Courageous Catholics Leader Guide

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Courageous Catholic takes all of the successful tools and ministry resources that CCO has developed since 1988 and has crafted it into a program for parish evangelization. This 10 week program is an …

Courageous Catholic takes all of the successful tools and ministry resources that CCO has developed since 1988 and has crafted it into a program for parish evangelization. This 10 week program is an expression of twenty five years of fruitful outreach and leadership formation on Canadian campuses.

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 will be expounded in the study.

The print material, which includes both leader and participant guides, are completed and we are looking for funding to complete the video portion of the program. The videos offer direct wisdom from CCO Founders Andre and Angele Regnier, along with illustrations to further the understanding of the teaching.

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  • 3. Courageous Catholic Leader Guide Created and published by Catholic Christian Outreach Canada. Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved. 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 hq@cco.ca www.cco.ca Printed in Canada. 3
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  • 5. The Courageous Catholic program is an adaptation of the Commission study, which is the fifth study in the Catholic Christian Outreach Faith Study Series. ____________________________________ th th Quotations from: Pope John Paul II messages to the youth for the 7 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. Zenit.org, www.zenit.org/article-28108?l=english. 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 www.sophiainstitute.com 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. www.paulistpress.com 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. www.paulistpress.com 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 Confessions of St. Augustine by Bishop of Hippo, Saint Augustine. Public Domain 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, www.m-w.com. _____________________________________ The image on the cover of the Courageous Catholic booklet is of the hand of St. Peter, stretched towards the horizon. This statue is found in front of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. He holds the keys of the Church in his fingers and points to the world, representing the mandate of all baptized Catholics to go and reach the lost with the Gospel. St. Peter’s arm is stretched out in an image of the strength and courage offered to those who respond generously to the call. Our confidence comes in knowing the authority of the Church, an authority against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. Image © Mark Burdett 2008 Cover Design © Chris Pecora 2011 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 formative 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 Poly-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, the Courageous Catholic program is dedicated to the memory and legacy of Blessed Pope John Paul II. We thank God for the privilege to be formed under his leadership, and in his ‘school of evangelization.’ 6
  • 7. The following is a letter written and signed personally by His Holiness, Blessed Pope John Paul II, to Catholic Christian Outreach Canada 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 Dedication 6 Introduction 10 Getting Ready 11 Lesson 1 – Orientation and Premise 14 Orientation to the program. Recognizing that evangelization is our deepest identity. Lesson 2 – CCO 101 31 Review of St. Catherine's bridge illustration and the relationship diagrams as used extensively in CCO's evangelization. Lesson 3 – Holiness and Mission 46 Understanding the interdependence of holiness and mission and an Introduction to the Paul-Timothy model in 2 Timothy 2:2 Lesson 4 – The Message 58 Comprehending the necessity of clearly and simply proclaiming the kerygma Lesson 5 – The Message and You Recognizing how we have experienced God's saving action in our own lives. 73 Lesson 6 – Heart for the Lost Uniting with God’s heart of compassion and concern for those who are far from him. 89 Lesson 7 – Understanding “Timothy” Taking into consideration the perspective and experience of those we want to evangelize. 104 Lesson 8 – See Opportunities Identifying people and situations in my sphere of influence that could be transformed through the clear proclamation of Jesus. 118 Lesson 9 – Next Generation Mindset Understanding a ministry of spiritual multiplication. 131 Lesson 10 – Struggles and Doubts Examining common areas of discouragement for missionaries 142 Lesson 11 – Commissioned Recognizing, with great expectations, the work of the Holy Spirit both in the evangelizer and the one being evangelized. 153 Appendix 165 Personal Opportunities Worksheet 166 Preparing a Personal Testimony 170 Leading Your Own Discovery Group 172 9
  • 10. Introduction Courageous Catholic is an adaptation of the Commission faith study written by Catholic Christian Outreach. Commission is the fifth study in the Catholic Christian Outreach Faith Study Series. In it's development stages it was piloted in three cities as a diocesanwide training component for parish leaders in our domestic summer mission called Impact Canada. Courageous Catholic is an expression of more than twenty years of outreach and leadership formation on Canadian campuses. In our evangelization efforts, we strive to identify with people, and celebrate the beauty and good in each individual. We also look for appropriate opportunities to lovingly introduce these people to Jesus in a nonjudgmental, relevant, clear and simple way. We also believe that the principals we have learned over the years in our studying and experience are applicable off campus and can be integrated in other ministries, parishes and in one's personal outreach efforts. The three pillars of CCO are to proclaim, equip and commission. It is our belief 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 Courageous Catholic program our alumni, supporters and friends will internalize and 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 will be expounded in the study. 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: www.vatican.va). 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 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. It would also be expected that participants have completed CCO’s Discovery study in order to understand the concepts and illustrations referenced repeatedly in the program 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. 10
  • 11. Getting Ready Notes for the Leaders Ideally, Courageous Catholic participants would have the opportunity to take Discovery. As such, they will be familiar with the concepts, tools and diagrams CCO uses in evangelization. Organizing opportunities for people to take the sixweek Discovery faith study be an advantageous first step. Recognizing, that participants may not have that chance, or signed up at the last minute, lesson 2 offers a brief orientation to the two major concepts of St. Catherine's bridge illustration and the relationships diagram in an attempt to ground them in CCO fundamental evangelizing pedagogy. Courageous Catholic program leaders should not only be familiar with Discovery but should have previously taken Courageous Catholic (or Commission) as well. Prior to beginning, leaders should do all, or at least some, of the suggested reading prior to leading the program in order to add depth and context when responding to questions from the participants. As you are aware, Courageous Catholic's initial audience is the dioceses where CCO's Impact missions are hosted. You will notice that some of the notes in this guide are specific for its continuing use on the Impact mission. If you are using it outside of that context, please disregard such notes and directives and adapt to your situation. Thank you in advance for your understanding. Although Courageous Catholic has been created to reach a large group setting, it could be used in a small group context, or one might opt to use Commission which is designed for small groups. It does not have a DVD component however. When running this program in a large group context we recommend a leadership team with individuals serving in the roles of: team leader, MC, administrator, technician, and a number of small group leaders (ratio of 1 small group leader to approximately 6 participants). Team leader is overall responsible for the program, team meetings, supporting and guiding team members, promotion, liaison with parishes/diocese and being sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit (that is, in tailoring the program's schedule, or discerning necessary clarifications of content with the participants). The MC will need to create a certain rapport of good humour with the crowd, along with professionalism and organization — keeping the program moving and on time. MC will give the team a run through of the evening prior to each lesson. The MC will want to be free to move around the room and get a feel of what is happening in the various small group discussions. The MC in conjunction with the administrator needs to be aware of announcements to make at the end of the evening. Together with the discernment of the team leader and the team, the MC will make any clarifications to the large group of point of misunderstanding with the content, or "course corrections" on topics of discussion that became a distraction or took away from the intended purpose of a section or lesson. 11
  • 12. Team administrator is responsible for (or delegating): venue bookings, registrations, weekly email to participants, welcoming participants, establishing small groups, name tags, materials, payments, sign up for snacks, coffee percolator, and assisting the MC to keep the program on time throughout the lesson each week. [The weekly email to participants would include reminders: the lesson's challenge or homework, who is on for snacks, upcoming event announcements, etc. When booking the venue, it should be large enough to have room for a table and chairs for each of the small groups, a podium, and ability to accommodate necessary AV requirements for the DVD segments. The technician is responsible for room set up and clean up, procuring AV equipment (speakers, microphones, projector/TV, DVD player), doing AV set up, as well as providing flipcharts/white board and markers. Although the majority of the program is animated by the MC and video segments, small group leaders are very important as well. Their interaction with the small group members besides facilitating the questions and discussion includes listening to them, discerning what they are getting and not getting, praying for them and for guidance in how to direct the conversations. They need to be in constant conversation with the Holy Spirit on how to best help their small group members understand. It is recommended that members stay the same in small groups from week to week. In particular, small group leaders, help and support the participants. They should be ready to answer their questions be willing to find additional resources to aid them in the work of evangelization. Above all else, they should be ready to instil hope and to delight in their efforts. Often one of the most overlooked roles of a leader is affirming and inspiring those they lead. For example, when participants speak about their experiences sharing the Gospel, small group leaders could congratulate them for their courage. Leadership team, there are some other aspects for your consideration in running the program. You may desire to close each lesson with a brief time of praise and worship. This will depend on your participants overall openness to this music, the schedule timing, and if there is a worship leader. You may want to consider including conversion testimonies (or testimonies of witnessing to the faith) weekly or occasionally to inspire and reflect the need for evangelization with your participants. Such testimonies will also help your group become more familiar and comfortable with sharing personal stories of conversion. The testimonies should be limited to 3 minutes and should be formatted as the training suggests in the appendix. You can decide on the most appropriate spot to have a testimony on any particular lesson. Have fun! May the Lord bless your every endeavour as you seek to be the missionaries that our world so desperately needs! 12
  • 13. Courageous Catholic Small Group Information Time: Place: Study Group Leader: Phone Number: Email: Study Group Members: 13
  • 14. Lesson 1 Preparation Notes "Orientation and Premise" In Brief: Evangelization is our deepest identity. Key Elements:  Orientation to the program's purpose, goals, leadership team, and key terms  This lesson looks at Church’s teaching that show that evangelization is our deepest identity.  It then looks at identity in self-knowledge, and how this concept relates to the Church. The aim of this discussion is to show that if we understand evangelization to be our deepest identity, then we can be united in purpose in the various ministries and organizations within the Church, or within a parish.  There are many quotes in this lesson. Encourage participants to underline or circle things as the text is being read so that, during the time for questions and discussion, they can refer to the things that stood out to them.  All team members must prepare a brief introduction. Sample team member intro (30 seconds each) Eg: “Hi my name is Angele Regnier, I'm originally from Leask, Saskatchewan. I encountered God's personal love for me on a high school retreat which changed my entire perception of God. I attended the University of Saskatchewan where I received a Bachelor of Education. Upon convocation, my husband and felt a strong call to evangelize university students and we have been doing that with CCO for the past 22 years. I currently work at our National Headquarters." Administrative Tasks  First time for AV setup!  Registration desk at the entrance. Get all information (name, address, parish, email, phone, mobile, date and leader's name when they took Discovery, registration fee).  Sign up sheet for snacks.  Have workbooks ready for handout later in the evening's schedule.  Have The Ultimate Relationship booklets available to handout for their homework reading. Recommended Reading: (General note: The titles in the “Recommended Reading” section of the Preparation Notes are valuable resources. If you have not yet read them, you should do so before leading the study.)  Evangelii Nuntiandi  Redemptoris Missio  Message of the Holy Father for the VII World Youth Day  Lineamenta for the 2012 Synod on the New Evangelization 14
