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Commission Study Participant Guide (English)


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Commission focuses on infusing our missionary identity into how we think and approach our apostolate and personal growth in holiness.

Commission focuses on infusing our missionary identity into how we think and approach our apostolate and personal growth in holiness.

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  • 3. Commission Participant Guide Created and published by Catholic Christian Outreach Canada. Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved. Nihil Obstat: Msgr. Gregory N. Smith, JCD Censor Deputatus Imprimatur: +Terrence Prendergast, S.J. Archbishop of Ottawa June 12, 2011 Solemnity of Pentecost No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of Catholic Christian Outreach Canada. 1247 Kilborn Place Ottawa, ON K1H 6K9 Canada Phone: 613-736-1999 Fax: 613-736-1800 Printed in Canada. 3
  • 4. The cover image for Commission is wheat, which reminds us of the importance and urgency our Lord placed on the mission to bring the Good News to the whole world. But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. John 4:35 He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’ Luke 10:2 Image © Iakov Kalinin 2010 Cover Design © Chris Pecora 2011 4
  • 5. th Quotations from: Pope John Paul II messages to the youth for the 7 th and 17 World Youth Days, Incarnationis Mysterium, Evangelii Nuntiandi, Address of his Holiness John Paul II to the Bishops of the United States of America on their "ad Limina" visit March 20 1993, Deus Caritas Est, Apostolic Letter Ubicumque et Semper, Decree on the Apostolate of Laity, Decree on the Mission Activity of the Church, Verbum Domini, Redemptoris Missio, Lineamenta for 2012 Synod on the New Evangelization and Catechism of the Catholic Church, used with permission from Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Pope Benedict XVI, On Christian Unity in 2009, "When He Wishes and When We Are Prepared, [God] Will Create Unity". Used with permission. Fr. Jean C. J. d’Elbée, I Believe in Love, Sophia Institute Press 2001 (English translation by Marilyn Teichert and Madeleine Stebbins of Croire á L’Amour. All rights reserved. Used with permission. This book can be ordered at or by calling 1-800-888-9344. Referenced from The New Evangelization: Overcoming the Obstacles, edited by Steven Boguslawski, OP and Ralph Martin. Copyright © 2008 by the Sacred Heart Major Seminary of Detroit. Paulist Press, Inc., Mahwah, NJ. Used with permission of Paulist Press, Inc. Excerpt from Evangelization for the Third Millennium, by Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ Copyright © 2009 by New York Province of the Society of Jesus. Paulist Press, Inc., Mahwah, NJ. Reprinted with permission of Paulist Press, Inc. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The excerpt regarding Dr. Peter Kreeft at Boston College is used with permission from Dr. Peter Kreeft, May 2002. Fr. Bob Bedard, CC (founder), quoted with permission from Companions of the Cross. All rights reserved. Merriam Webster Dictionary, 5
  • 6. Dedication to John Paul II All CCO staff and students would agree that laced throughout our formation on evangelization is the teaching and heart of Pope John Paul II as exemplified in his various addresses to the youth of the world and, in particular, his encyclical Redemptoris Missio. During the early years of CCO, André and Angèle Regnier regularly immersed themselves in John Paul II’s writings as published in the magazine The Pope Speaks. As a result, CCO has endeavoured to put into action what John Paul II taught about the missionary identity of the Church. In 2002, CCO was honoured to receive a personal letter of encouragement from the Holy Father following World Youth Day (see a copy of the text on the next page). Three years later, CCO members, gathered at our national student conference, sent the Pope a pledge signed by nearly 400 young people. Through this pledge, they committed themselves to the Pope’s World Youth Day Toronto vision of “a new generation of builders” and promised to join in the work of evangelization. Canada’s Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Luigi Ventura, forwarded the pledge to John Paul II while he was ill in the Gemelli Clinic in Rome. As we now know, the Pope had only a few more months to live. Shortly after the message was sent, Archbishop Ventura wrote to CCO: I am pleased to inform you that your message was presented to the Pope by Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, his private secretary. The Holy Father has responded in turn by signing, in his own hand, a copy of the text and returning it to you, as an expression of recognition to the organizers of the initiative and all those who participated. With great affection and admiration, this faith study is dedicated to the memory and legacy of Blessed Pope John Paul II. We thank God for the privilege of having been formed under his leadership and in his ‘school of evangelization’. 6
  • 7. The following is the letter written and personally signed by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, to Catholic Christian Outreach on the occasion of the Rise Up 2002 Christmas Conference in Edmonton, Alberta. From the Vatican, December 28, 2002. It is a great joy for me to greet you on the occasion of your National Christmas Conference. The memory of my meeting with you and so many other young people from around the world in July of this year remains vividly etched in my mind. At the World Youth Day Prayer Vigil held in Downsview Park on Saturday, the evening of July 27, I called for a new generation of builders to respond to the aspiration of humanity for a civilization of love marked by freedom and peace. Indeed I entrusted this hope of mine specifically to you, my dear young people. As members of the Catholic Christian Outreach you are generously responding to that appeal through your courage to be disciples of Jesus, living the life of the Beatitudes on campuses throughout Canada. In this way, as you strive to be the salt of the earth and light of the world for others, you become shining beacons illuminating the way of the Lord, answering the question that stirs in the hearts of all young people: "to whom shall we go?" (Jn 6:68). Yes, Jesus Christ is the sure foundation of your hope and joy. Immersed in him and his paschal mystery your own lives will grow in holiness, which is the authentic path of true witness to the light of his loving presence in our world. And so I confidently renew my appeal to you: listen to the voice of Jesus! Let His light shine in your lives, continue steadfastly on the path of holiness, share with everyone "the good news of a great joy which will come to all the people" (Lk 2:10). Invoking upon all of you the joy and peace that the birth of our Savior brings, I cordially impart to you and your families my Apostolic Blessing. JOANNES PAULUS PP. II 7
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  • 9. Table of Contents Introduction 10 Lesson 1 – The Premise Recognizing that evangelization is our deepest identity. 13 Lesson 2 – Holiness and Mission 20 Holiness and mission are interdependent. Lesson 3 – The Message 28 Comprehending the necessity of clearly and simply proclaiming the kerygma. Lesson 4 – The Message and You 36 Recognizing how we have experienced God's saving action in our own lives. Lesson 5 – Heart for the Lost 43 Uniting with God’s heart of compassion and concern for those who are far from him. Lesson 6 – Understanding “Timothy” 51 Taking into consideration the perspective and experience of those we want to evangelize. Lesson 7 – See Opportunities 61 Identifying people and situations in my sphere of influence that could be transformed through the clear proclamation of Jesus. Lesson 8 – Next Generation Mindset 68 Understanding a ministry of spiritual multiplication. Lesson 9 – Struggles and Doubts 75 Examining common areas of discouragement for missionaries. Lesson 10 – Commissioned 81 Recognizing, with great expectations, the work of the Holy Spirit both in the evangelizer and the one being evangelized. Appendix Commission Follow-Up 89 91 9
  • 10. Introduction Commission is the fifth in a series of faith studies written by Catholic Christian Outreach. Commission expresses more than twenty years of outreach and leadership formation on Canadian campuses. In our evangelization efforts, we strive to identify with people, and to celebrate the beauty and good in each individual. We also look for appropriate opportunities to introduce these people to Jesus in a non-judgmental, relevant, clear and simple way. The three pillars of CCO are to proclaim, equip and commission. We believe that a clear and simple proclamation of the Good News of Jesus is urgently needed in the world, even among Catholics; this is the mandate of the new evangelization. Having proclaimed the Gospel, we then seek to equip those who have experienced conversion with the necessary skills to evangelize others. We hope that through this Commission study our alumni, supporters and friends will put into action the great task Jesus gave his disciples, “to go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18). Our goal is not just to share the message of Jesus, but to spread his mission. This mission is to form apostles — believers who, through the empowerment and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, send others to proclaim the message. This multiplication strategy comes from scriptural models which the study expounds. It helps to have completed CCO’s other faith studies, particularly Discovery, in order to understand some of the concepts and illustrations used here. The relationships diagram used in CCO evangelization is available in the appendix of this booklet. Since the present study can offer only a summary of the Church’s teaching on the new evangelization, we strongly recommend some background reading on this topic, namely, the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi by Pope Paul VI and the Encyclical Redemptoris Missio by Pope John Paul II. (These documents can be found on the Vatican website: I Believe in Love, by Fr. Jean C. J. d’Elbée, is another text that expounds ideas briefly presented in this study. Many of the dispositions CCO members strive to embody in 10
  • 11. their missionary work come from the teachings of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Fr. d’Elbée beautifully articulates St. Thérèse’s spirituality in this book. In fact, all three of these works are required reading for CCO full-time lay missionaries. We hope that as you study this material and take it to prayer, the Father will commission you, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to send others out to boldly proclaim that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. 11
  • 12. Commission Small Group Information Time: Place: Leader: Phone Number: Email: Participants: 12
  • 13. Lesson 1 The Premise In this lesson and the next, we will look at a number of truths upon which Commission is built. Today, in particular, we will focus on the Church’s teaching in regards to our calling and identity as Catholic disciples of Christ. It is a critical premise to establish as we begin our pilgrimage with Commission. 1. What kinds of answers do you think people would give to the question, 'what is the Catholic Church's deepest identity?' Deepest Identity The Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all nations to make disciples of them. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), 767 Evangelization is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 14 The pilgrim Church is missionary by her very nature, since it is from the mission of the Son and the mission of the Holy Spirit that she draws her origin, in accordance with the decree of God the Father. Ad Gentes, 2 13
  • 14. It is the duty of the Church to proclaim always and everywhere the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He, the first and supreme evangelizer, commanded the Apostles on the day of his Ascension to the Father: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20). Faithful to this mandate, the Church—a people chosen by God to declare his wonderful deeds (cf. 1 Peter 2:9)—ever since she received the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (cf. Acts 2:14), has never tired of making known to the whole world the beauty of the Gospel as she preaches Jesus Christ, true God and true man, the same “yesterday and today and for ever” (Heb 13:8), who, by his death and Resurrection, brought us salvation and fulfilled the promise made of old. Hence the mission of evangelization, a continuation of the work desired by the Lord Jesus, is necessary for the Church: it cannot be overlooked; it is an expression of her very nature. Ubicumque et Semper Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI establishing the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization These statements are central to Commission. They confirm that the Church has a clear understanding of why she exists. There is, however, confusion among some of her members. In recent years Catholics have become increasingly aware of the importance of evangelization, yet uncertainty remains about the “why,” “how” and “who” of the evangelistic mission. “Who are we?” is a question we must be able to answer with confidence and clarity. When we know our deepest identity — personally and as a community — we are able to live meaningful, abundant and vibrant Christian lives. Unfortunately, many Catholics do not know their deepest calling, and the Church has consequently suffered an identity crisis. We must overcome this crisis in order to accomplish the task God has entrusted to us, which is the mission of evangelization. 14
