should gently illuminate what is good and bring out its beauty. The brash and pushy Christian usually has the same effect as a spotlight: It makes people close their eyes. The indirect and gentle light given by a calm and peaceful Christian life entices more than the glare of stage lights.

The subtlety of the apostolate has eternal significance. But it carries more importance perhaps for us, because we live in such an immodest culture. Everywhere we are encouraged to advertise and promote ourselves. Now everyone can have a web page all about himself. And in the midst of this, our witness to Christ is lost. We more than our predecessors, therefore, need to learn the importance of the modest apostolate that calls attention not so much to us as to Him.

Our Lord summarizes this evangelical modesty by saying, “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt 5:16). They see our good deeds — which may be very small indeed — but it is our Father in heaven Whom they glorify. In short, those good deeds — so much salt and light — bring people not to us but to Him.

Fr. Scalia is pastor of St. John the Beloved Parish in McLean.

2nd Advent Sermon: the Christian response to secularism


Gathered with the Holy Father and other members of the papal household in the Redemptoris mater chapel of the Apostolic Palace on Friday morning, Capuchin Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa gave the second of the traditional weekly Advent sermons – this one focusing on the Christian response to secularism.

Drawing on an early passage from the 1st Letter of St. John, “We have seen and do bear witness, and declare unto you the life eternal,” Fr. Cantalamessa delivered a 6-part reflection that explored the relationship of time and eternity, the dangers attendant upon the loss of the idea of eternity, and the need to recover an awareness of our having been made for eternity.

“We need a renewed faith in eternity,” said Fr. Cantalamessa, “not only for evangelization.” Even before this, he said, “we need such a renewed faith in order to give a new impetus to our journey toward holiness.”

The preacher of the Papal household went on to say that the weakening of the idea of eternity is also acting upon the larger body of the faithful, decreasing in them the ability to face with courage suffering and the trials of life. (Source: Vatican Radio)

Oh New Jersey, You are So Silly!

Actually, more accurately, the organization American Atheists are silly. To the left is the billboard advertisement that can be found on the Jersey Turnpike. In moments like these, I am reminded that atheists many times are closer to the truth than we the believers. They have considered the truth and understand its ramifications better than those who claim Christ as their Lord and Savior.

I kinda like the fact they called His birth a myth. While I am sure it was not their intent, from the Catholic perspective, a myth in Scripture is that which contains so much truth it cannot be adequately explained and thus points towards the greater reality. Also love that they emphasized reason. Few know that the Lord added a very important phrase to the Duetero-canonical law. The original says:

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)

Our Lord adds the element of reason. Scripture records Him saying,

He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; …'” (Luke 10:27a)

Reason is important but it must be applied to those objects proper to its study. We just need to remember to use our study aids i.e., Divine Revelation, Magisterium, Tradition, etc. So, American Atheists, thank you for proclaiming that the Christmas story is more than what the words can adequately explain. Thank you also for reminding us that we need to apply our minds to these eternal truths. Why? Cause we love what we know and know what we love.

Oh, New Jersey, have a group you might consider as an evangelical outreach.