  • 15. Lesson 1 Orientation and Premise Outline of the Evening Introduction to the Program MC - 20 minutes Small Groups - 10 minutes Courageous Catholic and Key Terms Video - 20 minutes Small Groups - 10 minutes Break - 15 minutes Deepest Identity Video - 30 minutes Small Groups - 10 minutes Closing Elements MC - 10 minutes Introduction to the Program MC 20 minutes + Small Group 10 minutes MC say: Welcome - We are very excited to see you here tonight. We have been anticipating this for a very long time. Our desire is that after tonight you will be committed and encouraged about this program created by Catholic Christian Outreach. For those who aren't familiar, CCO a Canadian national university student movement dedicated to evangelization. It challenges young adults to live in the fullness of the Catholic faith, with a strong emphasis on becoming leaders in the renewal of the world. Courageous Catholic was developed for CCO’s domestic summer mission projects to train parish leaders in the new evangelization. Tonight will be an orientation to the purpose and foundational content of Courageous Catholic, with an overview of the program's content, and inspiration for you to be committed to attendance in the upcoming 9 weeks, and that you’ll be mobilized to invite others. Let's open our evening in prayer. [Offer a brief prayer] Could you please shout out what parishes are represented here. 15
  • 16. At this point I'd like to introduce the team putting on this Courageous Catholic program. Have them each say where they are from, one sentence testimony, one sentence why called to staff, where they serve on staff now and for how long. Sample team member intro (30 seconds each) Eg: " Hi my name is Angele Regnier, I'm originally from Leask, Saskatchewan. I encountered God's personal love for me on a high school retreat which changed my entire perception of God. I attended the University of Saskatchewan where I received a Bachelor of Education. Upon convocation, my husband and felt a strong call to evangelize university students and we have been doing that with CCO for the past 22 years. I currently work at our National Headquarters." Have team return to their seats. After those introductions, say: Let's take just a couple of minutes right now to introduce yourself to your small group. Small group leaders (10 minutes): Have them introduce themselves. Instead of asking them why they have come to the program, ask them to share their name, parish and what is their great hope in taking this program. By asking this question it will give you a sense of where they are at (ie. do they have a lot of fear in sharing the gospel, are they identifying a specific area in which they want to evangelize, are they worried about the faith of their children, etc.) and where you can help to lead them through these lessons. Take mental notes of each individual’s hopes and throughout the study pray intentionally for those hopes to be discovered. If a person is not sure what their hope is then pray that the Lord would infuse them with hope and vision for their personal role in evangelization. Administrator: during this time get the workbooks ready for handing out. The team will now hand out the program to you. I'll give you a brief overview of the workbook for the next couple of minutes. Let's start with the cover of the workbook. You may notice how the image compliments the title of our program. If you haven't figured it out yet, this photograph is of the arm of Peter from the huge statue of him in St. Peter's square. It speaks to the commissioning and call the Church is giving us to go courageously to all people with the message of Jesus. As you flip through the work book with me you will see there is a very interesting article on why this material is dedicated to John Paul II that you can read on your own. The table of contents give us a helpful outline to the topics of each lesson. Together these lessons build upon each other to accomplish the overall goals that we have for you: 16
  • 17.  To be convinced of the centrality of evangelization to the life and identity of the Church and us, as the people of God.  To have a heart of compassion and concern for those who need to personally encounter God's love and mercy.  To gain understanding as to why some people are far away from God and the Church; and how to best relate to them.  To make evangelization a desired, uniting purpose of all parish ministries.  To identify opportunities for evangelization in your ministries, and with your friends and acquaintances.  To become familiar with practical tools which can help you to be able to communicate a clear and simple gospel message, such as: The Ultimate Relationship booklet, the Discovery study, and tips for developing a concise personal testimony.  To multiply your efforts through entrusting this mission and message to other faithful people.  To encounter and understand the primacy of the Holy Spirit in the work of evangelization. You'll notice that each week has a challenge or homework for you. There is also a take home lesson for your personal reflection between weeks 9 and 10. Every week you should bring a Bible, your workbook and a pen. It is not recommended to miss any weeks, as the lessons build on each other. However, if for any reason you cannot make it some week, please email the administrator, who is ….(introduce). Every week, you will get updates by email, so please make sure we have your email address. You are also invited to give feedback by email every week if you wish on the lesson, (things to improve on, clarifying questions, or even encouragement). Each lesson typically includes video teaching segments, live teaching presentations, and time for small group discussions. You can expect the course to run from __pm to ___pm. If you arrive on time, and come back from your break promptly, we will be able to accomplish our lessons on time. Speaking of video segments, we will now go into our first one which will introduce you to the program and key vocabulary used in it. 17
  • 18. Courageous Catholic and Key Terms Video 20 minutes + Small Group 10 minutes ) Hello my name is Angele Regnier. My husband Andre and I are the founders of Catholic Christian Outreach. We launched it at the University of Saskatchewan in the fall of 1988. Our mission was evangelization! I can assure you that when CCO began oh so many years ago, "evangelization" was definitely not a word Catholics were comfortable with, it would probably be more accurate to say they were scared of it. I hope you’re not scared of it, and if you are just a little, I am confident that Courageous Catholic will help you fall in love with the word and all the hope and joy it actually holds. The purpose of Catholic Christian Outreach when we began in 1988, was to reach into the university campus to find those thousands upon thousands of Catholics who had wandered, and bring them back to the faith. We wanted to bring them to a place of encounter and conversion to Jesus. The next part of the plan was to build them up in their faith and send them out to reach others. Many thought CCO wouldn’t work, but the young people were waiting to be reached with the Gospel. Even in our beginnings, we strongly felt that the Holy Spirit was preparing CCO to expand. For that to happen, we needed to know how to clearly explain and replicate what we were doing in our evangelization. We needed to invest in creating materials to multiply our efforts and better equip others. It took time to refine and sift through methods, approach and philosophy of ministry. Our failures were an opportunity to learn and grow. At this point we are so pleased that CCO has not only touched the lives of thousands of Canadian university students, but it has been able to help other apostolates, in the States, Australia and Uganda. Many times over the years we’ve been asked, “How can we take what CCO is doing to help our parish?!” We took this question very seriously because we are more and more convinced that a new springtime in the Church will best happen though renewal in the parishes. CCO wants to assist parishes by offering some of the tools and resources that have been effective for us on campus. Right off the bat, I want to tell you that Courageous Catholic is not a program to tell you how to do your ministry. You are probably experts in your ministry area, and I recognize that. But what we can offer is to influence how you think about your ministry. You can best make decisions on how to adapt the messages presented in this program to serve your situation. Yes we believe that parishes are vitally important to the work of the new evangelization. However, in a parish, there can be a tendency to focus on maintenance rather than mission. You see, typically we spend a great deal of energy on the small amount of people who are already coming to the parish, but what about those who aren't coming to Church? 18
  • 19. Now I bet you're thinking “But, I’m not maintenance! I am involved. I’m actually the one who does mission and outreach.” That’s exactly why you're here. You are the most strategic place to start! Courageous Catholic will help you think about your parish and ministry with a heart of evangelization, and we are confident that you will influence other leaders in your parish to catch that same spirit too. This spirit of evangelization is well portrayed in the parable of the lost sheep. Remember how Jesus describes the good shepherd — who leaves the 99 and seeks out the lost sheep. This parable calls us to and ask ourselves if we too seek out those who are far away from God. (Truth is, many of these "lost sheep" are the ones who come to our parish office needing to bury a loved one or seeking out other sacraments like; baptism, first communion, confirmation or marriage, Christmas and Easter our churches are full with people who don’t attend mass otherwise. How can we take advantage of these opportunities to evangelize the people who come through our parish doors — so they are no longer lost but found — in him! We could resent them, or seize this open door to engage them in matters of faith. Heaven knows we try to come up with programs or events to draw people to Church, which is good, but how can we maximize the opportunities we have when they come to us for something? We will wrestle with these kinds of questions over the course of the next few weeks Now before we go any further I would like to clarify some terms that we will hear a great deal in this program. Since they are used so frequently, I want to make sure there are no misunderstandings in how we are using them. First term is "the gospel" The Gospel: What do we mean when we say, "the Gospel"? To answer this, I would like to reference the Lineamenta document in preparation for the 2012 synod of Bishops. In case you are not familiar: about every three years there is a General Ordinary assembly of Bishops at the Vatican representing countries around the world, typically with about 400 Bishops in attendance. They gather for about three weeks to discuss a particular topic. For example in 2005 it was on the Eucharist, in 2008 it was on the Word of God, and in 2012 it is on the Promotion of the New Evangelization, which is very exciting. This preparatory document, the Lineamenta is rich, and well worth the read. AND it offers us a great explanation of what we mean when we say "the gospel" in this program. Please underline the key words as I read it. In referring to the Gospel, we must not think of it only as a book or a set of teachings. The Gospel is much more; it is a living and efficacious Word, which accomplishes what it says. It is not so much a system of articles of faith and moral precepts, much less a political programme, but a person: Jesus Christ, the definitive Word of God, who became 19
  • 20. man. The Gospel is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, not only does the Gospel have Jesus Christ as its content; but even more, through the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ is also the promoter and the centre of its proclamation and transmission. Consequently, the goal of the transmission of the faith is the realization of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, in the Spirit, thereby leading to an experiencing of his Father and our Father. Transmitting the faith means to create in every place and time the conditions for this personal encounter of individuals with Jesus Christ Lineamenta, 11 Did you catch it? The Courageous Catholic program wants to help you learn how to transmit the gospel, which is - the message of the salvation offered in Jesus so that you can "create in every place and time the conditions" by which you can help people "personally encounter Jesus Christ". Love it! New Evangelization: Next. The "new evangelization" is a term coined by John Paul II. A good synonym would be ":re-evangelization". It concerns clearly proclaiming the message of salvation in Jesus — to those who are baptized, have received the sacraments, but whose hearts and lifestyles do not reflect this faith. It is to bring them to a personal encounter with God’s love. Again, we read in the Lineamenta document to the synod: The new evangelization is not a matter of redoing something which has been inadequately done or has not achieved its purpose, as if the new activity were an implicit judgment on the failure of the first evangelization. Nor is the new evangelization taking up the first evangelization again, or simply repeating the past. Instead, it is the courage to forge new paths in responding to the changing circumstances and conditions facing the Church in her call to proclaim and live the Gospel today.... Pope John Paul II again took up the expression in his Magisterium and proposed it to the universal Church. "Today the Church must face other challenges and push forward to new frontiers, both in the initial mission ad gentes and in the new evangelization of those peoples who have already heard Christ proclaimed.... In facing these challenges, the Church does not give up or retreat into herself; instead, she undertakes a project to revitalize herself. She makes the Person of Jesus Christ and a personal encounter with him central to her thinking, knowing that he will give his Spirit and provide the force to announce and proclaim the Gospel in new ways which can speak to today's cultures. Lineamenta, 5 Just to repeat and clarify, the new evangelization is re-evangelizing those cultures who have a Christian history, whereas, in the "mission ad gentes" evangelization is directed at those who have never heard of Jesus. Interestingly, the new evangelization in the past decade has been widely regarded as a key pastoral concern in parishes, dioceses, and countries. Why? Because our Bishops and priests recognize what the Lineamenta says in paragraph 9, 20