  • 15. 2. What happens to someone who has lost his/her identity? 3. What happens in our lives when we know who we are? 4. How does confusion about our Catholic identity affect the life of the local Church? 5. How would clarity of Catholic identity help the local Church? The following excerpt from Redemptoris Missio provides some context: Faith must always be presented as a gift of God to be lived out in community (families, parishes, associations), and to be extended to others through witness in word and deed. The evangelizing activity of the Christian community, first in its own locality, and then elsewhere as part of the Church's universal mission, is the clearest sign of a mature faith. A radical conversion in thinking is required in order to become 15
  • 16. missionary, and this holds true both for individuals and entire communities. The Lord is always calling us to come out of ourselves and to share with others the goods we possess, starting with the most precious gift of all - our faith. The effectiveness of the Church's organizations, movements, parishes and apostolic works must be measured in the light of this missionary imperative. Only by becoming missionary will the Christian community be able to overcome its internal divisions and tensions, and rediscover its unity and its strength of faith [emphasis added]. Redemptoris Missio, 5 The Church's roles and ministries are varied and extensive. They include defending and teaching the faith, working for social justice, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, loving our neighbour, faithfulness to our vocation (religious or family life), sacraments, prayer, penance and the worship of God. Let us be very clear: none of these things should be seen as lesser than, or separate from, the call to evangelization. The challenge is to look at all these roles and ministries, and everything the Church does, through the lens of her deepest identity: evangelization. In everything, love must be our motivation. “For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died” (2 Corinthians 5:14), and without love we are nothing (cf.1 Corinthians 13:1-3). 16
  • 17. Personal Connection Being Christian and "being Church" means being missionary; one is or is not. Loving one's faith implies bearing witness to it, bringing it to others and allowing others to participate in it. The lack of missionary zeal is a lack of zeal for the faith. On the contrary, faith is made stronger by transmitting it. The Pope's words on the new evangelization can be translated into a rather direct and crucial question: "Are we interested in transmitting the faith and bringing non-Christians to the faith?" "Are we truly missionary at heart?" The new evangelization is the name given to the Church's project of undertaking anew her fundamental mission, her identity and reason for existence. Linementa for the 2012 Synod on the New Evangelization, 10 Many Catholics do not feel any personal responsibility for the work of evangelization and mission. They perceive this work to be for those who seem more directly called: priests, sisters and a few radical people who choose to be missionaries. Fortunately, there is today a growing number of Catholic lay people (many of whom are involved in ministries and movements committed to the new evangelization) who recognize their responsibility in this task. A challenge we face in CCO is to keep our alumni alive with the same apostolic zeal they demonstrated as students. Some think that once they have graduated, they move on to a new and different stage of life, even spiritually. Although they often continue to be faithful Catholics and believe in the work of evangelization, they might not participate in the life of the Church with the same apostolic purpose they did when they were students. Their zeal for Jesus was somehow connected, perhaps too exclusively, to that state of life, time of youthfulness or period of involvement in a particular ministry or movement. 17
  • 18. 6. Why do you think some Catholics are (or become) disconnected from evangelization? 7. How can we combat this tendency to become disconnected from our deepest identity? Summary If we, as Church, do not know our deepest identity, how can we really be who we are meant to be? The Church exists to evangelize. This truth has the power to transform how we see ourselves as Church and minister to the world around us. We, too, are personally invited to connect with this identity and engage in the life-giving mission of evangelization. Challenge Do at least 30 minutes of reading from: Evangelii Nuntiandi, Redemptoris Missio, or the Message of the Holy Father for the VII World Youth Day. Be prepared to share what you learned about evangelization. 18
  • 19. Closing Prayer Heavenly Father, As difficult as this may be to pray, I know that I must surrender my very identity to you. In you alone can I find my true identity to be who I am meant to be. Help me to see all aspects and activities of my life through the lens of my deepest identity: evangelization. Lord God, I want to embrace your plan for my missionary identity and I also desire this for the whole Church! I pray that you would pour out your grace so that many more would come to embrace who they are as a missionary people. I desire to see the whole of God’s people united in that same call and purpose. May your Kingdom come and your will be done! Amen. 19
  • 20. Lesson 2 Holiness and Mission 1. Share with the group what you learned from your reading assignment last week. Did you find any inspirational quotes? Our spiritual life can be understood as being both interior and exterior. The interior life is our personal relationship with God. It is our personal growth in holiness that happens through prayer, study, obedience, repentance, and the pursuit of Christian perfection. Our exterior life can also be called our apostolic life, or our apostolate. It is our call to mission: our actions of service, witness and proclamation which invite others to encounter the love of God through the person of Jesus Christ. Today, we will look at how these two aspects of our spiritual life are complimentary and united. We will then look at the Church's call to mission, and wrap up the lesson with an introduction to 2 Timothy 2:2 — a verse which will inform the rest of Commission. Interdependence of Holiness and Mission Evangelization is not a task to which only certain people are called. We must not exempt ourselves from this mission. Nor should we limit our missionary contribution to a limited time when we felt more qualified or ready than we do now. The Church teaches that evangelization is not just an activity: it should be the natural outpouring of our spiritual life. From Baptism, every Catholic is called to be a disciple of Jesus and to share in the Church’s mission (CCC 1269, 1270). To be 20
  • 21. true disciples of Jesus and to live fully our relationship with him, we have to embody these two essential elements: holiness and mission. We all agree that for a Christian, the call to holiness is obvious and necessary. We know the importance of living a good moral life. This call to holiness is well supported in countless Catholic homilies, books and formation opportunities that inspire us to live a prayerful, godly life. The second dimension of being a disciple is the call to mission. From our intimate relationship with God should flow a desire to make Jesus known to others. This desire should be a natural expression of what is happening inside our hearts. If we are close to the heart of God through our personal prayer and quest for holiness, then we will share the Father’s loving concern for people. Zeal for evangelization is indicative of a healthy spiritual life. Listen to the words of John Paul II: In the spiritual realm, too, no one lives for himself alone. And salutary concern for the salvation of one's own soul is freed from fear and selfishness only when it becomes concerned for the salvation of others as well. This is the reality of the communion of saints, the mystery of "vicarious life", of prayer as the means of union with Christ and his saints. Incarnationis Mysterium, 10 To be true disciples of Christ, we must live a deep spiritual life woven together with apostolic (missionary) life. One is not more important than the other; they are two sides of the same coin. CCO recognizes and teaches this, inspired by the words of John Paul II: The universal call to holiness is closely linked to the universal call to mission. Every member of the faithful is called to holiness and to mission. Redemptoris Missio, 90 Pope Benedict XVI has also spoken about this in his homilies: 21
  • 22. In this perspective it is clear that the Church's holiness and missionary character are two sides of the same coin: only because she is holy, that is, filled with divine love, can the Church carry out her mission, and it is precisely in terms of this task that God chose her and sanctified her. Benedict XVI's Homily at Port of Brindisi, June 15, 2008 Holiness and mission are truly interdependent. As one area grows, the other should also be stirred to action. If this communion of life and growth between the internal and external spiritual action of a Christian is not happening, something is out of order. 2. How is the missionary life dependent on our holiness? 3. We understand that our spiritual life should activate our apostolic fervour. How might our apostolic life cause us to grow in holiness? 22
  • 23. Mission as Vital to the Life of the Church Missionary drive implies action. As Catholics we have to go beyond simply agreeing on the importance of evangelization — we must evangelize! The Church entrusts lay people with a spiritual responsibility for the new evangelization; we are the ones who have direct contact with those who may have walked away from the Church or do not believe. A disciple of Christ is never a passive and indifferent observer of what is taking place. On the contrary, he feels responsible for transforming social, political, economic and cultural reality... You must have the courage to speak about Christ in your families and in places where you study, work or recreate, inspired with the same fervour the Apostles had when they said: "We cannot help speaking of what we have heard and seen" (Acts 4:20). Nor should you be silent! There are places and circumstances where you alone can bring the seed of God's Word. Message by the Holy Father John Paul II 7th World Youth Day, 4 The twentieth century often tried to do without that cornerstone, and attempted to build the city of man without reference to Him. It ended by actually building that city against man... The aspiration that humanity nurtures, amid countless injustices and sufferings, is the hope of a new civilization marked by freedom and peace. But for such an undertaking, a new generation of builders is needed. Moved not by fear or violence but by the urgency of genuine love, they must learn to build, brick by brick, the city of God within the city of man. Allow consign this hope of mine to you: you must be those "builders"! ...God is entrusting to you the task, at once difficult and uplifting, of working with him in the building of the civilization of love. Address by the Holy Father John Paul II 17th World Youth Day Evening Vigil, 2-3 23
  • 24. The vision John Paul II outlined in these words is the transformation of civilization. This task can seem overwhelming. Contemplating the enormous demands of this mission, we can relate to what the apostles might have experienced before Jesus’ ascension into heaven. They were commissioned with an enormous task and a grand vision for the salvation of the entire world (Matthew 28:18-20). John Paul II further reminds us that evangelization has always been necessary for the wellbeing of the Church. For in the Church’s history, missionary drive has always been a sign of vitality, just as its lessening is a sign of a crisis of faith. Redemptoris Missio, 2 When our lives, our parishes and our ministries are missionary, we experience vitality, energy and dynamism. It is exciting to live in a Church engaged in evangelization! When the Church is not alive with missionary zeal, the result is a crisis of faith. Lack of missionary activity corrodes our faith and pursuit of holiness because it is a denial of our true identity. 4. Why does a lack of missionary activity signal a crisis of faith? How do you see this played out in a parish, for example? 24
  • 25. Reach the World One Person at a Time Jesus has entrusted the Church with the great task of making disciples of all nations. Though its objective is to reach the whole world, this mission actually happens at the level of the individual human heart. God loves each and every soul and wants to touch each one individually. We believe that an effective model to reach the world one person at a time is found in the Second Letter of St. Paul to Timothy. This passage will be a central paradigm for the rest of our study. And what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well. 2 Timothy 2:2 5. Clarify the two key elements in this verse: the people and the strategy. 6. Let us take a closer look at how the people and the strategy are connected. 25
  • 26. 7. What would happen if Timothy did not understand Paul’s strategy? This was a very brief orientation to 2 Timothy 2:2. We will take time to unpack the strategy and the message of Paul, Timothy and friends in upcoming weeks. 8. To wrap up, what would you say are the important points covered in this lesson? Summary Mission goes hand-in-hand with our growth in holiness. Our mission as members of the Church is to bring the message of Jesus to the world, one person at a time. Paul and Timothy set an example for us of how to accomplish this mission. Their method is concrete and carries amazing potential for the spread of the Gospel. We too are called to put this method into action. 26