  • 21. The time has also come for a new evangelization in the West, where many of those baptized lead totally un-Christian lives and more and more persons maintain some links to the faith but have little or a poor knowledge of it. Lineamenta, 9 The laity are key to the Church's mission! Because we are the ones who have direct contact with those who may have walked away from the Church or do not believe. Pope John Paul II calls us: 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 In Evangelii Nuntiandi Pope Paul VI described how we witness in the world in 2 ways: the witness of life and witness of Word. That is, our lifestyle and actions witness to a life redeemed by Christ, and our words proclaim the truth of Jesus' love and mercy for the world. There are many apostolates, outreaches, and activities that fall under the umbrella of evangelization. For example the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, are all are an opportunity to communicate God's love for people. The training for evangelization predominant in this program is to prepare you to clearly proclaim the message of hope and mercy in Jesus, whenever appropriate and possible. In our experience there are few opportunities to learn and develop these skills specific to the Church's missionary call. Speaking of missionary… Now I'd like to look at how we use the word Missionary (as a noun). 21
  • 22. Missionary When we say people are "missionary" we want you to understand that this word is not exclusively referring to someone who leaves home and serves the Church overseas although that is an important and heroic part of it. A missionary is anyone who is engaged in Christ's mission. Actually, the word missionary encompasses each and every person in the body of Christ because The Catechism tells us that by virtue of our baptism we have all been called to be witnesses of our faith. [T]he faithful, who by Baptism are incorporated into Christ and integrated into the People of God, are made sharers in their particular way in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly office of Christ, and have their own part to play in the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the World. CCC 897 To be frank though, the reality is that 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, nuns and a few radical people who choose to be missionaries. But this is not what the Church is telling us. Bottom line, if you are baptized, you are missionary. More about this in the next video with Andre. So to wrap things up, in Courageous Catholic we hope to influence the way you approach your ministry, parish and the Church, . We desire to affirm and solidify your missionary call and identity. We want to inspire and challenge you to reach ut to those who have wandered. Evangelization must not only be spoken about, written about or even understood, — it must be done! And finally, I want to encourage you that your engagement in this program and in the grassroots work of evangelization is a sign of the working of the Holy Spirit in our times. Thank you for responding to the Lord's promptings in your life. The Church needs more people like you. MC: Now enter into small group discussion around what you just heard and answer the question. We will follow up with a 10 minute break after that. [Say it’s a 10 minute break, because it takes an extra 5 minutes usually to settle everyone into their seats] (10 minute small group discussion) 22
  • 23. 1. John Paul II explained that a lack of missionary activity indicates a crisis of faith. How do you see this being played out in a parish, for example? Common answers may range from being people being too busy or fearful, people aren’t held accountable to share their faith, or many people feel that faith is just a private matter. Some people feel like they have tried and failed, or just become complacent. We want participants to see that if people are just silent specators, they can easily fall into complacency. Their faith life can become dull, irrelevant, self-focused and unattractive. Faith can be reduced to simply cultural elements, rather than a living relationship with a God who loves us and invites us, as his disciples, to find life by sharing him with others. MC: At 7 minute mark of their small groups, let them know they can finish up and go on their 10 minute break. Break 15 minutes 10 minutes into break time, flicker the lights to let people know to gather up for the second half. 23
  • 24. Deepest Identity Video 30 minutes + Small Group10 minutes One of the most challenging and directed quotes of John Paul II “A radical conversion in thinking is required in order to become missionary, and this holds true both for individuals and entire communities.” (Redemptoris Missio, 49) A radical conversion in thinking is needed- This is not a call to a minor adjustment but a complete turnaround a change of direction. Courageous Catholic is not telling you how to do your ministry it is about how to think about what you do. Proper Thinking is vital to any successful undertaking. If we do not know what we are doing, the likelihood of success is put into question. It’s a major detriment on what you do and how you do it. Fundamental to proper thinking is identity — knowing who you are what you are about. As Catholics involved in the life of the Church if we are going to “think properly” we need to ask the question, who are we? Why do we exist? What is our purpose? We understand at a basic human level the importance of identity. Answering the questions , “Who am I”? Self-awareness is essential to self-esteem. Maturity, and a sense of belonging and the ability to make a contribution and reaching our potential are all by-products of knowing who you are. Confusion or loss of identity, will effect how we live our lives- feel about ourselves and our ability to engage with the world around us. They will always be in search of a past identity or striving to create a new one. This search or yearning for identity will often lead to unhealthy and destructive behaviour. In light of these basic human principles Let us now turn our attention to the Church and ask the question, "Who are we?” It is a question we must be able to answer with confidence and clarity as individuals and as a community. When we know our deepest identity we experience— abundant, meaningful, vibrant and fruitful Christian lives. If we do not have clarity in regards to that question we will consequently suffer individually and as a community the negative effects of the identity crises as we explained earlier. The Church’s identity Let us look at our Catholic identity. I invite you to listen carefully for what I am about to say are not suggestions but defining words that are meant to direct our thinking and behaviour of us as individuals and as a community. 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 24
  • 25. participate in it. The lack of missionary zeal is a lack of zeal for the faith. "Are we truly missionary at heart?" The new evangelization is the Church's undertaking her fundamental mission, her identity and reason for existence. Linementa for the 2012 Synod on the New Evangelization, 10 Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 14 Evangelization is not an optional contribution it’s, “our deepest identity”. It is why we exist - it is who we are as individuals and people. We also learn that it is our nature, The missionary thrust…belongs to the very nature of the Christian life. Redemptoris Missio, 1 The Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all nations to make disciples of them. CCC, 767 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. Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization Missionary activity comes from an inner disposition, it's what naturally flows out. Think of a person who is naturally pleasant or cheerful, like me, cheerful responses are what usually comes out of them. We are naturally missionary what naturally comes out of us is the message of Jesus. Mother Church understands clearly her nature and her mandate. For her to be effective in living out of this mandate her members have to have the same understanding and live out of this out of this nature, naturally and daily. The level of congruence and identification we have with what we live and what the Church says significantly influences how we live out our faith individually and as communities. Is our personal faith life or our parish dynamic, healthy, productive and effective or confused, divided and ineffective I would like to focus on three areas that affect our own spiritual life and our parish. I am going to approach these areas in a positive light but the lived reality in most of our communities it is more negative effects. 1. Revitalized parish There were some significant words in that quote: renewal, revitalizes faith and Christian identity, fresh enthusiasm and new incentive vitality. 25
  • 26. Is this not what we would like to describe our parish. It is not simple activity that is a sign of life in a parish it is missionary activity which revitalizes our parish. This idea of mission revitalizing the parish community is reconfirmed in the preparatory document for the synod of bishops on the new evangelization. The agent for transmitting the faith is the universal Church...In past decades; the local Churches have done their utmost in this field. Yet, “the cultural climate and the general state of fatigue in many Christian communities in our local Churches is endangering the proclamation of the faith, its transmission to others and instruction in the faith” Linementa for the 2012 Synod on the New Evangelization, 15 Indeed, a “new evangelization” is often synonymous with dynamic functioning, with “renewed spiritual efforts in the life of faith within the local Churches…” Linementa for the 2012 Synod on the New Evangelization, 10 We tend to look to the amount of activity found in the parish bulletin as a sign of vitality. Or the number masses or the amount of people that fill the Church as the sign of vibrancy. Or the number of candidates registered for Sacramental preparations as a sign of growth. I would suggest that ministries like baptismal, sacramental, marriage preparation are less a sign of parish vitality than a cause of concern and disappointment. We are well aware that the vast majority of those who go through these ministries are never to be seen once there child is baptised or receive the sacrament of marriage. Even the work that we put into major feasts like Christmas and Easter break our heart as we know so many in attendance are merely doing a holiday observance. What revitalizes a parish is not simply activity, it must be evangelical activity . Imagine for a moment if all those people that come to marriage and baptismal preparation (who commonly leave after they have received the necessary sacrament)- testified to the parish that they returned due to the profound encounter they had with Jesus through their preparation class. Imagine how encouraged and hopeful it would be to see crowds of young people coming to mass due to the effective parish youth ministry which was reaching out to the teens at the local high school. What joy it would be to hear of how there were so many those who came to the Easter and Christmas masses have continued and integrated into the parish community. They share how they were impacted by the liturgy, the music ministry, and felt so welcomed as soon as they stepped into the Church. This is what missionary activity can do to a parish. When people return, this brings new life to the parish. New and renewed people bring new life to a parish which leads into my next point: 26
  • 27. 2. Revitalized Faith Faith is strengthened when it is given to others! For in the Church’s history, missionary drive has always been a sign of vitality just as it’s lessening is a sign of crisis of faith. Redemptoris Missio, 2 We learn that faith is “primary victim” of a Church that does not live out of its missionary identity. Bu the good news is that faith, the ability to trust and believe will flourish in a missionary environment . Why is that? Evangelization challenges us to step out of our comfort zone which forces us to turn to God for help. Our faith is strengthened as we see God answer our prayer as we see people respond to Jesus in there lives. She (the Church) is called to broaden her horizons, to go beyond boundaries since “the new evangelization is the opposite of self-sufficiency, a withdrawal into oneself, a status quo mentality and an idea that pastoral programmes are simply to proceed as they did in the past” Linementa for the 2012 Synod on the New Evangelization, 10 3. Unity The strength and possibilities that come from unity in any organization and community is obvious. The greater the unity, the better we are able to accomplish our mission and purpose together. Unfortunately there is little unity or shared vision in our communities. It is common for people to define "being Catholic" by their personal involvement in church activities, by what Church teachings they personally believe, or by how they practice their faith. He is conservative he is not. This way of defining Catholic identity lacks consistency — being Catholic seems to mean something different for everyone. In these conditions it is easy to see how far to much time, energy and resources are forced to be focus on division, miscommunication, differences of purpose and focus. We learn from the Church, this unity that we seek in our communities is found in living out missionary identity: ..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. Redemptoris MIssio, 49 As a national movement, CCO recognizes the importance of unity. However, it is not events or gatherings that bind us together as a family – our unity stems from our shared mission. I may not particularly connect socially with a fellow staffer, next to me, but we do share the same missionary heart. What matters to the members of my movement, matters to me. This unity runs to the very core of our being it is our common nature. 27