  • 27. Challenge Do another 30 minutes of reading from: Evangelii Nuntiandi, Redemptoris Missio, or the Message of the Holy Father for the VII World Youth Day. Be prepared to share what you learned about evangelization. Closing Prayer Lord God, I thank you for the opportunity to understand more deeply my baptismal call to be a disciple of Jesus, especially by recognizing the two calls of a disciple: holiness and mission. Holy Spirit, increase my desire to be counted among the new generation of builders, and stir in me the urgency of genuine love and concern for the salvation of others. Give me the courage to speak about Christ so that I may say with the apostles, “I cannot help speaking of what I have heard and seen!” I pray that I may be a “Paul” to “Timothys” out there in the world. I pray for the grace to be faithful to all you entrust to me. Amen. 27
  • 28. Lesson 3 The Message 1. Share with the group what you learned from your reading assignment last week. Did you find any inspirational quotes? In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul begins by saying, “what you have heard from me…” It is clear that a message is central to the missionary relationship he has with Timothy and the others described in this verse. This week’s lesson is dedicated to understanding the message of a missionary. The most important message we have to communicate is straightforward: Jesus. This week we will recall the basic Gospel message of the redeeming work of Christ: his death and resurrection. We will study the importance of this message and learn how to communicate it clearly and effectively. A CCO Story Over the years, CCO has sometimes been criticized for the way we articulate our message. Some have said our material seems too basic, lacks theological depth or sounds too “Protestant”. In developing our material, however, we sought to connect with those who are confused and unsure about the person of Jesus. These people need to be introduced to Jesus in a clear and simple way so they can understand and respond to his invitation in their lives. This invitation to a personal relationship with Jesus should not be considered unique to either Catholics or Protestants: it is the Father himself who desires such a relationship. The mystery of the Gospel is in its universal appeal: the most simple of minds can grasp its meaning, while the most learned can spend a lifetime discovering its richness. What fuels us even more to focus on Jesus is the direct call from the Church: 28
  • 29. There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God are not proclaimed. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 22 André Regnier (co-founder of CCO) speaks of a formative experience which occurred before CCO began: I was invited to a “college and career” event at an Evangelical church while attending university. What I witnessed there influenced the direction of my life. There were over 200 young people at church! I had never seen this before as a Catholic. Although there may have been such gatherings in the Catholic Church, I was not aware of them! Although the crowd was impressive, the conversations I had with these people were what really affected me. It was evident that Jesus was important to them. They spoke of him as if he were relevant and real in their lives. Their enthusiasm and authentic, genuine witness were undeniable. I could see they truly loved God. I was impressed but at the same time deeply saddened because it seemed as though every second Protestant I spoke to was an ex-Catholic. They would share how they now had a personal relationship with Jesus: implying that they had to leave the Catholic Church to experience Jesus in an intimate way. I wanted to drop to my knees and beg them to come back! But then I thought, where could I bring them so they could continue to experience the encouragement and growth in their relationship with Jesus that they were currently experiencing outside of the Church? Nothing came to mind. I left that experience with not only a great concern for the Church, but a desire to do something about the problem. It was at a Campus Crusade for Christ Christmas conference in Edmonton that the solution became clear to me. The keynote speaker quoted St. Paul: “All that matters is that Jesus is proclaimed. That is what brings me joy” (Philippians 1:18). I left that conference with great excitement, anticipating the amazing things God could do within the Church. I felt called to proclaim Jesus as clearly and simply as possible so that everyone could understand and respond. Only a few weeks later, a friend handed me an encyclical that he thought I might enjoy. It was called Evangelii Nuntiandi (Evangelization in the Modern World) by Pope Paul VI. I was 29
  • 30. astounded at how God was showing me that evangelization and a personal relationship with Jesus are most definitely at the heart of the Church. 2. Do you agree that proclaiming Jesus clearly and simply would help Catholics? Why or why not? Puzzle Pieces In our experience of ministry with Catholics, we have found that people are often confused about Jesus. They may be unsure whether he is actually God or what his death on the cross means. They often see Jesus’ death as a great sign of love for humanity, but not for themselves personally. It is very difficult to share Jesus with non-believers if Catholics themselves are confused about who he is. They may believe that Jesus is important but not understand exactly why. As one student explains, "I was always very involved in my faith, but I was never clear on who Jesus was in my life. I had great respect for him and I knew somehow that he was important in my life. My understanding of Jesus was like pieces of a puzzle (death, sin, mercy, miracles, sacraments, heaven etc). I was somewhat aware of each piece but was unable to understand and see the complete picture. This limited my ability to know and love Christ. Going through Discovery, I saw how all the pieces of my faith fit together: I saw the relevance of Jesus’ death and resurrection in my life." A CCO staff member shares the following experience: It is rare that I have met a Catholic who is clear, comfortable, and able to articulate who Jesus is and what he has done for them. I have shared the "St. Catherine's bridge illustration" and 30
  • 31. the “Relationships Diagram” many times. Often people are speechless as the bridge illustration is presented to them. They finally see the pieces of the puzzle being put together. During a particular lesson, a lady in her mid-forties spoke up with an angry voice. She said, “I have been a Catholic all my life, why did I not know that Jesus was God? Why was it not explained to me why he died? It has been hidden from me.” 3. What is your reaction to these stories? Do you think this is a common experience for Catholics? The Kerygma: Jesus The student who shared her testimony above understood Jesus because she heard the Gospel presented clearly and simply and was able to respond to its message. This is the same message those young Protestants that André met at the College and Career group were experiencing in their lives. But one does not have to leave the Catholic Church in order to discover Christ! Indeed, it is on Jesus that the Church is founded and it is him whom she proclaims. Evangelization will also always contain — as the foundation, center, and at the same time, summit of its dynamism — a clear proclamation that, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, who died and rose from the dead, salvation is offered to all men, as a gift of God's grace and mercy. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 27 31
  • 32. In the complex reality of mission, initial proclamation has a central and irreplaceable role, since it introduces man "into the mystery of the love of God, who invites him to enter into a personal relationship with himself in Christ" and opens the way to conversion. Faith is born of preaching, and every ecclesial community draws its origin and life from the personal response of each believer to that preaching. Just as the whole economy of salvation has its center in Christ, so too all missionary activity is directed to the proclamation of his mystery. The subject of proclamation is Christ who was crucified, died and is risen: through him is accomplished our full and authentic liberation from evil, sin and death; through him God bestows "new life" that is divine and eternal. This is the "Good News" which changes man and his history, and which all peoples have a right to hear. This proclamation is to be made within the context of the lives of the individuals and peoples who receive it. It is to be made with an attitude of love and esteem toward those who hear it, in language which is practical and adapted to the situation. In this proclamation the Spirit is at work and establishes a communion between the missionary and his hearers, a communion which is possible inasmuch as both enter into communion with God the Father through Christ. Redemptoris Missio, 44 4. What stands out to you in these quotations? 32
  • 33. The Church often uses the term kerygma synonomously with "Good News" or "gospel message" The word kerygma is related to the Greek verb κηρύσσω (kērússō): to cry or proclaim as a herald. It means proclamation, announcement or preaching. It is this basic Gospel message that the early Church proclaimed. Definition of kerygma: the apostolic proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ (Merriam Webster Dictionary, One of numerous scriptural examples of this can be found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: Now I should remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you — unless you have come to believe in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures 5. How does CCO communicate the kerygma in four clear points? 33
  • 34. Entrusted with the Message 6. Read 2 Corinthians 5:11-21. Paul speaks with tremendous conviction in this passage. What is the object of his passion? 7. What fuels his passion? 8. Paul calls us ambassadors for Christ. How does this perspective of our missionary role affect the way we communicate the kerygma? 9. In conclusion, what would you say are the important points of this week's lesson? 34
  • 35. Summary There is much confusion, even among Catholics, about who Jesus is and why he is important. The message of a missionary is the basic Gospel message: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our salvation. Jesus sends us out as his ambassadors to implore people to be reconciled to God. Challenge This week, share the kerygma with someone in a clear and simple way. Be prepared to share your experience with the group next week. Closing Prayer Lord Jesus, thank you for the free gift of salvation. I thank you for all the times in my life that I have been able to hear the Gospel and respond. Not everyone has had that opportunity. Lord, I ask that you would write the kerygma on my heart, so that I would know it and be able to communicate it to others in a clear and effective way. You have entrusted to me the message of reconciliation. I accept the call to be your ambassador and pray for the courage to live it out. I also pray for all those who will hear the Gospel: give them the grace to understand and respond so that they may become new creations in you. Amen. 35
  • 36. Lesson 4 The Message and You 1. Share with the group how your experience of sharing the kerygma went. What did you learn from this experience? “What you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will have the ability to teach others as well” (2 Timothy 2:2). Through the loving concern of a “Paul” or other witnesses in your life, you encountered the message of Jesus. Thank God for these people! Perhaps last week, you tried to be a “Paul” in someone else’s life by sharing Jesus. This week, we will learn to identify with Timothy. Think about it. There was a time when Timothy must have first heard and responded to Jesus. We should all recall the starting moments of our faith. For most of us, our narrative begins with our parents' faith at our Baptism. In a variety of ways, we chose this faith for ourselves as an adult or at an age of reason. This week, we will look back at our faith journey, remembering when we were a “Timothy,” and how we have come to know the person and presence of Jesus in our lives, especially in the initial conversion of our hearts and minds. The Value of Identifying our Conversion We understand that Jesus is God. We know that he died on the cross to take away our sins — after all, we have crucifixes in our homes and we proclaim at every Mass: “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” But do I, personally, really grasp that Jesus took away my sins, that he died to reconcile me to God's love? Some of us understand this as children, but most of us appreciate it more fully at our adult conversion. Others comprehend their poverty and need for Jesus as Saviour later on in their faith walk. No matter when we “get it,” we must be able to “give it” to others. “Always be ready to make your 36