  • 28. At a diocesan or parish level, the same principle is true. We all have unique vocations and gifts, but if we share the same ideal and purpose, we will be united. The Baptismal Preparation team and the Social Justice Committee should not have varying goals; rather, there should be unity in the ideal and purpose of the teams. The difference between the groups is merely in how they achieve their purpose. Mutual respect, support, and encouragement could exist among different groups if they know the others are working for the same purpose – to lead people into a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ. Unity of purpose will also enable new members to recognize opportunities and know what is expected of them. They will understand what it means to be an active member of the parish, which makes it easier to be united and engaging in evangelization. Being active would be the standard, not the exception. There would be no comfortable place for indifference or inactivity. Unity in mission makes missionary activity, not simple membership rather the nature of the parish. 2. What would happen if every member of your parish understood their deepest identity as Catholics? MC say: Now we are going to go into our small groups for the next 10 minutes for small group discussion for general sharing on what stood out to you in that segment. (10 minutes) 28
  • 29. Closing Elements MC 15 minutes MC say: I invite you to wrap up your sharing now. We have a few more things to do before we are finished this evening. First some announcements. [space to write Announcements] Challenge Read The Ultimate Relationship booklet this week. 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 lifegiving mission of evangelization. 29
  • 30. Prayer MC: Invite everyone to pray the following prayer aloud together. Let us pray: 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. 30
  • 31. Lesson 2 Preparation Notes "CCO 101" In Brief: Review of St. Catherine's bridge illustration and the relationship diagrams as used extensively in CCO's evangelization. Key Elements:  This week is an attempt to instil the fundamentals of how CCO evangelizes through Discovery and The Ultimate Relationship. Ideally, Courageous Catholic participants would have the opportunity to take Discovery. As such, they will be familiar with the concepts, tools and diagrams CCO uses in evangelization. Recognizing, that participants may not have that chance, or signed up at the last minute, lesson 2 offers a brief orientation to the two major concepts of St. Catherine's bridge illustration and the relationships diagram in an attempt to ground them in CCO fundamental evangelizing pedagogy.  We also want them to see how valuable St. Catherine's bridge and the relationships diagrams are for explaining the message of salvation and introducing a person to Christ.  A personal encounter and relationship Christ is paramount for being able to engage in this program. We desire that they experience Jesus, and the power of these illustrations in introducing people to Jesus. This week, ultimately, is an evangelistic opportunity. We will invite participants to pray and put Christ at the centre of their life. Please soak this lesson in prayer, that the Holy Spirit will move hearts to a deeper and fuller conversion, surrender and experience of God's love.  There is no small group discussion after the second section with the relationships diagram, because of the sensitive and personal nature of the teachings. We want people to deeply think about the challenge to put Christ at the centre of their life, and we do not want to embarrass anyone who is struggling with this, or has never done it or heard about it.  Small Group leaders should personally contact, by at least email, every participant in their small group this week to follow up on their experience and impressions of the evening. A phone call would be better, especially for those who may have encountered Jesus in a deeper way as a result of this lesson. The conversation should affirm, and celebrate their decision to put Christ at the centre of their life. Perhaps others participants will need encouragement to make that decision, if they were not ready during the closing prayer at the end of this lesson. Administrative Tasks:       Complete outstanding registrations and fees. Remind about snack sign up if necessary. Find out if any participants not receive the email with the links to the documents from last week Make sure there is a whiteboard or easel for drawing out the bridge or relationships diagram Having the diagrams on screen would be helpful as well. In this week's email be sure to include the above readings as hyperlinks so it’s more convenient for participants to simply "click" and go to these sites, as opposed to typing out the long urls. Recommended Reading: (General note: The titles in the “Recommended Reading” section of the Preparation Notes are valuable resources. If you have not yet read them, you should do so before leading the study.)  Evangelii Nuntiandi  Redemptoris Missio  Message of the Holy Father for the VII World Youth Day  Lineamenta for the 2012 Synod on the New Evangelization 31
  • 32. Lesson 2 CCO 101 Outline Welcome MC - 2 minutes Small Group opening question - 10 minutes MC - 2 minutes St. Catherine's Bridge Illustration NC - 20 minutes Small Groups - 10 minutes Break - 15 minutes The Relationships Diagram MC - 30 minutes Closing Elements MC - 20 minutes Welcome MC 2 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes + MC 2 minutes MC: Welcome. Invite people to take 10 minutes to do the opening sharing questions in their small group. 1. What thoughts have you had this week related to last week's lesson or the homework reading? 2. How familiar are you with CCO's materials: Discovery and The Ultimate Relationship? 32
  • 33. MC: Regain the group's attention. Begin with a brief prayer. Introduce today's lesson: In our first lesson, we were introduced and oriented to the Courageous Catholic program. A highlight was exploring the Church’s teaching on our calling and identity as Catholic disciples of Christ. Today we want to continue setting some foundational pieces in place for this program, and today's lesson is called CCO 101 or you might say you're in "CCO Bootcamp". We want to refresh and get you up to speed on two analogies that CCO uses extensively in our materials and programming: St. Catherine's bridge illustration and the relationships diagram. It is extremely important that you have a strong grasp of them because we will be referring to them many times over the course of the next ten weeks. Not only do we want you to be familiar with them, we hope they will speak to your heart the truths of God's love for you. And since they are analogies, they are meant to be remembered and shared with others! So let's get started. St. Catherine's Bridge Illustration MC 20 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes To help us better understand Jesus as Saviour, we will look at insights from St. Catherine of Siena, a Doctor of the Church. In her writings she shares a visual description of salvation which God revealed to her. St. Catherine describes Adam and Eve and how they were created in God's image. In Eden, they tasted the beginnings of communion with God that would have grown as they spiritually matured, so that eventually, they would fully know his eternal goodness, tenderness and love. However, sin created irreparable problems; it caused an impassable division between God and man. St. Catherine describes this separation as a great, raging river that made it absolutely impossible for man to reach God, as much as he might try. This impassable, powerful river of sin leads to death. The picture painted at this point is very bleak indeed. Let's draw out the picture to better understand it as we answer the following questions. STAGE 1 – [Draw Heaven/God and Earth/Humanity with a line connecting them. The line represents the connection and unity they had at creation before the fall]. 33
  • 34. MC say: In light of this description and what are the results of sin? Answer: Separation from God (his love), and death. STAGE 2 – [Erase the line from heaven to earth (or draw a squiggly line over top of it). Write: "separation", "sin", then an arrow pointing to the word death"]. Say: "This is the situation. How does this make you feel?" Answer: Hopeless, upset, discouraged, defeated, abandoned, angry. How would you feel if we ended the study here? Do not be afraid to emphasize the bad news. The gap between us and God is huge, insurmountable. We must understand how bad this situation is in order to appreciate the full impact of the Good News. The Good News is not just touching and nice, it is vitally important. As you can see, the river leaves us in a place of desperate need, and can only lead us to death should we try to overcome it on our own. God the Father deals with the problem of sin by sending his Son into the world. Through his death on the cross, Jesus becomes a bridge so that we can reach heaven. Read the following quotes: So I gave you a bridge, my Son, so that you could cross over the river, the stormy sea of this darksome life, without being drowned….And how foolish to choose to drown rather than accept the remedy I have given!...And why should he have made of himself a roadway? So that you might in truth come to the same joy as the angels. St. Catherine of Siena: The Dialogue, p. 58-59 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:19-20 34
  • 35. MC say: Jesus came from heaven to earth to deal with the problem of sin, death and separation. STAGE 3 – [Draw a vertical line coming from heaven to earth, and then continue by making it into a cross. Draw a corpus on it]. How did Jesus’ death on the cross deal with the problems sin created? I would like you to turn to some Scripture verses now, get out your Bibles, and turn to… John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" What did the Lamb of God take away? Answer: The sins of the world. [Draw an “X” through sin]. Romans 6:23. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. What has Jesus done for us in this verse? Answer: Defeated death and given us eternal life. Of course, we still have physical death, but we have life in heaven and we look forward to the resurrection of the body when Christ returns again. Jesus dealt with eternal separation from God. [Draw an “X” through death]. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. Ask: If we are reconciled through Christ, then what has been overcome? Answer: Separation. Jesus has dealt with separation as well. [Draw an "X" through separation]. 35
  • 36. Invite participants to discuss question 3 in their small groups. 3. Read Romans 5:16-19. In light of this Scripture passage and the bridge illustration, why did we need Jesus to die for us? And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. We are all sinful and unable to reach God. The consequence associated with our sin is death — eternal separation from God. Adam started it, Jesus healed it. Jesus was fully God and fully man. As a man, he physically died for our sins. He was condemned as a man. He hung on the cross as a man. He hung in pain; he bled as a man. He suffered human pain and he endured separation from his Father: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Though he never sinned, he took our sin upon himself and suffered its consequence. This was real physical pain and real spiritual pain. As a human being, Jesus could die on our behalf. As God, his sacrifice has infinite value. How? As Jesus hung on the cross, it was as if his right hand extended infinitely into the past and his left hand extended infinitely into the future, symbolizing that he has redeemed all of history — past, present and future. Leaders: To illustrate the magnitude of our inability to reconcile with God through our own strength, you can elaborate further on St. Catherine of Siena and the bridge. St. Catherine painted the picture for us of that wild, massive river of sin dividing Heaven and Earth, and how Jesus came from Heaven to be the bridge to make the way for us to get back to God. Her writings on this image cover several pages, but at one point she talks about people who try to get across the river to Heaven on their own. They scale down the treacherous cliff to access the river bank. They come up with all kinds of ways to get across the river, such as swim, build their own bridge…things like that. What they don't fully grasp (until they actually tackle the river) is that it is enormously vast! The incredible width, depth and raging speed shows no mercy, is absolutely futile and only leads to a sure death. Those who have ever gone down white water rapids can just imagine how hard it would be swim across to the opposite side. It would be all the more impossible to do with this immensely wide river of sin. (To help situate the imagery, you could mention that the widest river in the world is the Rio de la Plata in South America, which at certain points is 225 km wide!) Imagine crossing violent river rapids that distance! It is absolutely humanly impossible - even to construct a bridge to span it. The same is true in our relationship with God: even our best efforts do not restore what was severed by sin. We need Jesus to bridge this gap. The theological term for this is atonement. Think of atonement as "at-one"ment. Through Christ's death and resurrection, we are made “at-one” with God. Reconciliation happened through Christ's atonement for us. Jesus, motivated by love, freely sacrificed himself on our behalf. He was the Mediator who brought peace and healing to the severed relationship between God and man (salvation comes from the Latin word "salus," which means healing). Leaders: Mention the incredible generosity of God’s gift in this sacrifice. God was not bound by necessity to make this sacrifice for us, nor did he owe us anything. Jesus’ death on the cross was a marvelous free gift. To honor the Father, that man [Jesus] — although not obligated to die, because not a sinner — freely gave something of his own when he permitted his life to be taken from him for the sake of justice. St. Anselm of Canterbury, Meditatio Redemptionis Humanae, p. 422. Leaders: If your group is struggling to understand this concept, try guiding them as follows. Begin 36