  • 37. defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). 2. Why is it important that I know Jesus saved me, that I value this gift and am able to communicate it to others? Identifying our Conversion It can be challenging to help people develop their testimony. Often the moment or season of conversion is not clearly defined in a person’s mind. He/she sees how life is different before and after conversion, but when this change occurred is not so clear. Our challenge is to help illuminate the conversion process. There are two aspects we can help people to identify: x Their personal decision to open their heart to Jesus or, x If they have remained faithful to God since childhood, how has Jesus' death and resurrection been personally understood or experienced? The following stories illustrate both scenarios: A CCO staff member describes helping a student identify the moment of his adult faith decision. I was working with a student on his testimony. He spent much of his energy trying to convince me that he always believed in Jesus and practiced his faith. That was fine, but pretty vague. I wanted to hear more. He wanted me to understand that he did not have a dramatic conversion. It was more of a gradual awareness and intimacy with Jesus. He tried to explain how there was not a moment he could identify but a whole lot of experiences, one of which was a weekend retreat he went on that had a particular impact on his faith. Seeing an opening, I asked him what it was that specifically affected him on that 37
  • 38. weekend. Frustrated with my line of questioning, he emphasized that it was not a moment or realization but that it was more simply a process of opening up his heart to Jesus. That sounded good but I wanted to know what moved him to open his heart. His patience with me was running thin. He repeated that it was not a moment, but the whole weekend that had affected him. I recognized that he had lived an authentic life-changing experience on this weekend but, like him, I was confused as to how the conversion came about. After more probing questions, his story began to unfold. He explained how he went to the retreat feeling very distant from God, yet desiring to be closer to him. These words caught my attention, as I noticed that there had been a struggle of faith and that he was crying out. When I asked more about this, he started to see more clearly how things began to change for him. He recalled one of the retreat leaders explaining to him that Jesus would have died even if he were the only person in the world. He said that he had been moved to tears. It was at this point that he realized, probably for the first time in his life, that Jesus knows and is concerned with him personally. It was soon after this talk that the retreat participants were invited to give their hearts to Jesus. He was the first to go forward. None of the digging to find this moment was intended to deny the journey of faith this young man had lived. All of his life's experiences were leading him to faith. However, it was very important for him to identify that he had in fact made an adult decision to make his faith his own. He was so excited that he had concretely encountered Jesus’ love and forgiveness, and chosen to follow him. With great joy and enthusiasm, he left that meeting telling everyone about his conversion moment, because now he recognized it. 3. Why do you think this realization gave so much clarity and life to this young man's faith? 38
  • 39. Connecting to the Cross Angèle Regnier, co-founder of CCO, tells how she came to the realization that Jesus died on the cross for her personally. I have always wished that I had a dramatic testimony. I would listen in awe and wonder at the stories of people who were criminals or drug addicts before coming to the Lord. I was amazed at how God had intervened in their lives. My story was not dramatic in the least; in fact, I would consider it flat-out boring. I was raised in a Christian family and went to church all my life. I have always believed in God and in Jesus. I never chose to rebel from the faith and way of life modeled for me by my family. I suppose I should really be grateful that God and his commandments were never hidden from me." Because I had never made any seriously wrong choices in my life, I really did not find I could emotionally connect with Jesus’ crucifixion. Every Good Friday, I felt that I should try to muster up sadness and regret for what he had done for me on the cross, but I really could not feel it. After all, I had been a pretty good person my whole life." During Lent of 1996, I prayed that God would show me the depth of my sin so that I could understand what he had done on the cross for me. That Lent and Holy Week came and went, and by Easter Sunday I was eating chocolate bunnies with, sadly, no greater understanding than I had before. However, in the two years that followed, my spiritual journey took me to deep and dark places in my soul. The Spirit of God unveiled incidents and relationships in my past that had caused me pain. The pain of these situations and people had locked me into resentment, fear, anger, lack of forgiveness, hatred and other forms of rebellion in my life. I had never before realized how ugly and invasive the rot was. I saw for the first time that I had very serious sin in my life and that I needed God’s mercy and grace to face it and repent of it. It was a few days before Palm Sunday 1998, and I found myself spiritually exhausted. I had previously thought that I had a substantial “spiritual résumé,” however over those forty days of Lent I was aware of how very weak I was. I had done a miserable job of my Lenten commitments and I felt defeated and useless. I prayed, wept and cried out to God to help me! I 39
  • 40. had nothing to offer him: no courage, no strength and no spiritual fervour. In prayer, I imagined myself before Jesus on the cross. I saw myself desperately clutching the nailed feet of Jesus, barely having the strength to hang on to him while I screamed for help. I have never before felt like such a complete failure, and I am happy to say that I received such sweet mercy and consolation in knowing that I indeed do need a Saviour, and this Saviour is Jesus Christ. This was a holy time for me. My hero and rescuer, Jesus, had stooped down to save me from all my weaknesses and from all my sins and failures. Then, in his mercy, he reassured me of the love and of the great plans he had in mind for me all along. Knowing that I have been loved, fought for and rescued from the gravity of my sin (that I got myself into) inspires me to love and fight for the message of Jesus to be understood by others. I had followed Jesus as Lord my whole life, but now I also know him as my Saviour. 4. Although this was not the moment of Angèle's initial conversion, how was it significant for her and her evangelistic witness to have had this experience? You We can be witnesses only if we know Christ first hand, and not only through others — from our own life, from our personal encounter with Christ. Finding him really in our life of faith, we become witnesses. Pope Benedict XVI, On Christian Unity in 2009, "When He Wishes and When We Are Prepared, [God] Will Create Unity", 40
  • 41. 5. Having heard these two testimonies, let us spend the next ten minutes in personal reflection. Recall your own journey. When and how did you experience conversion and God's mercy? Here are some further questions to direct your reflection: x Who was the “Paul” in your life? Were there several “Pauls” in your life? We use the name “Paul” intentionally because to him, what was of first importance was that Jesus be proclaimed. What is it about these “Pauls” and what they communicated to you that brought you to a clearer understanding of Jesus? x At what times in your life did you really understand that Jesus died on the cross for you, to save you from your sin and weaknesses? x What were your big "yesses" to God? When did you choose to follow him or invite him to be at the centre of your life? x From what has Jesus rescued you? This could be your past failures, or perhaps the wrong choices you might have made, were it not for God’s grace in your life. 6. Based on your reflection, share with the group when and how you experienced Jesus' mercy and forgiveness. 41
  • 42. Summary The name “Jesus” literally means “God saves." We are dependent on God and the salvation offered through Christ. We should never take for granted our salvation, as though we have earned or deserved it because we are faithful. A deep understanding of our redemption is indispensable for us and for our effectiveness in evangelization. With this understanding we are better able to articulate how we personally came to know the saving action of Jesus. Challenge Write a letter to your “Paul” to thank him/her for praying for you, fighting for you, loving you and pointing you to Jesus. Closing Prayer Lord, I thank you for the cross. I thank you for making a way for us to live eternally with you in heaven. Father, I am grateful that not only did you love the world enough to send your Son, you also loved me enough to send your Son. Holy Spirit, thank you for your mercy — despite my weaknesses, sins and failures. I give you permission to continue purifying me, that I may better know your grace and power in my life. In a special way today, I pray in thanksgiving for my “Paul.” Bless and protect all “Pauls” as they continue to love and serve you. Amen. 42
  • 43. Lesson 5 Heart for the Lost 1. Share with the group how you have been more aware of Jesus as Saviour in your life as a result of last week’s discussion. The poem, “The Hound of Heaven” describes the merciful and unstoppable character of God who goes after the most wayward soul. The poet, Francis Thompson, was an Englishman who lived in the late 1800s. He came from a devout Catholic family and studied many years to become a physician. Nonetheless, he walked away from it all due to an opium addiction. As a result, he lived a destitute life on the streets of London, suffering from ill health, poverty, homelessness, depression and suicidal thoughts. His poem “The Hound of Heaven” is a testimony of God's loving action in his bleak, desperate existence. He describes how God pursued him relentlessly, like a hound — seeking him out to rescue him from his sin and misery. Thompson's description of “the hound of heaven” is a powerful image of God’s love. The Father’s heart is for the lost: he yearns for their return to him and rejoices when they are found. Jesus reveals this heart of compassion through his parables, most notably in the stories of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son (Luke 15). We too should have a "heart for the lost." As followers of Christ, we should take on his care and concern for those who wander far from him. We will now turn our attention to the parable of the lost sheep to gain insight into the pastoral heart of Christ. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10) 43
  • 44. Lost and Found 2. Read Luke 15:1-7: The Parable of the Lost Sheep. 3. Who is coming to Jesus? Why are they attracted to him? 4. What can we learn from this? 5. What does Jesus do with them? What does this indicate? 6. What can we learn from this? 44
  • 45. 7. What is Jesus willing to do to find the lost sheep? What does that say about what matters to him? Why is it important to fight for one sheep? 8. What does he do with the lost sheep? 9. The 99 sheep in the sheepfold represent the Church. Let us imagine the many different ways they might have responded when the lost sheep was returned to the sheepfold. How do you think they acted? 10. These same responses can easily be manifested in the body of Christ. What might be motivating each of these responses? 45
  • 46. Who are the Lost? The following texts will support our discussion: At the end of the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus recalled that God's love excludes no one: "So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish." [Mt 18:14] He affirms that he came "to give his life as a ransom for many"; this last term is not restrictive, but contrasts the whole of humanity with the unique person of the redeemer who hands himself over to save us. The Church, following the apostles, teaches that Christ died for all men without exception: "There is not, never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not suffer." CCC 605 The majority of Catholics are still without any explicit personal attachment to Jesus Christ; they only have the capacity to believe placed within them at Baptism. Catechesi Tradendae, 19 In the countries of more ancient Christian tradition today there is an urgent need to call attention again to the message of Jesus by means of a new evangelization, since there are widespread groups of people who do not know Christ, or do not know him well enough; many, caught by the mechanisms of secularism and religious indifference, are far from him. The same world of young people, dear friends, is a mission land for the Church today. Everyone knows the problems which plague the environment in which young people live: the collapse of values, doubt, consumerism, drugs, crime, eroticism, etc. But at the same time every young person has a great thirst for God, even if at times this thirst is hidden behind an attitude of indifference or even hostility. John Paul II, Message for the 7th World Youth Day, 3 46
  • 47. What the Church proclaims to the world is the Logos of Hope (cf. 1 Pet 3:15); in order to be able to live fully each moment, men and women need “the great hope” which is “the God who possesses a human face and who ‘has loved us to the end’ (Jn 13:1)”. This is why the Church is missionary by her very nature. We cannot keep to ourselves the words of eternal life given to us in our encounter with Jesus Christ: they are meant for everyone, for every man and woman. Everyone today, whether he or she knows it or not, needs this message. Verbum Domini 11. Who, then, are the lost that Jesus wants us to find? 12. John Paul II said our evangelization should be directed at “those who do not know Christ or those who do not know him well enough.” How does this statement help us understand who the lost are? 13. What is the problem with being lost? 47
  • 48. Conversion and Compassion The Gospel writers describe many examples of Jesus' concern for the lost: from his weeping over Jerusalem, to his parables about coming for the sick rather than the healthy, and ultimately, to his passion, death and resurrection. In the narrative of the Samaritan woman, we read about an intimate encounter with Jesus. Let's look at her dramatic story: 14. Read John 4:7-30, 39-42. 15. What kind of encounter did the Samaritan woman have with Jesus? 16. What can we learn from Jesus’ example? 17. Why is the woman filled with such apostolic zeal after her conversion? What can we learn from this? 48
  • 49. Summary We embrace the commission to bring the Good News to all creation out of obedience to God and love for our neighbour. We ought to have compassion and concern for those whom the Father seeks. Indeed, “the love of Christ urges us on” (2 Corinthians 5:15a). Mindful of how we have received God's grace and mercy in our lives, we practice a ministry of reconciliation with “Timothys” around us. We appropriate Jesus' heart for the lost, and echo the words of St. Paul: “we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Challenge This week, pray and seek to see each person with whom you interact as Jesus does. Speak to them with care and compassion, desiring to bring the love of Christ to them. If the opportunity arises in conversation, share Jesus and his message of reconciliation with them. 49
  • 50. Closing Prayer Lord, thank you for finding me and rescuing me when I was lost. Thank you for continuing to unveil to me areas of my heart and mind that remain lost and in need of your mercy. Lord, you have shown me what it means to have a heart for the lost. Help me to recognize that every person I meet is loved and cared for by you. Give me your heart to see them as you see them, to love them as you love them. Help me to hear your voice directing me to pray for them and talk to them. I pray that I may be empowered by the Holy Spirit to communicate the Gospel with sensitivity, clarity and compassion. I pray that I may be faithful in making Jesus known and loved. Amen. 50
  • 51. Lesson 6 Understanding “Timothy” 1. Share with the group how you interacted with people around you this week, striving to see them through the eyes of Jesus, mindful of what he has done for you. As we engage in conversation with “Timothys”, we might feel we are wrestling with their hearts and souls to point them to Christ. Many people have incomplete perceptions of the Church, of Jesus and of morality, which influence their openness to the Gospel message. The “Timothys” you are trying to reach may share these perceptions. We want to communicate the Gospel in a way that will encourage people to receive it. We should thus always take into account their perspective and experience. Effective missionaries are more concerned with the perspective of those with to whom they minister than with their own personal understanding. It is not what we know but what they need to know that matters. Therefore, we must communicate the message that is most important for them to hear in the way they can best understand and receive it. Perception of the Church 51
  • 52. 2. Which of these perceptions of the Church looks more attractive? Why? Many people have a mistaken understanding of the Church. They think the Church is purely about imposing ethics and morality, a set of rules, or “do’s and don’ts”. Because of this perception, people are critical, cautious and hesitant to listen to the message of the Church. We need to help them understand that Catholic Christianity is not simply a set of rules, but that it is first a love story, a relationship with God. Sadly, this first perspective is found not only among those who wander away from the Church, but also within our parishes. Peter Kreeft’s question to Catholic students at Boston College sheds light on this reality. He often asks: “If you were to die and God asked you, ‘Why should I let you into Heaven?’ what would you say?” The students generally respond with a résumé of their actions. This reveals the perception that God merely measures our conduct; demanding from us a certain set of behaviours and rewarding or punishing us according to our compliance. Some people assume they are doing a good enough job and that God will likely rule in their favour. Others are not sure they can measure up to God's demands for perfection and holiness. Both types of people think God and the Church are evaluating how well they follow the rules. In Discovery, the following question is asked: “Why did the prodigal son want to take his inheritance and leave?” The answers given by participants in the study reveal their impression of God and the Church. A common response is, "The son does not agree with the father’s rules because they are boring and limiting — too many do’s and don’ts. There is more freedom and adventure in the world than within the father’s house." They might provide a similar answer when 52
  • 53. asked why they think people leave the Church. Their responses indicate that there is little in the 'rules' of the Church that attracts them. The Catholic way of life is perceived as limiting, controlling and unrealistic. Even many practicing Catholics identify with the Church mostly on the level of ethics. Some put up with or even try to live out the Church's moral teachings, but often become discouraged by the challenge this presents. Trying to follow all the rules is frustrating when their efforts are not supported by a vibrant relationship with God. They see the letter of the law without the heart of the law. Some Catholics, aware of the Church's moral teachings, avoid them all together, considering them repressive; others put their energy into trying to change the Church's stance and teachings. Unfortunately, these Catholics often do not identify with God’s love and mercy, nor can they express a sense of freedom and intimacy with him. They seem unaware that God is with them in their joys and struggles, and that he can bring healing, forgiveness and meaning to their lives. They do not see that God is alive and active in the Church. They would likely be astounded to hear that the Church is not simply about rules and regulations, but about the love of God as shown through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, and made real and tangible for all his people. Many non-Catholics also share this mistaken perception of the Church. Their paradigm of the Church is unattractive, irrelevant and uninteresting. The gap becomes even more pronounced when they perceive vast differences between their worldview and that of the Church. 3. How could explaining these two perceptions of the Church help those people whom we want to evangelize? 53
  • 54. 4. Even people who are church-going can be bound by their “spiritual résumé” and their ability to abide by all God’s commandments. How do you think their faith life would change if they could understand the second way of viewing the Church? 5. Consider those Catholics who may struggle with, put up with, avoid, or try to change the teachings of the Church. How do you think their faith life would change if they could approach the Church from the lens of the second model? Despite these varying perceptions, the spirit behind the rules and laws of the Church is best understood in the context of a loving relationship with God. Having recognized this truth, let us now look at another common obstacle to faith. Perception of Jesus For some, the barrier to faith is an incorrect image of Jesus. Although they revere and respect Jesus, they do not appreciate what he has done and why they need him as a Saviour. We looked at how this can be true in our own lives in lesson 4. 54
  • 55. Practicing and non-practicing Catholics have, for the most part, varying degrees of reverence and respect for Christ. Although respect is important, the lack of awareness of their need for him affects their spiritual life. They consider God as an aspect of their life, but they do not think they actually need him until a serious problem arises. The bridge analogy illustrates our need for God not just when we have a life crisis, but at all times: we need him because he rescues us from sin. God and man stand on opposite sides of an immense river. In this huge crevice separating God from man are SIN and DEATH. 6. How does this image, just as it is (without a cross) make you feel? How does it change your perspective on your need for Jesus? 55
  • 56. 7. Why is it important to help people shift their perception of Jesus from one of ‘respect’ to one of ‘need’? Issues Speaking of Jesus should always be central to our efforts in evangelization: he is the heart of the message we want to communicate. Sometimes, however, when attempting to share our faith, we fail to emphasize the most important part. Instead of speaking of Jesus, we focus on issues, teachings, practices, laws, rules, etc. Although discussing these issues can lead to a conversation about Jesus, the issues often become the primary message. By the time the topic of Jesus comes around, the conversation has become argumentative and confrontational. The most important message for our “Timothys” to hear is Jesus. Until this foundation is in place, they will not be able to truly understand the Church’s moral and social teachings. We must be patient and avoid trying to tackle every moral issue at once. We risk doing great damage by dwelling on issues with those we are trying to evangelize. A confrontational attitude can create a negative environment in which the love of Jesus cannot be sown. This does not mean we should avoid speaking 56
  • 57. the truth. We must speak the truth without becoming argumentative, thereby missing the opportunity to focus our conversation on proclaiming God’s love. Sometimes it is the people we are trying to evangelize who bring up issues. This can happen while we are sharing the Gospel, or before we even begin to share the Gospel. The first circumstance causes us to shift our focus from Jesus to the issues introduced. For example, as you are explaining God’s personal and secure love, someone may ask about suffering or poverty in the world. People will often bring up similar questions: “But how would a loving God allow for things like tsunamis?” Or, “My aunt just died. She was young and had children. How can there be a loving God who cares for us?” Naturally, it would be difficult to understand these problems without a solid faith. It thus becomes all the more important to bring God’s love and concern to light. In the second case, issues arise before we begin sharing the Gospel. You are standing at a CCO table on campus when a student approaches and immediately confronts you about Catholic “intolerance” towards homosexuality. Or a casual conversation with your uncle turns to the subject of religion, and he suddenly attacks the Church’s teaching about contraception. We may feel obligated to address these concerns before sharing the Gospel, fearing that the person will otherwise stop listening. As mentioned above, however, the conversation often becomes confrontational and we miss the opportunity to talk about Jesus. It is important to remember that he is our message. Brett Powell, a staff member with CCO, says, “You can spend years trying to tackle the issues in someone’s life. Bring them to Jesus and he will tackle them all.” We must recognize that our beliefs are not necessarily understood by those outside the Church. As St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:14, “Now the natural person does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God for to him it is foolishness and he cannot understand it.” The problem for most is not closedmindedness, but lack of faith. The virtue of faith enlightens the mind and helps us see truth more clearly. To those who are without it, many Church teachings do not seem to make sense. People’s inability to accept these teachings, however, is not 57
  • 58. necessarily evidence of a lack of the Spirit. More often this attitude is a result of the pervasive influence of secular society. Our desire is clear: we want Jesus to be known. We are aware, however, that certain issues distract people from the message or prevent them from hearing it. We can choose either to dwell on these issues (which may result in confrontation and a lost opportunity to share our true message), or to look for a chance to speak of Jesus. It is important to remember that if people know Jesus, they are better able to deal with the various issues that obstruct their faith. The Holy Spirit will help them to sort through these issues. 8. Have you ever missed an opportunity to speak to someone about Jesus because you got bogged down in argument? 9. How has your relationship with Jesus changed your perspective on issues that may have previously obstructed your faith? 58
  • 59. 10. How would you now approach conversations that are focused on an "issue"? 11. As a group, brainstorm some resources (books, websites, organizations) that would be helpful to people who have questions about certain issues. Summary The message is Jesus. Problems of confusion, disconnection and frustration can be dealt with when we clearly understand who Jesus is and what he has done. We need to know and understand what influences people’s attitudes and respond to them in charity. With these abilities and dispositions, we should now have the confidence and desire to share the Gospel. Challenge Apply what you learned in this lesson to conversations you have with "Timothys" this week. 59