  • 37. by asking: “What is justice?” Justice is “giving to each person his/her due.” From there, look back to the bridge illustration and say, “Well, what is our due?” We actually deserve to be separated from God’s love — our due is eternal separation, hell. Then say: “God is perfect justice, and according to justice, we merit separation from him. But God is more than perfect justice, he is also perfect mercy.” Leaders: You can then share the story of Jean Valjean: In Victor Hugo’s classic novel Les Misérables, the character Jean Valjean is taken in for the night by a bishop the day he is released from a 19-year prison term. Afraid for his future, Jean steals the bishop’s silverware and runs off in the middle of the night. He is caught by the police and brought back to the bishop for punishment. If the bishop confirms the crime, Jean will be put away for the rest of his life — but he doesn't. Instead, he tells the police that the silverware is a gift to Jean. Everyone is dumbfounded. The bishop effectively pays the price of Jean Valjean's crime with that silver, even though he was the one who was sinned against, and has every right to demand repayment. Yet instead of this, he makes the payment himself, to save Jean's life from imprisonment. When the police leave, the Bishop looks intently at Jean Valjean and tells him that he “bought” his soul and now he “gives it [back] to God.” He paid the price of Jean’s crime in order to bring him into a profound encounter with mercy. This is not unlike what the Father does for us. In justice we are convicted for our sins, but God offers forgiveness to all who ask. After 10 minutes, invite them to take their break. Break 15 minutes Invite everyone back to their seats. 37
  • 38. The Relationships Diagram MC 30 minutes Gain the groups' attention. Let's start this segment off with a big question, probably the biggest you will ever face. Dr. Peter Kreeft is a respected professor of Philosophy at Boston College. During his many years of teaching at this Catholic university, he has asked many students this thought provoking question: “If you were to die tonight and God asked you, 'Why should I let you into heaven?', what would you say?” What would you say? Before the break we were left reflecting on how we will get to the other side of the bridge. Looking at St. Catherine's bridge, in what must we place our faith to get to God? Be very specific. Answers: Jesus, or some might say the cross. To clarify, say, “Be more specific, what about Jesus?" ("Or what about the cross?") We put our faith in the fact that Jesus is God and that he died on the cross to save us from sin, death and separation from God. We believe that he rose from the dead as the promise of eternal life. "I choose to believe that Jesus' death and resurrection are powerful enough to save me." How do we actually cross that bridge? Read Acts 2:36-38 and Romans 10:9 Answers: Three key elements: Repentance, Faith, Baptism Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified." Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?" Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit ...because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Repentance: this means being truly sorry for our sins and desiring not to sin again. If we could do it all over again, we would want to choose differently. Faith: trust, belief that Jesus has accomplished this redemption for us. Baptism: through Baptism, we are cleansed from original sin and receive the gift of salvation Jesus won for us on the cross. Jesus himself chose Baptism as the means by which we would receive salvation. 38
  • 39. Through the cross, Jesus offers us forgiveness, mercy, eternal life, peace, love and intimacy. What prevents us from receiving this gift of salvation? Or he's another way of looking at it, if the diocese was offering a bursary of $50,000 to all Courageous Catholic participants, what would keep you folks from getting it?” Possible answers: we are not aware it is being offered, we are proud, we do not see a need for it, do not know where to go to get it, are not motivated to make the effort to find out how to get it, do not feel worthy or qualified to received it. How does this relate to our response to the gift God offers us in Christ? Now think about answering our opening question: "Why should I let you into heaven?" Why? — Jesus! It is because of Jesus' death and resurrection that I have received forgiveness and mercy and the promise of eternal life. This understanding sets the stage to approach the relationships diagram. You should be familiar with it from reading The Ultimate Relationship booklet, but I would like to take the opportunity to present it to you right now. This illustration helps us to identify how we are living our relationship with Jesus. It also helps us to understand the kind of relationship he desires to have with us: a relationship of friendship, intimacy, commitment, fidelity, mercy and love. 39
  • 40. 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, 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-centred relationship. This relationship is primary and central, influencing all decisions and every aspect of their life. Now that these three kinds of relationships have been explained to you, I’d like you to consider some important questions: “Which image best represents your relationship with God?” (Pause … so they can think about it for 5 seconds, then ask...) “Which image would you like to have represent your relationship with God?” “What would prevent you from choosing the Christ-centred relationship?” I want you to just mull over those questions for a little while, as I explain more. Starting a relationship with Jesus is much like exchanging marriage vows. You begin by saying “yes” or “I do” to Jesus. You ask him to be part of your life, in good times and in bad, and you commit yourself to him. For those who have been baptized, it is making an adult faith decision to affirm what our parents chose for us at our Baptism. Jesus knows your heart and is not concerned if you have been good or bad in the past. He already knows everything about you anyway. What counts for him is the present attitude of your heart. As you continue to consider those questions, I wanted to point out a few common misconceptions people can have when they consider this diagram. Often when asked "which image are you in?", people will say, " 2.5 - somewhere between the two". 1 - Intimacy, not Perfection The relationships diagram shows commitments we make (whether consciously or not), not degrees of spiritual perfection. Although living our faith is essential to our relationship with God, the person in the second kind of relationship with God is not necessarily less “religious” than the person in the Christ-centred relationship. The defining question is one of commitment: 'whom have I chosen to place at the centre?' Looking at the commitment between spouses can help us understand commitment to God. Marriages take time to mature. A newly married couple has more to learn about being good spouses than a couple that has been married fifty years. However, although one couple has been married fifty years and the other only one day, both are equally in a committed marriage relationship. 40
  • 41. The same concept can be applied to the spiritual life. Consider a person who has lived a life of sin (e.g. the 'good thief' next to Jesus on the cross). He sees the light and turns his life over to Jesus. Even though Jesus is now at the centre of his life, this person may not demonstrate a real maturity and ability to trust in God shortly after his conversion. He is no less a child of God than the greatest of saints. He just needs time to grow in holiness and conform himself to God. Inevitably, you will encounter people who feel uncomfortable claiming they are in the Christ-centred relationship. They may think it would be too arrogant to do so, that it would be more humble to say their commitment is represented by the second image or somewhere between the second and third image. Or perhaps they are trying to live the commitment shown in the third image, but realize that they often fail. This attitude can often be attributed to the mistaken belief that being in a relationship with Jesus is about ‘measuring up’ or mastering the Christian life. Ask participants, “What do you think is the difference between the person who sees their commitment to God represented by the second image and the person who would say it is like the third image?” They will likely answer, “The person who says the third image trusts more, is more committed, etc.” From this perspective, it is completely understandable that they would hesitate to say they are in the Christ-centred relationship. To say you have the Christ-centred relationship would sound arrogant, as if you were a saint! In their minds, a person who has not yet mastered the Christian life can only be in the second kind of relationship. To address this misunderstanding, remind participants of Peter Kreeft’s question, “Why should God let you into heaven?” This question will help them to see upon whom they depend for salvation. Have them look at the second image and ask, “What would the person in the second kind of relationship answer if they were before Jesus?” They would answer with a list of all they have done for God, how good they are, or perhaps how 'not all that bad' they are. This person trusts in himself/herself (his/her works alone) to get into heaven. Many Catholics, knowing the Gospel, still have the mindset that they have to 'measure up' before God will 'show up'. The second image is actually a place of independence and pride. “Yes, I believe in Jesus, and I have to somehow keep him happy with me, or prove myself to him.” Look at the third image and ask, “What would the person in the Christ-centred relationship say?” This person would say that God lets him/her into heaven because of Christ’s death and resurrection. Assure your group that if we understand who Jesus is, we will see that it is not proud to say, “I am in the Christ-centred relationship”. If we think salvation is about how good and skilled we are at living the Christian life, then the third image would indeed be a proud choice. But if we understand that it is Jesus who opens heaven to us and gives us the grace to follow his model of life, then we see that the Christ-centred relationship is the most humble. 41
  • 42. Most participants do not choose a “works” (it depends on me) mentality with a rebellious attitude. They just need to be encouraged to freely choose Christ with childlike faith. They do not need to prove anything, but they will have to cooperate with God’s grace — hence the need for follow-up teachings to help them live their conversion in an ongoing way. Understanding that we do not have to be perfect to live in the Christ-centred relationship is very freeing. We realize that our relationship with Jesus is secure. This does not mean that we believe we are “once saved always saved” — through serious sin we can still choose to turn our back on Jesus. We trust, however, that our security is established by God, not by our level of spiritual mastery. Without a sense of security and safety, it is difficult for this relationship to grow in intimacy and fidelity. 2 - Fear of Failure If we are not confident in the security of our relationship with God, we will live in fear of failure. It is essential to remember that though our failures are inevitable, Jesus will not fail us. We fear that if we fail, God will abandon us; we must recognize that God's love is unconditional (Lesson 1). Jesus said, “I will never forsake you or abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5). This is his promise to us. He will not jump in and out of our lives. We can count on him to work with us, despite our failures. When we work with him and co-ooperate with his grace, we can trust that our relationship is secure. Using marriage as an analogy can help participants to understand this concept. For the first few days of marriage, the husband and wife live perfectly together, playing house. But for the rest of their lives, they will fail each other on a daily basis; they are both human and thus tend to live for themselves in many ways. Despite their failures, however, they are confident in their relationship because they are committed to each other. Because of their commitment and love for each other, they work and struggle to strengthen their relationship. Their marriage is a work in progress; failures and mistakes do not end the relationship. Failure is an opportunity to repent. The same thing is true of our relationship with Jesus: we will fail on a daily basis. The Lord knows our weaknesses and he is not surprised by our sin. We need only to come to him in honest repentance and ask for his grace to help us overcome our failures and weaknesses. Knowing God’s mercy does not give us license to sin, however — we still ought to try to avoid all serious and deliberate sin, as well as those “everyday” failures. We must also recognize that if we rebel through actions that “bring death” into our relationship with God, and choose not to repent, we are not co-operating with him or his grace. In fact, mortal sin cuts us off from God’s love and salvation. It is like severing a branch from a tree, so that the sap can no longer reach it. The sacrament of Reconciliation is our opportunity to be reconciled with God. We must remember that our failure is an opportunity to repent and grow. It need not be the destruction of the relationship. Struggles and challenges are all part of the development of the relationship. As long as there is repentance and forgiveness, the relationship can continue to grow. 42