  • 60. Closing Prayer Lord, I pray for all those who are blind to you. I pray for those who struggle with issues, that in finding you, they will also find peace. I pray for those who struggle with the Church and do not see the life, love and freedom she offers. I pray that when my Catholic brothers and sisters see a crucifix, they will be moved to reflect on what it really depicts. May they see the love of the one who rescued them and gave them the hope of heaven. Almighty Father, I also pray for myself. I pray that I will not be intimidated by the opinions of others, but always remember that you are the truth. Holy Spirit, give me the wisdom to consider the experiences of others and speak to them out of love. Let my disposition and words not be obstacles to your grace, but use them to dissolve the barriers that prevent people from seeing you clearly. Amen. 60
  • 61. Lesson 7 See Opportunites 1. Share with the group how you were able to integrate the illustrations and suggestions from last week in your conversations with others. This week we will do some dreaming and hoping. We will ask the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us in our call to be his ambassadors. The world is full of lost “Timothys”. To whom is the Holy Spirit leading me to speak? To what particular mission he is calling me? Am I involved in communities, faith groups or ministries with whom I can share the kerygma? In this lesson, we will discuss these potential mission fields and dream of how God may want to use us to proclaim the Gospel. “Timothy” Opportunities In this story, André Regnier tells of how God directed him to share the Gospel with certain individuals. André responded eagerly, his heart full of great expectations for how the message of Jesus could transform their lives. Back in the early days of CCO, I was at a Sunday evening Mass and my heart cried out for all the young people there. I knew from experience that many were unaware of the extent of Jesus’ love for them. A young couple sat down in the pew directly in front of me. The writing on the young man’s jacket caught my eye: “U of S Huskie Basketball” I thought to myself, “what a platform he could have to speak of Jesus to young people. What a blessing it would be if this young couple gave witness to Jesus being at the center of their relationship.” I did not give in to the idea that all this would be highly unlikely given the spiritual state of young people in 1990. Rather, I was encouraged and somehow I expected that something would come from this cry of my heart. I asked God for that young man’s life and soul. 61
  • 62. Two years later at one of CCO’s large group events, I sat at the back of the room listening to a couple giving a testimony of how Jesus was the third person standing in the center of their relationship. These two people giving testimony were the same couple I had seen at Mass years earlier. Brett and Andrea Powell would say that at the time I saw them at Mass, they were not living in a dynamic relationship with God. Today, they are married and witness to the whole world that Jesus is at the center of their relationship and their family. That did not just 'happen'. When I saw these two young people at Mass, God gave me hope that one day they would be powerful witnesses of his love. Later, he gave me the opportunity to minister directly to this couple for whom I had prayed. I heard that the young man was interested in a Christian group of which I was a member. I knew of his interest, but I also noticed that he never actually came to any of our meetings. So I sought him out. I saw an opportunity, so I prayed and worked hard to make contact with him. I called him, I went to his basketball games, and I tried to set up a meeting with him through his girlfriend. My desire was matching up with God’s desire for Brett, so the meeting and the relationship developed. I was there when he gave his life to the Lord. I had the opportunity to pour my life and faith into him. Through the work of the Holy Spirit and God appealing through me, he stands today as a man of faith and influence. In another incident, I was walking by the cafeteria when I saw a young man who had been a classmate. My heart longed for him. I asked the Lord for an opportunity to speak to him. Only twenty minutes later I found myself standing next to him at the bus stop. After introducing myself, I proceeded to invite him to a faith study. He said yes, then shared with me how he was finding it very hard and lonely being away from home. He was praying to God for help and encouragement. Fred is happily married now and practicing his faith. 2. How did André consciously act on what God had put on his heart? 62
  • 63. 3. Is there a particular “Timothy” in your sphere of influence to whom you sense God calling you? Take three minutes to think and pray about how you can seek this person out. Share your ideas with the group and ask for feedback. “Timothy” Situations There are many environments, ministries and events where “Timothys” can be found. There is no lack of opportunity to be more mission-oriented. Pope John Paul II says in Redemptoris Missio, “No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.” (3) Let us take some time to dream and pray that God would inspire not only one individual, but large groups to actively proclaim Christ. Let us imagine what new energy and vitality could be brought to these groups if the kerygma were central to their life and work. The following story describes how one parish group was encouraged by two CCO staff women to focus on evangelization and grow in their missionary identity. We had been regularly attending a parish near our apartment for a couple of years. We began getting involved with a group of committed parishioners who gathered every month. During these meetings, we saw a great deal of potential. However, despite a lot of talk about serving and plenty of ideas, nothing significant was happening. There didn’t seem to be much life, fervour and purpose coming from the meetings. Instead of criticizing the dry meetings and lack of fulfillment of the group’s stated mission, we saw an opportunity to align this group’s activity with the kerygma: to show them there could be so much more for them and for the parish if they knew the 'point of it all.' 63
  • 64. We started small by introducing Discovery as a part of each monthly meeting, and linking it to the group’s purpose and mission. Each time the message of the Gospel was exposed, the group's leaders were changed. This revelation enabled them to live more purposefully as disciples of Christ, parishioners and members of their group. We were thrilled as the members saw how to align their activities and events with the Church's universal call to evangelization and their ministry's mission statement. 4. How could integrating the sharing of the kerygma (through tools such as the Discovery faith study, The Ultimate Relationship, etc.) be an important help to ministries, groups, parishes? Seeing and Seizing Opportunities When we are presented with “Timothys” or opportunities towards which God is directing us, we need to step out in faith to make the Gospel heard. Here are some practical tips from our CCO ministry experience: x We need to look for individual conversations that allow us to share Jesus. We should seek out opportunities to proclaim the Gospel and invite others to respond. x We need to sow broadly, inviting many people to hear the Gospel. An example would be to walk into your parish and look for a way to invite everyone, or as many people as possible, to participate in a Discovery group. x When people attend our events, we should not just be content that they came, but make sure they are personally cared for and given a chance to encounter Jesus. 64
  • 65. The following three scenarios present opportunities to evangelize. Let us discuss how to see and seize the opportunity at hand. Scenarios: 1) You invite a friend to a CCO event. Afterwards you decide to go for coffee together. What can you do to build off of this event in your evangelization efforts? 2) You see someone new at mass. What can you do to reach out to them? 3) You are in leadership with the Baptismal Preparation course at your parish. How can you clearly proclaim the gospel and give parents an opportunity to enter a Christcentred relationship? 5. How could each of these situations be evangelistic? 65
  • 66. Personal Reflection 6. Take 3 minutes to reflect on the opportunities in your sphere of influence. Ask yourself: x What opportunities do I have to advance the proclamation of the Gospel in ministries, groups and organizations to which I am connected or toward which God is leading me? x What is God’s dream for these situations and opportunities? Share your reflections with the group and ask for feedback. 66
  • 67. Summary There are missionary opportunities all around us. The Father loves every single person and he puts people on our path so that we can show them his love. The Holy Spirit desires to point us towards “Timothys” who need to hear the Gospel. The Holy Spirit can also inspire us to see how a ministry or group might be revitalized through the work of evangelization. Challenge Take to prayer the things you have reflected on in this lesson. Intercede for people and opportunities. Discern how and where God is asking you to proclaim the Gospel. Is there anyone you can ask for advice about this? Is there anything you can begin to do this week? Closing Prayer Lord, thank you for trusting me with opportunities to share you with others. I bring to you these “Timothys” that you have placed on my heart. Come Holy Spirit! Give me the gift of creativity to see ways that I can connect with them and reach out to them. Come Holy Spirit! I also ask for the creativity and wisdom to see other opportunities for the message of Jesus to be proclaimed. Prepare the way for me. May I have the grace to follow your lead and be docile to your promptings. Give me a heart of great expectations, anticipating what you can do in these opportunities and trusting that you will be with me as I step out in faith in accordance with your will. Yes, Lord, may your will be done! Amen. 67
  • 68. Lesson 8 Next Generation Mindset 1. Share with the group how your discernment and intentional planning is going regarding your outreach to a “Timothy”, or to a group, parish, ministry, etc. Much of our discussion up to now has been about proclaiming the redemption Jesus won for us through his death and resurrection. We have recalled the “Pauls”, the witnesses in our lives who have shown us the way to Jesus. We know we have been entrusted to bring this message to a “Timothy”. The goal of Commission, however, is not evangelization alone. The goal is to send out missionaries. As Pope Paul VI describes: Finally, the person who has been evangelized goes on to evangelize others. Here lies the test of truth, the touchstone of evangelization: it is unthinkable that a person should accept the Word and give himself to the kingdom without becoming a person who bears witness to it and proclaims it in his turn. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 24 Let us go back to our anchor passage, 2 Timothy 2:2: And what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well. 2. Draw the people described in this verse, showing how the message is passed along. (Reviewing from Lesson 2). 68
  • 69. 3. How does this illustrate that evangelization alone is not enough? 4. What would happen if Timothy focused only on the message and not the mission? 5. How does the result change when Timothy entrusts both the Gospel AND the mission to others? Spiritual Multiplication In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commissioned the disciples to go and make disciples of the entire world. In both the Scriptures and Tradition, it is recorded how seriously the first disciples took the final words of Jesus to “go”. Two thousand years later there are 2.2 billion Christians in the world. The “great commission” is as 69
  • 70. relevant and necessary today as it was for the first disciples. Today, 2.2 billion are commissioned to “go”. Imagine what would happen if they were all equipped and ready to carry out this commission! Reaching the world may be a daunting task, but it is possible. The world becomes much smaller if we focus our efforts on building into “Timothys” who can also join in this mission. This was Paul’s strategy. He strove to proclaim Jesus, then equip and commission others who would also proclaim, equip and commission — and on and on. Let us examine this method, which we call spiritual multiplication. To reach the whole world, we could be tempted to focus on events at which large numbers of people gather to hear the Gospel message and respond. In this task of evangelization, however, quality has to come before quantity. While large groups may be attractive to those of us who hope to reach the world quickly, according to the math, our efforts are better spent focusing on one person at a time. The principle of spiritual multiplication shows us that to reach the world with the Gospel, we must do more than just bring people to conversion: we need to build “multiplying disciples.” To highlight the potential of spiritual multiplication, let us first look at the model of spiritual addition. Spiritual addition is simply focused on evangelization. Evangelization on its own, however, is not sufficient. Consider if just one Catholic could reach 1000 people per day and bring them to conversion: x 1000 people per day x 365 days a year = 365,000 people/year. x In 100 years, this one evangelist would reach 36.5 million people. While this is an amazing number of people reached, we have fallen far short of our goal to reach the whole world. A missionary committed to spiritual multiplication focuses his/her effort not just on helping a person experience conversion, but takes it one step further. The missionary also helps the person develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to become a multiplying disciple who can pass this formation on to others. Instead of focusing on large numbers of people, this missionary is dedicated to spending a lot of time on a few people, in the hope of reaching the world through those people. 70
  • 71. Theoretical potential of multiplication: One person disciples two people for two years. At the end of the two years, each of the three would then find two others to disciple. after 2 years there would be 3 after 4 years there would be 9 after 10 years there would be 243 after 20 years there would be 59048 after 30 years there would be 14,348,907 after 32 years there would be 43,046,721 (approximately Canada's population) x after 36 years there would be 387,420,489 (approximately USA's population) x after 42 years there would be 10.46 billion — the whole world would be reached! x x x x x x By focusing on just two people for two years, helping them not only to experience conversion, but building them up to be multiplying disciples, we can reach the world in our own lifetime! 6. How do you feel about this model and your part in it? 71
  • 72. Multiplying Ministry A CCO staff member shares how challenging it is to stay focused on this important multiplication mindset: Throughout history, it has been through people that God has accomplished his purposes for spreading the Gospel. We also need to work through people to help accomplish God’s plan. The challenge of working through people is that it requires time, effort, sacrifice and hard work. It is common among Catholics working in evangelization to focus their energies on seeking out and forming good Catholics. Their desire to evangelize can soon transform into one of community building. While it is good to seek out and build community with other Catholics, this is not the work of evangelization — this is the work of fellowship. For example, a few years ago a group of Catholic students began a prayer meeting. Their focus was “evangelization of the campus”. I was very impressed by their faith and excitement, and the number of people coming to their meeting each week. There was something very good happening for these faithful students. I noticed, however, that there were no active outreach efforts happening to meet their goals. I encouraged them to do more than just talk about reaching out; they must go out and do the work of evangelization. Even more, they should be building up and multiplying themselves so that when they move on, there would be someone there to take their place. It was only a matter of time before their initial excitement faded. There was little impact on the campus because there was little reaching out into the campus. As you can imagine, four years after the original leaders graduated, there was no one to pick up the vision for evangelization. Evangelization is very different from community building, and being missionary is much more than evangelization. As a movement, we do not simply want to gather all the good Catholics to support and encourage each other in the work of evangelization. Our desire is to invest our energies in reaching out to the lost, bringing them back, building them up and sending them out. Is is important not only to build community but to build the mission. We must gather people to whom we can entrust the work of multiplication. 72
  • 73. Our “Timothy’s” “Timothy’s” “Timothy” 7. Did you have to read that section title a few times? What does it mean? 8. Why is it important for us to have this paradigm in our ministry and mission? 9. How can we give our “Timothy” a next generation missionary mindset? Summary A missionary’s desire is that Jesus would be proclaimed, for as Paul says, “that is what brings me joy” (Philippians 1:18). The greatest hope of a missionary, however, is that the person he/she evangelizes will be empowered to proclaim Jesus to others. The objective of a disciple with a next-generation mindset is to pass on the message and the mission to another. “And what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well.” (2 Timothy 2:2). 73
  • 74. Challenge In Lesson 7, we took time to pray and dream about potential “Timothys” or outreach situations. At the time, we were likely seeing this only from the perspective of evangelization. Your challenge this week is to continue praying and dreaming about the people and opportunities the Holy Spirit brought to mind in Lesson 7. This time, however, ask yourself: x How can I have a next generation mindset with this person or opportunity? x What is the bigger picture I was missing before? x How could these people or opportunities have a multiplying effect?" Be prepared to share with the group next week. Closing Prayer Father, we unite ourselves with Jesus’ prayer for his disciples in the Gospel of John. "I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word" (John 17:20). We pray for our "Timothys", for our “Timothy’s Timothy’s Timothy”, and for all those who will hear through their witness. We pray for the generations of believers who will follow from their apostolic labours. Holy Spirit, empower them to be your instruments to evangelize and mobilize others to be missionary. May their lives and their witness leave a legacy — that Jesus is proclaimed, one person at a time, to all creation. May you forever be glorified in all our lives. Amen. 74
  • 75. Lesson 9 Struggles and Doubts 1. Break into pairs to share your new insights, hopes and strategies for your “Timothys” and evangelistic opportunities. Discuss how you have adapted your original ideas from Lesson 7 to include a next generation mindset. Last week, our understanding of the call to be missionary was widened through learning about spiritual multiplication. This week, we will look at some of the challenges we might encounter in our ministry. Opposition A ministry of spiritual multiplication carries amazing possibilities. To the enemy, these possibilities are very dangerous. Our approach is strategic, and so is his. Don't be surprised when he tries to sabotage missionary efforts. St. Peter gives us important guidance on this. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5: 8-10 2. What are some ways we encounter spiritual warfare? 75
  • 76. 3. What advice does St. Peter offer us? There are other ways we can be tempted to despair in our missionary efforts. This can happen (1) when there is a lack of success, or (2) when we feel a lack of confidence. Lack of Success What if you have tried to revitalize a certain ministry in your parish but nothing seems to be changing? Or perhaps you’ve been working with a “Timothy” for a long time, but they are not really interested in spiritual multiplication. How do you deal with this apparent lack of success? What is going on? Mother Teresa is often quoted as saying: “God has not called me to be successful; he has called me to be faithful.” We need to have this truth engrained in our missionary hearts, so that we have proper perspective when we are discouraged in ministry. 4. How might this quote change our perspective when struggling with lack of success? Lack of success can cause us great suffering. It is a cross we bear that challenges our pride (which would love to see obvious results). This suffering is part of being a disciple of Christ. Lack of success is one of the many sacrifices we can offer for our “Timothys” and for the greater glory of God. 76
  • 77. Lack of Confidence We understand the Church’s call to evangelization and the need for multiplying missionaries. We are enthusiastic about this ideal and want to see it accomplished. The trouble is, we do not believe we would be any good at actually doing it. Who would want to follow us? We will not be able to do this! God will not use us. 5. What is the lie here? 6. How could like-minded friends encourage us? We are not alone in this mission, nor in our trepidation before it. In fact, we are in the company of heroes. Courageous men and women such as Moses, Esther, and Jeremiah rose to the challenge of God’s call. But even these great heroes of the faith did not think they were qualified for the task. They had to put their trust in God and not in their own abilities. We must do the same. Mary gives us the greatest example of this disposition: “May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Let us follow her example and her words by doing whatever the Lord tells us to do (rf. John 2:5). 77
  • 78. 7. Jeremiah is a great model for us. Read these two passages: Jeremiah 1:5-8 and Jeremiah 17:7. What can we learn about confidence, or the lack thereof, from Jeremiah’s life and words? . In St. Thérèse's spirituality, she is very aware of her inabilities, and purely chooses to trust in God's abilities instead of her own. Here's how she defines holiness: A disposition of the heart which makes us humble and small in the arms of God, conscious of our weakness, and confident to the point of audacity in the goodness of our Father. I Believe in Love, p. 20 8. How does this encourage us if we feel incapable before the task ahead of us? 78
  • 79. Eternal Perspective 9. Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-18. What is Paul’s perspective on struggles, challenges and suffering? How does he apply this perspective to his mission and ministry? 10. How do holiness and mission interact in this passage? Summary When we learn to expect opposition and understand the tactics being used on us, we can be ready to counteract. We must not allow our perceived lack of success or feelings of inadequacy to stifle our missionary spirit. 79
  • 80. Challenge Memorize one of these quotes: God has not called me to be successful; he has called me to be faithful. Mother Teresa A disposition of the heart which makes us humble and small in the arms of God, conscious of our weakness, and confident to the point of audacity in the goodness of our Father. St. Thérèse of Lisieux Closing Prayer Heavenly Father, we turn to you with the words of St. Paul: “I believed, and so I spoke” — we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. We know you will restore, support, strengthen and establish us in the mission. Lord Jesus, though we will encounter suffering and sacrifice along the way, let us unite it to your ultimate act of redemptive suffering on the cross. Thank you for the opportunity to win graces not only for ourselves, but for the Church as a whole and for individual “Timothys”. Holy Spirit, keep our minds and hearts enlightened so as to live always with an eternal perspective. (2 Corinthians 4:13b-20). Amen. 80
  • 81. Lesson 10 Commissioned 1. Recite the quote you memorized last week. Why did you choose that particular quote? The Source of Great Expectations An excerpt from Father Jean C. J. d’Elbée’s book on the spirituality of St. Thérèse of Lisieux beautifully links the concepts from last week on the trials of the missionary life to this week’s theme of hope and great expectations. In any case, there will be failures, contradictions, very difficult moments and sometimes very distressing ones. But if there is, on our part, this total confidence which we ought to have in Jesus, He will take care of everything. He will bring good out of evil and even, as I have already told you a greater good than if there had been no evil; and the trial will have been an immense good for us. Yes do everything as if it all depended on you, and leave the results to the Divine Master, on whom everything really depends. I Believe in Love, p. 91 We desire to see lives changed: not only the lives of others, but our own as well. For this to happen, we need to have a heart filled with confidence that God will act. We must have faith, trusting that God will do something incredible. We take the phrase "great expectations" not so much from Dickens as from Ephesians 3:20, which speaks of "him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.” Great expectations can significantly influence our faith and how we share it with others. 81
  • 82. 2. How can "great expectations" significantly influence our faith and how we share it with others? 3. A word of caution about exercising "great expectations" is that one could become demanding rather than hopeful in the way we expect God to act. We could be tempted to slip into a spirit of entitlement. How can we avoid this? Indispensable What exactly is this "power at work within us" we hear in Ephesians 3:20? This power is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit as the primary agent of mission is the focus of today's lesson. The Holy Spirit is the sometimes forgotten and misunderstood third Person of the Trinity; and we tend to politely avoid him. We just don't know how to relate intimately to "a dove", "a fire" or "a cloud" in the same way we relate to the Father or the Son. Yet Scriptures tell us that we are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), and the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is the same Spirit alive in us today! (Ephesians 2:18-21). He is so intimately connected to us that he is inside of us — directing and empower us! 82