  • 43. So with these misconceptions dealt with, I ask you to look at the invitation this diagram is describing. Christ wants to be at the centre of your life. Pope Benedict XVI communicates the invitation and the attitude we should have in approaching God beautifully in that quote you read in The Ultimate Relationship booklet you read over last week. Please read this quote aloud with me, it's on page 10 of the booklet. If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed.… Dear young people: do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ — and you will find true life. Pope Benedict XVI Mass for the Inauguration of his Pontificate As we finish this evening, perhaps some in this room feel they have never actually prayed to put Jesus at the centre of your life, to be your Lord and Saviour, in a definitive way. Perhaps it has been the desire of your heart and how you have lived your life for a while now, but you want to plant your flag and concretely do it. Prayer MC say: Let us take a moment right now and pray to open our hearts to the "love of God, who invites (us) to enter into a personal relationship with himself in Christ". I will lead the pray aloud for everyone. I ask that everyone keep their eyes closed. If after praying you verbalized this commitment to Jesus for the first time, I ask you to just look up at me while everyone else has their eyes closed as an expression of your decision to put Christ at the centre of your life tonight. MC lead the prayer aloud: Father, I believe that you know me and love me. I have not always chosen to love you, and have broken my relationship with you through my sins. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus who proved your love for me on the cross. (Take a minute to reflect on how you have failed God and others). Lord Jesus, I open the door of my heart and I invite you to be at the centre of my life — to be my Saviour and my Lord. Direct me by your Holy Spirit and help me to live the Gospel with my whole life. Amen. 43
  • 44. MC continue the atmosphere of prayer, say: Please, for just a few moments longer, continue to keep your eyes closed. Those of you you who prayed this prayer for the first time with a sincere heart, I invite you to just open your eyes and look up at me. [Wait 30 seconds for this, nod your head or say "thank you" to acknowledge them. Close with the following prayer, led by MC only.] Thank you for acknowledging that commitment. I will now close our time of prayer: God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and forgiven our sins. May he also keep us faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ for ever and ever. Amen. You may open your eyes now. I invite you to tell someone about what happened to you tonight, if this was the first time you put Jesus at the centre of your life. I invite you to gather now for a few minutes of small group sharing. Small Group leaders: ask them to share if they experienced encountered Christ in a new or deeper way through this prayer. Ask, they to share what they learned about evangelization tonight. Leaders: reminder to personally contact by phone or email every participant in your small group this week to follow up on their experience and impressions of the evening. A phone call would be better, if you have the time, but certainly make a special effort to phone those whom you sense have encountered Jesus in a deeper way as a result of this lesson. Closing Elements MC 20 minutes (including prayer above) Although we have prayed our closing prayer, we do have a few more things to do before we are finished this evening. First some announcements. [space to write Announcements] 44
  • 45. 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. MC say: These documents can be found online. The first two can also likely be found in a parish library or Catholic bookstore. They are a great investment and worth owning. Mention that the Courageous Catholic administrator will email these hyperlinks to group members so it’s more convenient for them to go to those sites.  Evangelii Nuntiandi: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_pvi_exh_19751208_evangelii-nuntiandi_en.html  Redemptoris Missio: http://www.vatican.va/edocs/ENG0219/_INDEX.HTM  Message of the Holy Father for the VII World Youth Day: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/messages/youth/documents/hf_j p-ii_mes_24111991_vii-world-youth-day_en.html Summary St. Catherine's bridge illustration is a helpful tool to communicate and visually grasp God's plan for our salvation. We see creation, the fall, the incarnation, and Christ's death and resurrection clearly laid out. The relationships diagram helps us to understand the kind of relationship we have with our loving God, and invites us to put him at the centre of our lives. 45
  • 46. Lesson 3 Preparation Notes "Holiness and Mission" In Brief: Introduction to the Paul-Timothy model in 2 Timothy 2:2. Key Elements:  Holiness and mission are complementary and united. One is not more important than the other; one cannot be separated from the other. They work together for our sanctification and salvation.  The lesson ends with an overview of the discipleship model from 2 Timothy 2:2 which will be used throughout the study. The goal of this section is to have participants get a sense of the legacy of Paul’s discipleship model (entrusting the message and the mission to faithful people). The model will be further unpacked in upcoming lessons. This is just an introduction. Administrative Tasks:     Complete outstanding registrations and fees. Remind about snack sign up if necessary. Find out if any participants not receive the email with the links to the documents from last week Make sure there is a whiteboard or easel for drawing out the 2Timothy 2:2 circles. 46
  • 47. Lesson 3 Holiness and Mission Outline Welcome MC - 2 minutes Small Group opening question - 10 minutes MC - 2 minutes Interdependence of Holiness and Mission Video - 20 minutes Small Groups - 10 minutes Break - 15 minutes Reach the World One Person at a Time MC - 20 minutes Small Groups - 5 minutes Closing Elements MC - 10 minutes Welcome MC 2 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes + MC 2 minutes MC: Welcome. Invite people to take 10 minutes to do the opening sharing question in their small group. 1. Share with the group what you learned from your reading assignment last week. Did you find any inspirational quotes? 47
  • 48. MC: Regain the group's attention. Begin with a brief prayer. Introduce today's lesson: Last week's lesson was a refresher for some, and for others it allowed you to get caught up with 2 central analogies and illustrations CCO uses in their evangelization. It was important to get that framework in place to build your understanding of CCO's methodology. Today's lesson provides more of a framework for Courageous Catholic. We will open with a very interesting perspective on holiness and mission. 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 intersect. We will then wrap up the lesson with an introduction to 2 Timothy 2:2 — a verse which will inform the rest of the program. So let's start things off with the video segment on the "Interdependence of Holiness and Mission". Interdependence of Holiness and Mission Video 20 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mt 4:19) Jesus at the beginning of his ministry on the Sea of Galilee calls out to Peter and Andrew in the boat fishing, to be a disciple. In baptism we are also called to be a disciple a follower of Christ. In this call there are two aspects that are fundamental to being a disciple of Christ. The first is Jesus asking them to “come after Him”. In these words Jesus is calling us to Himself to conversion: changing the way we live and think of our lives. Our lives are to be oriented to Him as in the words of St. Paul who says, we live no longer for ourselves but for Christ who died for us. It is a call to following in the footsteps of Christ who sacrificed his life for others. We are talking about intimacy, relationship a pursuit of holiness, to be holy as he is holy. The call to holiness is universal meaning all baptised are called to it, 48
  • 49. The Second Vatican Council has significantly spoken on the universal call to holiness. It is possible to say that this call to holiness is precisely the basic charge entrusted to all the sons and daughters of the Church by a Council which intended to bring a renewal of Christian life based on the gospel. This charge is not a simple moral exhortation, but an undeniable requirement arising from the mystery of the Church…whose members share in the same life of holiness of the Head who is Christ. Christifidelis Laici, 16 The Church understands the importance of this pursuit of holiness. It needs to be encouraged, supported and cared for. At the local level it is obvious that the pursuit of holiness is the central and primary challenge and message to their people. Maybe not at the level that it should be but there is a general focus on being a better person, more forgiving and loving etc. This call to be better, holy, is the predominant message in most homilies; countless books on Saints and sacraments are there to assist us in our spiritual life. There are conferences, lectures, retreat all directed to teach and encourage us to live holy and Christcentred lives. The care that the Church provides is very beneficial for us personally. The closer we are to Christ the more alive, peaceful, confident we become. It is also good news for the world around us. The more the light of Christ shines in us the brighter it shines in a world overcome by darkness — which leads me to the second dimension of being a disciple of Christ, which is evangelical mission. Jesus says to Peter and Andrew, “come after me”, be Holy as I am Holy. As if one thought or expression Jesus continues to call them to evangelical mission, “I will make you fishers of men”. Missionary activity is equally important to the Christian life. It cannot be seen as lesser or an optional contribution for some and not for others. Blessed John Paul II says, 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 As Pope Benedict explains, The Church's holiness and missionary character are two sides of the same coin Benedict XVI's Homily at Port of Brindisi Holiness and mission are interdependent, equally expressing the Charter of the Church of you and me. When one looks at the Church, when they see her people, they see our true Charter, which is a people pursuing holiness and at the same time active in the mission. The best way to explain the interplay or interdependence of holiness and mission is to say that Holiness is necessary to our missionary life as is missionary life necessary to the pursuit of holiness. 49
  • 50. We naturally understand how the pursuit of intimacy and Holiness is necessary for mission. St. Paul explains in 1 Cor. 5:14, that “the love of Christ impels us” to evangelical action. We can’t give to others what we are selves do not have. What may seem a little little less natural is seeing how the reverse is also true: missionary activity stirs up holiness. Blessed John Paul II explains, … The Church's missionary spirituality is a journey toward holiness. 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 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; [pause] I want that statement to sink in. This is the most important point I want to take from this presentation — holiness and mission operate in complementarily. They are two sides of the same coin. As one area grows, the other should also be stirred to action. If this communion internal and external spiritual action is not happening in a believer, something is out of order. This is a radical shift from viewing evangelization as an optional activity. Evangelization affects our spiritual life and our relationship with God. If Catholics are to live holy lives, they must engage in the work of evangelization. Pope Benedict XVI explains this dynamic in the lives of the apostles. Reflecting on the term “holiness-mission,” he observes that “holiness is always a force that transforms others.” In this regard, it is useful to reflect that the Twelve Apostles were not perfect men, chosen for their moral and religious irreproachability. They were indeed believers, full of enthusiasm and zeal but at the same time marked by their human limitations, which were sometimes even serious. Therefore Jesus did not call them because they were already holy, complete, perfect, but so that they might become so. Benedict XVI visit to Brindisi July 2, 2008 We are not missionary because we are holy, we engage in missionary activity so that we might become holy. These are extremely important words that we must understand and live. The same care and attention we place on our personal spiritual life we need to care as John Paul II describes the “Church's missionary spirituality”. Meaning that mission, evangelization is a spirituality not simply an actively. To help explain how missionary activity supports our spiritual life I would like to turn to the words of Blessed John Paul II 50
  • 51. 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 He explains that in the spiritual realm, here in our heart, no one lives for himself alone. This is the reality of the lives of the saints, who we as Catholics see as invaluable companions on our pursuit of holiness. We are encouraged by their stories, assisted through their prayers, and challenged by their example. If we are to follow their lead, we have to recognize that the saints were deeply concerned for the salvation of others, not the salvation of their own soul. What we learn is that our concern for the souls of others, that is engagement in “mission”, will free us from fear and selfishness. Are not these two of the biggest bearers to holiness and intimacy with Christ? For we learn in words of Jesus, “do not be afraid” he followed it up with “have faith”. The ability to trust and be confident that God could do what he promised he would do for us. What we learn from the Church is that faith (trust) is strengthened when it is passed on. Evangelical activity places us in an environment where we are forced to turn to God for help. The thousands of people we challenge to evangelize by using our small group faith studies or The Ultimate Relationship learn first hand, by lived experience that God can be trusted. There first response to the challenge is, “I could never do that, I do not know enough, I am to shy etc." After lots of encouragement, training and support they come back after there evangelical experience with joy and amazement of how God used them, even in there weakness to spiritually impact a persons life. There faith was strengthened that day. Missionary activity places us in the right conditions for God to prove his faithfulness. Take that opportunity away from our people - what will suffer will be our faith, “its lessoning is a crises of faith” Selfishness is an obvious vice that any person that is in pursuit of Holiness in constantly battling. We learn that Evangelical Mission by definition focuses not on ourselves but on the other. The Church speaks directly to this point when she says, I quote She (the Church) is called to broaden her horizons, to go beyond boundaries since “the new evangelization is the opposite of self-sufficiency, a withdrawal into oneself, a status quo” Lineamenta, 10 In this environment of looking outside of ourselves and wanting to reach others it will encourage, stir up a culture with in our people, not “a status quo” but a willingness and desire to do or say or go where ever we are called. All for the 51
  • 52. sake of the salvation or transformation of others. When we are reaching out we have less time to focus on ourselves. The interplay of holiness and mission is evident in John 21:15-17. Peter stands before the risen Christ, the one he denied three times just a few days earlier. In light of his denial, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me…?” Peter responds, “yes Lord, you know I love you.” This beautiful call and response to holiness is followed by a call to mission: “Then feed my sheep.” Three times Jesus asks the question and Peter responds. And three times Jesus asks Peter to care for his sheep. This intimate and defining moment in the life of the Church teaches us that holiness and mission are the life breath of a Catholic. We must breathe in holiness and breathe out mission. MC say: We will now share on what stood out for you in that video segment. (10 minutes). 2. How do you think people might misunderstand the interdependence of mission and holiness? After 7 minutes, invite them to take their break. 52
  • 53. Break 10 minutes Invite everyone back to their seats. Reach the World One Person at a Time MC 15 minutes + Small Groups 5 minutes MC say: Reaching the world one person at a time. CCO practices this personal model of ministry on campus but it is certainly not exclusive to the campus environment. As you hear about it, please apply it to yourself, and your ministry or parish context, Where does this model begin? Jesus entrusts 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 2 Timothy. This passage will be a central paradigm for this program. 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 Let's clarify the two key elements in this verse: the people and the strategy. Feel free to shout out answers to my questions.  The people: Who are the people identified in this verse? Paul, Timothy, and people identified as: “witnesses” “faithful people” and “others”.  The strategy: What strategy do we notice in this verse? The strategy is to pass on what they have heard from Paul to those who, in turn, will continue to transmit the message to others. Let's take a closer look at how the people and the strategy are connected. There is space in your participant guide to draw out an illustration that will help us further unpack 2 Timothy 2:2. You will be verbally directing the following flow of questions. They are not in the student guides. If there is confusion in their answering of the questions, direct them to look at what 2 Timothy 2:2 says. (Answers to be elicited from participants are provided in italics for your convenience). 53
  • 54.  Who Paul is speaking in this passage? [Draw a circle with “Paul” written inside]  Look carefully at this verse, how did Paul's message It is through witnesses that Timothy hears Paul’s message. get to Timothy? [Draw next circle: "Witnesses"; draw next circle: "Timothy"]  But it does not end there. What ENTRUST the message to the faithful. is Paul asking Timothy to do? [Draw next circle: "Faithful"]  Does it end there? No! Entrust the message to faithful people who will pass it on to others. [Draw next circle: "Others"]  What do these people have in common? The message Paul is communicating (the Gospel) and the mission to keep spreading it to others. 54
  • 55.  What is the verb Paul uses to explain how this message and mission is transmitted? Entrust (to give somebody responsibility for something).  Why is it important that Paul uses the word “entrust” not just something like “pass it on”? It’s not just a message that is being passed on but a mission as well (to pass it to others who will work with others etc). [Connect the 5 circles by arrows or bars that represent “entrusting”] Great! Now that you've been introduced to 2 Timothy 2:2, I invite you to discuss the following two questions in your small groups. (15 minutes) 4. What would happen if Timothy did not understand Paul’s strategy? Many would not hear, and the spreading of the message would be stopped or slowed down because of Timothy (or the next person after Timothy). The message would end with him. The people would be dependent on Timothy and not know how to move the message or mission forward without his leadership. Follow up and ask: What could happen if we understood and followed Paul’s strategy? How do you see yourself fitting into this diagram? MC: Invite everyone to finish their small group sharing. Then say: This was a very brief orientation to 2 Timothy 2:2. It was important to give you an overview of this verse in order to provide context for future lessons. We will take time to unpack the strategy and the message of Paul, Timothy and their friends in upcoming weeks. For us as a leadership team, this verse reflects our desire that upon completion of this program that you will not just pass on the message or content you’ve learned here, but you will also pass on the mission to others! But again, more about that later… Move into the closing elements of the lesson and any announcements. 55
  • 56. Closing Elements MC 10 minutes Challenge Tell someone this week that you have a personal relationship with Jesus. As well, 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. Make any announcements at this time. MC say: We will now wrap up the evening with the summary of our lesson and the closing prayer.  Evangelii Nuntiandi: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_pvi_exh_19751208_evangelii-nuntiandi_en.html  Redemptoris Missio: http://www.vatican.va/edocs/ENG0219/_INDEX.HTM  Message of the Holy Father for the VII World Youth Day: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/messages/youth/documents/hf_j p-ii_mes_24111991_vii-world-youth-day_en.html 56
  • 57. 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. Closing Prayer Let us pray: 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. Help me to see all aspects and activities of my life through the lens of my deepest identity: evangelization. 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. 57
  • 58. Lesson 4 Preparation Notes "The Message" In Brief: It is necessary to proclaim the kerygma clearly and simply. Key Elements:  This lesson explains the message of a missionary: the kerygma.  It begins with a video presentation of the gospel message with St. Catherine's Bridge Illustration and the Relationships Diagram.  We feel it is important for participants to hear a clear proclamation modeled first, in order to best engage in the lesson. It would be a disservice to take for granted that know what we are talking about in regards to understanding, clarity or experience with these terms "conversion, commitment to Christ, gospel message, open our hearts to Jesus" — or even, having had an opportunity for such an encounter with God. The reality is that some participants may have never had someone "put the pieces together" for them before and in way in which they can respond. For that reason, we invite them to a prayer of commitment at this point in order to solidify and express their heart's desire to God in prayer.  The section on puzzle pieces describes an all-too-common Catholic experience: knowing many truths about God but not understanding how they all fit together. A clear proclamation of the kerygma helps put those pieces together.  The section on 2 Corinthians 5 unpacks Paul's commitment to spreading the message of God's reconciling love. Be sure to prepare your explanation of this passage ahead of time. Here are some helpful points to assist your preparation: o In this passage, Paul refers to the ministry of reconciliation. He is not referring to the sacrament of Reconciliation per se, although what he describes as the ministry of reconciliation most definitely happens in the sacrament of Reconciliation; Christ forgives us our sins and reconciles us to the Father. o The use of the term in this passage has a broader meaning. We can all (not just priests) participate in the ministry of reconciliation by sharing the Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection with others, and invite them to make their peace with God (be reconciled with him, receive salvation). Through the ministry of reconciliation, we invite people to become “new creations in Christ,” and to surrender all things to him so that the “old things pass away.” This is the grace specifically given in Baptism (CCC 1214, 1265). o Since the sacrament of Reconciliation is an essential means in helping people restore their relationship with God. We should encourage and help participants get to the sacrament (letting them know where, when and a refresher on how).  IMPORTANT: At the end of the lesson there is a special section to train people on using The Ultimate Relationship booklet. Make sure you have enough time to go through it! Make sure you solicit someone ahead of time to come on stage and do the role-play. Choose well, you want to make sure they will make for an "easy" demonstration of the book. This is not about doing a fancy, expanded sharing of the UR with all possible add-on analogies, questions and insights. Our objective today is to show the participants that you can quickly, effectively and easily read the book with someone, as is, and it is still very compelling.  The Ultimate Relationship booklet is a helpful tool for sharing the Gospel. Participants can share the booklet as is, but they should not feel confined to using it. The most important thing is to communicate the message. This can be done in whatever way they feel is most appropriate in each circumstance, whether it be telling a story, drawing on a napkin or sharing the booklet.  The lesson closes with a challenge to share The Ultimate Relationship booklet with someone else. Many participants know the message, but lack confidence their ability to share it. This challenge gives them the opportunity to practice sharing the Gospel clearly and simply. It would be ideal if they could share the message with someone who has not heard it, but it is still valuable for them to practice sharing with a believer. The goal is for each participant to be (more) comfortable and confident in communicating the Gospel. 58
  • 59. Administrative Tasks  Important: This week leaders you should bring your Discovery faith study for reference and copies of the Ultimate Relationship to hand out.  Have enough of The Ultimate Relationship booklets for each person.  Prepare who will be doing the role-play training for The Ultimate Relationship (MC or someone else).  Have a role-play partner pre-chosen and prepared to allow for an "easy" role play to be demonstrated, that is, he/she answers with simple, uncomplicated responses. 59
  • 60. Lesson 4 The Message Outline Welcome MC - 2 minutes Small Group opening question - 10 minutes MC - 2 minutes The Kerygma: Jesus Video - 15 minutes Small Groups - 10 minutes Entrusted with the Message Small Groups 20 minute Break - 15 minutes The Ultimate Relationship Demonstration MC - 30 minutes Closing Elements MC - 10 minutes Welcome MC 2 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes + MC 2 minutes MC: Welcome participants. Invite to begin discussing the sharing question. 1. Share with the group what you learned from your reading assignment last week. Did you find any inspirational quotes? 60
  • 61. MC: give a 1 minute warning in their sharing, then focus their attention to the front. Begin with a brief prayer. Introduce the video segment. Say: 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. Our first section today is called "The Kerygma: Jesus" and it begins with a video segment. The Kerygma: Jesus Video 15 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes Definition: Hello again, it's nice to be back. The last time I presented, I clarified some terms for you, and I will be doing that again today. The word kerygma is related to the Greek verb κηρύσσω (kērússō) (prounouced "kay-roos'-so") meaning to cry or proclaim as a herald. It means proclamation, announcement or preaching. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines it as: the apostolic proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ (Merriam Webster Dictionary, m-w.com). I want to repeat that because this is a great concise definition— the apostolic proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ Notice the word apostolic… as in "the apostles", Jesus' disciples… SO what is this kerygma that the first apostles proclaimed? In Scripture: We find the kerygma all over the New Testament, especially in the Book of Acts. but, I'd like to draw our attention to one example found in 1 Corinthians 15:4 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 The apostles' message was death and resurrection Christ's. It's incredible to think that when we share the kerygma, we are united with the very same message of the apostles, the Saints and the faithful throughout the ages who have also proclaimed the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. We are in good company! In Church Teaching: THIS is the fundamental and essential message to be communicated in our evangelization and to highlight that I would like to draw your attention to Evangelii Nuntiandi paragraph 27. 61