  • 83. As missionaries, we cannot limp forward with an unformed knowledge and experience of the Holy Spirit. We must know at our very core that the Holy Spirit is indispensable to our life, and in particular to our missionary life. From some earlier presentations of evangelization and missionary activity, one might get the impression that, while the Holy Spirit inspired the apostles, apostolic activity in subsequent generations depends on merely human initiative. Avery Cardinal Dulles, Evangelization in the Third Millennium, 10 How tragic it would be if we left this study with the same impression! Over the past several weeks, we have studied Scripture, Church teachings and missionary methods. None of this has any power or efficacy without the activity and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. It is only through the Holy Spirit that we have grace to do good, especially the good work of evangelization. Vatican II and numerous papal documents underline the Church's teaching on the primacy of the Holy Spirit in evangelization. Today we will focus on a large section from Pope Paul VI's encyclical Evangelii Nuntiandi, 75. 4. Underline key phrases as the selection is read aloud. Evangelization will never be possible without the action of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit descends on Jesus of Nazareth at the moment of His baptism when the voice of the Father — "This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased" — manifests in an external way the election of Jesus and His mission. Jesus is "led by the Spirit" to experience in the desert the decisive combat and the supreme test before beginning this mission. It is "in the power of the Spirit" that He returns to Galilee and begins His preaching at Nazareth, applying to Himself the passage of Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me." And He proclaims: "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled." To the disciples whom He was about to send forth He says, breathing on them, "Receive the Holy Spirit." 83
  • 84. In fact, it is only after the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost that the apostles depart to all the ends of the earth in order to begin the great work of the Church's evangelization. Peter explains this event as the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel: "I will pour out my spirit." Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit so that he can speak to the people about Jesus, the Son of God. Paul too is filled with the Holy Spirit before dedicating himself to his apostolic ministry, as is Stephen when he is chosen for the ministry of service and later on for the witness of blood. The Spirit, who causes Peter, Paul and the Twelve to speak, and who inspires the words that they are to utter, also comes down "on those who heard the word." It is in the "consolation of the Holy Spirit" that the Church increases. The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church. It is He who explains to the faithful the deep meaning of the teaching of Jesus and of His mystery. It is the Holy Spirit who, today just as at the beginning of the Church, acts in every evangelizer who allows himself to be possessed and led by Him. The Holy Spirit places on his lips the words which he could not find by himself, and at the same time the Holy Spirit predisposes the soul of the hearer to be open and receptive to the Good News and to the kingdom being proclaimed. Techniques of evangelization are good, but even the most advanced ones could not replace the gentle action of the Spirit. The most perfect preparation of the evangelizer has no effect without the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit the most convincing dialectic has no power over the heart of man. Without Him the most highly developed schemas resting on a sociological or psychological basis are quickly seen to be quite valueless. We live in the Church at a privileged moment of the Spirit. Everywhere people are trying to know Him better, as the Scripture reveals Him. They are happy to place themselves under His inspiration. They are gathering about Him; they want to let themselves be led by Him. Now if the Spirit of God has a preeminent place in the whole life of the Church, it is in her evangelizing 84
  • 85. mission that He is most active. It is not by chance that the great inauguration of evangelization took place on the morning of Pentecost, under the inspiration of the Spirit. It must be said that the Holy Spirit is the principal agent of evangelization: it is He who impels each individual to proclaim the Gospel, and it is He who in the depths of consciences causes the word of salvation to be accepted and understood. 5. How does Pope Paul VI describe the action of the Holy Spirit in: a) evangelization b) the evangelizer c) the one being evangelized? 85
  • 86. 6. Redemptoris Missio, 45, also speaks about the working of the Holy Spirit in evangelization. Underline key words as it is read. In proclaiming Christ to non-Christians, the missionary is convinced that, through the working of the Spirit, there already exists in individuals and peoples an expectation, even if an unconscious one, of knowing the truth about God, about man, and about how we are to be set free from sin and death. The missionary's enthusiasm in proclaiming Christ comes from the conviction that he is responding to that expectation, and so he does not become discouraged or cease his witness even when he is called to manifest his faith in an environment that is hostile or indifferent. He knows that the Spirit of the Father is speaking through him and he can say with the apostles: "We are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit" (Acts 5:32). He knows that he is not proclaiming a human truth, but the "word of God," which has an intrinsic and mysterious power of its own. Redemptoris Missio, 45 7. What does Pope John Paul II tell us about our missionary efforts? 8. How does the Holy Spirit allow us to have great expectations in our mission? How does he affect your specific mission to your "Timothys"? 86
  • 87. Summary The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church…. The Spirit prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ. The Spirit manifests the risen Lord to them, recalls his word to them and opens their minds to the understanding of his Death and Resurrection. He makes present the mystery of Christ, supremely in the Eucharist, in order to reconcile them, to bring them into communion with God, that they may "bear much fruit." CCC 737 Because we are assured of the Holy Spirit's direct activity in evangelization, we can have a heart of great expectations that God is truly seeking and able to speak to people's hearts as we step out in faith and witness to our faith in Jesus Christ. At the end of this final lesson, Commission sends its participants out — commissioned and empowered by the Holy Spirit to pass on the message and the mission. Consider yourselves sent to go and bear much fruit for the greater glory of God! Closing Prayer Understanding the Holy Spirit as the primary agent of evangelization, and his active and indispensable role in all missionary efforts, let us now take a moment to invite the Holy Spirit to activate the graces and gifts we received at our Baptism and Confirmation, so that we might be strengthened for the ministry to which we are called. 1. As a group, pray for the Holy Spirit to be stirred up in your lives. x For openness and docility to the Holy Spirit. x For the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit to be active and effective in our lives. x To invite the Holy Spirit to have his way in the lives of the "Timothys" to whom we feel called to reach. x To invite the Holy Spirit to direct the plans and projects we feel he is leading us to undertake. 87
  • 88. 2. Pray for each member of the group individually. Throughout the Bible, the "laying on of hands" is modelled as an effective way to pray for someone, especially when invoking the Holy Spirit (e.g. Acts 19:6). Take turns praying briefly in this way for each member. Suggested prayers: Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth. Or Stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and selfcontrol. (2 Timothy 1:6-7) 3. Together, pray aloud the "CCO Apostles' Prayer". CCO Apostles’ Prayer Lord, when you called Abraham, he responded, “Ready.” When you called Isaiah, he answered, “Here I am Lord.” When the angel Gabriel called out to Mary, she responded, “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.” Lord, I hear you calling my name. I hear you entrusting me with the task of building your kingdom. Like those holy men and women who have gone before me, I give you my ‘yes!’ I will go anywhere you want me to go. I will do anything you want me to do. I will say anything you want me to say. Holy Spirit I welcome you and ask you to guide me. Form in me an apostle’s heart — filled with love for Christ and zeal for souls. I will commit myself with courage and generosity to the New Evangelization. I will build brick-by-brick, the city of God inside the city of man. Amen. * “I will build brick-by-brick, the city of God inside the city of man” is taken from Pope John Paul II’s homily at WYD Toronto on the evening of July 27, 2002. 88
  • 89. Appendix The Relationships Diagram The relationships diagram is an effective tool to help people open their hearts to Jesus. It also helps people to understand the kind of relationship he desires to have with us: a relationship of friendship, intimacy, commitment, fidelity, mercy and love. The top three images represent levels of commitment in three kinds of human relationships. The dashes around the person represent various aspects of their life such as: career, school, family, recreation, etc. The first image represents someone who is single; there is no romantic relationship in their life. The second image represents someone who is dating. This relationship is a part of their life, 89
  • 90. but commitment is limited. The third image represents someone who is married; there is an intimate relationship and a permanent mutual commitment. Let's compare this to our relationship with God The bottom three images represent levels of commitment in a relationship with God. The first image represents someone who does not have a relationship with Jesus. As far as this person is concerned, Jesus is outside their life. The second image represents someone who acknowledges Jesus as a part of their life, but has not completely committed to him. Jesus is just one aspect of their life among many others. The third image represents a Christ-centered relationship. This relationship is primary and central, influencing all decisions and every aspect of their life. Which image best represents your relationship with God? Which image would you like to have represent your relationship with God? 90
  • 91. Commission Follow-Up Objective: to help participants make a personal plan for their “Timothy”. 1. Brainstorm: To whom do I sense the Lord calling me to reach out? What opportunities for evangelization is he presenting to me? 2. Select: Select just one “Timothy” for now. 3. Plan: a) For a “Timothy”: x What are my dreams, hopes and great expectations for my “Timothy”? x Am I willing to love him/her, listen to him/her, and truly communicate God's love and care for him/her in a nonjudgmental way? x Pre-evangelization (if necessary) o How can I build my relationship with this person? o How can I connect with him/her? o How can I delight in him/her? o How can I identify with him/her? x Evangelization o What would be a good venue/opportunity to share the kerygma with him/her? o How can I communicate the Good News and God's love to him/her in a way that takes into account his/her situation? o Do I need practice or tools to help me communicate the kerygma clearly, simply, confidently, comfortably? 91
  • 92. x Strategy to keep him/her connected o What can I do to make sure he/she keeps growing? o How can I help him/her get to the sacraments (Eucharist, Reconciliation)? b) For a ministry or group: x What is my dream for how this ministry/group could be revitalized though a greater focus on Jesus? x What relationships do I need to build and invest in so as to strengthen the missionary spirit of this group? x What lines of authority do I need to go through before I implement changes in the ministry (for example, group leaders, pastor, pastoral council, etc.)? x How can I move forward in the best way possible? x Goal-based planning: How can I make the Gospel message central to this ministry or group? x Planning: timeline, strategy for implementing change one step at a time, etc. x Support: a core group of likeminded people, “buy-in” from others, advice from others who have done similar things, prayer support. x Logistics: materials, location; are we creating conflicts with other groups in our use of space or competing with their mandate? 4. Pray/intercede: Challenge: This week, prepare a draft of what you think God is calling you to do with your “Timothy” or ministry. (You will continue to discern over the course of Commission). 92
  • 93. Record of Completion Return this form to your study leader or to the address on the back. Please print. Name: Today's Date: Primary Contact Information: Address: City/Prov./State: Postal/Zip Code: Phone: Email : Secondary or Permanent Address: Address: City/Prov./State: Postal/Zip Code: Phone: ˆ Please contact me about more CCO studies, events or newsletters. ˆ I do not wish to be contacted about more CCO studies, events or newsletters. Faith study just completed or completing: ˆ Discovery ˆ Growth ˆ Source ˆ Obedience ˆ Commission Study Leader's Name: Campus/Parish: 93
  • 94. Your Feedback Please take a moment to give us your feedback. Please print. How has the study influenced your life? What concrete steps are you taking to pass on the message and the mission? Any other comments/feedback? Please return by mail or fax to: CCO Faith Studies 1247 Kilborn Place Ottawa, ON K1H 6K9 Fax: (613) 736-1800 94
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