  • 62. 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 That encyclical was written by Pope Paul VI. And now I'd like you to listen to Pope John Paul II who also promotes a clear proclamation of Jesus Christ in Redemptoris Missio, paragraph 44. Please underline key words as I read it aloud. 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. Redemptoris Missio, 44 4-Point Gospel Message In CCO, and many Christian and Catholic groups around the world, the kerygma is commonly presented in four clear and easy to remember points: 1 – God created you for a relationship with Him 2 – Our relationship is broken through sin 3 – Jesus restores our relationship 4 – We are invited to respond to his invitation for repentance and relationship. That's…. pretty clear. I can tell you that many people's reaction to those four point is that it's too simple. When evangelizing we must avoid the temptation to regard the kerygma as too simple or basic. On the contrary, it's important to have a strong grasp of what the key message is, because in our experience when there is an open door for evangelization, the faithful really overcomplicate things. For example, if a person said to you something direct like, "I really admire your life, and your deep faith. There's just something about you, a peace and a joy. I want what you have. How can I get it too?" What would you say to this person? There are many, many responses a faithful Catholic might give to this searcher on how to live out this peaceful, joyful Christian life (They might talk about what they do in their prayer life, sacramental life, moral choices, parish involvement)...all good things... But what this person’s heart is searching for is not activity - but JESUS. 62
  • 63. What is happening here is that Catholics in their efforts to witness are in fact catechizing, not evangelizing. They are saying too much...They talk about the things they are convicted or passionate about as Catholics... Marian devotion, overcoming spiritual dryness, pro life issues. But this is not meeting “Timothys” where they are; or with what they need to hear “of first importance”. (In fact, these topics will probably only make sense to them once they have a conversion of heart anyway). It is true that sometimes these are springboards for evangelistic conversations... But then you want to be mindful to lead the conversation to Christ and the kerygma. [pause] The content of catechesis is incredibly broad and should be the necessary follow up for one who has been evangelized. IN our evangelization however, we must fight to keep the content, clear and simple– the kerygma - Jesus. Another important point I want to stress, is that when sharing the kerygma we must not limit the message to the first three points only (God’s love, sin and Jesus). We must have the courage to invite people to repent and give God permission in their lives. This can feel awkward, but this step offers Timothys an opportunity to personal encounter God. To enter a Christ – centered relationship. AND This important decision allows those who are already Catholic, to be more fully disposed to God’s grace when they go to the sacrament of reconciliation and receive the Eucharist. Lack of Clarity What CCO has found over the past two decades of evangelizing, is that people are generally confused about Jesus. Unfortunately, many Catholics (who should be witnesses to the faith) are confused about who he is too, even those Catholics in the pew every Sunday. The Catholics we meet on campus often indicate that they are unsure whether Jesus is actually God or what his death on the cross means. They often see his death on the cross as a tragedy; or perhaps they see it as a great sign of his love for humanity in general, but not for themselves personally. 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 the Discovery faith study, 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: 63
  • 64. 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 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.” In hearing the Gospel message simply and clearly Catholics would not only personally benefit, but they would be able to explain it to others simply and clearly. They would know and understand clearly the “reason for it all” the “why” to our Catholic faith. Listening to these real life examples, we could get frustrated with how clued out people are, we might be tempted to ask "How could they not know this - it's so basic and fundamental!" Precisely, how could they not know this?! What we can tell you is that in our CCO experience, most people who have walked away are either indifferent, critical or frustrated based only on what they have been taught and told. Pointing a finger at them for their lack of faith formation and belief is neither helpful nor just. Maybe they weren't listening, believing, or paying attention, but we should consider the fact that the fault may not be in their failure to understand, but in our failure to communicate the message. We need to take responsibility for what has not been clearly given to them. So here in Courageous Catholic, we want to encourage a paradigm shift in how we view people — let's move from judgment to understanding and compassion . They simply “don’t know what they don’t know". BUT If we know, then we have a responsibility to communicate it to them, clearly and simply. As St. Paul said, "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel" The heart of the gospel message is Jesus! 64
  • 65. MC say: In light of this video segment, I invite you to go into your small groups to discuss the following question. (10 minutes) 2. What is your reaction to these stories? Do you think this is a common experience for Catholics? MC: Give a one minute warning. Then say: The next section you will be moving into called 'Entrusted with the Message' digs into 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 which expresses Paul's heart and zeal for evangelization. We will be giving your small group 20 minutes to dive into it, followed by a break before we move into our last section of this lesson. So go ahead now, and enjoy the inspiration of St. Paul. Entrusted with the Message Small Groups 20 minutes 3. Read 2 Corinthians 5:11-21. Paul speaks with tremendous conviction in this passage. What is the object of his passion? Paul is passionate about the Good News of Jesus! He recognizes that people need to hear about Jesus. There is a sense of urgency in this passage: he is being compelled to reach out and pursue others. This passage describes God as being passionate too. He pursues us. The proof of his pursuit: he sent Jesus to take our sins upon himself in order to reconcile us to the Father [vv. 17-19 and 21]; he also sends his witnesses (Paul and others) [v. 18]. Ask, “Where do we see the message/the kerygma identified in these verses?”  “one died for all” [v. 14]  reconciled to God through Christ [v. 18]  Jesus took our sins upon himself so we could be reconciled to God [vv. 19 and 21] 4. What fuels his passion? Mention that there are a number of contributing factors; encourage participants to back up their answers with Scripture.  Fear of the Lord [v. 11] – God is commissioning him to this task. You don’t take those marching orders lightly! There is also a sense that this task is of eternal importance – a top priority from God.  Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God because his mission was not only about transforming lives and hearts here and now (“behold, the kingdom of God is among you” [Luke 17:20]), but for 65
  • 66.       eternity. He came to bring us salvation and the hope of heaven - the eternal Kingdom of God. This message is a matter of life and death and was central to Jesus’ proclamation. Love of Christ [v. 14] – implying gratitude for what Jesus did on the cross. Love for those to whom he is reaching out (his “Timothys”) [v. 13]. Conviction that the message of Jesus is of eternal importance and meant for all to receive [v. 15]. Understanding of the great treasure that is found in Christ, in that through him, we become a new creation and are reconciled with God [vv. 17, 18]. Privilege and responsibility of being entrusted with the message of reconciliation [v. 19] and of being an ambassador for Christ [v. 20]. Memories of his own conversion [v. 16]. 5. Paul calls us ambassadors for Christ. How does this perspective of our missionary role affect the way we communicate the kerygma? With this in mind, we approach our ministry with a sense of dignity, responsibility and importance. Recognizing that we are Christ's ambassadors gives us a sense of our dignity. It is an honour to proclaim the Gospel, and we should do so with peaceful confidence. We should not be ashamed of our message. We approach our call to apostolate with the fear of the Lord as Paul says in verse 11. This means we act with deep respect for God, serving him well and obeying his directives because he is GOD. This attitude also implies that we share the kerygma clearly and simply in order to directly and accurately pass on the message entrusted to us. We should do so in a way that is timely, appropriate, loving, compassionate and inviting, avoiding attitudes and actions that are judgmental, impatient, disgusted or patronizing. We must treat those we speak to with respect, strive to identify with them, and be patient with them. Furthermore, we should avoid assuming that the people we meet do not need to be reconciled. Someone to whom you are ministering may not have had a chance to be reconciled with God. It would be a shame for them to miss out on this opportunity only because it was not offered. MCs give a 2 minute warning, letting them know that when they finish they are free to go for their break. The next section's role-play training should be done by MC or someone else confident in doing it. Have a role play partner pre-chosen who will allow for an "easy" role play to be demonstrated. Administrator: During the break hand out The Ultimate Relationship booklets at each person's spot. Technician: Set up microphone and chairs for role play. Break 15 minutes MC: Invite everyone back to their seats. 66
  • 67. The Ultimate Relationship: A Tool for Sharing the Kerygma MC demonstrated role play with booklets for each participant - 30 minutes (Approximately 2 minutes per UR page) We have seen the importance of proclaiming Jesus clearly and simply. We also saw that we have been entrusted with this message. However, sharing our faith with others can seem very intimidating at first. We might know the message, but how can we communicate it in a clear, simple and non-judgmental way? The four-point Gospel message that was shared in the kerygma section is presented in a clear, unintimidating way in this helpful booklet, The Ultimate Relationship. The booklet also includes an immediate opportunity to respond to this Gospel and put Jesus at the centre of their life. Today we are going to demonstrate to you with some role playing how you can use The Ultimate Relationship booklet to successfully communicate the kerygma. By simply reading it with someone (in a "sharing" sort of way), you can effectively and personally share the Gospel with someone. Naturally the more familiar you become with the book, the more creative you can get: adding analogies, extra questions etc. As your comfort level grows you may not even need to use the book — rather you just draw out diagrams on a napkin at the coffee shop! Although we should all be very familiar with the content of this book (there is nothing in here that you don't already know), it is quite another thing to communicate that content in a clear, concise, simple way for another to understand. Often in our evangelization efforts we overcomplicate the message, and speak about more than is necessary, or about spiritual topics or realities we are passionate about or interested in regarding the faith. We need to think about the person we are speaking to, and what they need to hear. We need to think about how we can:  best explain the Good News to them in a way they can personally understand AND  give them an opportunity to respond to that good news by putting Jesus at the centre of their life. I will now do a role-play of sharing The Ultimate Relationship booklet. Occasionally I will "pause" the role-play to make some pointers. Follow along in your Ultimate Relationship booklets, taking notes directly in it if you want. You can consider it your "working copy" or "demo copy" . My objective today is to show you that the book is meant to make sharing the Gospel message easier, in fact I want to show you how easy it is. I could show you more analogies, extra questions or comments that could be made, but I won't because I want you to see the tool used in it's purest, simplest form. As a motivation for paying close attention, you might want to know that your challenge this week involves sharing this booklet with someone else! But remember it's easier than you might think. Invite your role-play partner to join you. 67
  • 68. PAGE 1  This page is just an introduction page intended mainly for those who pick up the booklet and read it on their own. (Remember The UR is designed to be stand alone like that, where someone could just read it and understand the gospel message and respond to it).  You do not have to read those questions. You can just open to the page, and simply say something like: “This booklet will help answer some of these big questions in life, and explain the heart of the God's message of hope to us” PAGES 2-3  Read this page and refer to the image.  Then mention to the group: The question at the end: "Do you think God is perceived and experienced in this personal way?" will help you see if they have they encountered God in a personal way?  This would be a good place to share how there was a time in your life when you didn’t know God personally, and how things are different now. For example: “I used to think God was up in heaven like some spirit, uninterested, or too busy to pay attention to the little things in my life. But now I know that he is with me wherever I go.”  Mention to the group: The answer to the question “Do you think God is perceived and encountered in this personal way” is almost always “No”. You can use this to transition to the next page by saying: “People are not experiencing this kind of relationship because it has been broken by sin.” As a matter of fact, I would encourage you to write that transition on the bottom of page 3 right now. I will have some other transitions on other pages as well for you to pencil in. PAGES 4-5  Read the page.  Use this transition before the last line on the page: “However, there is good news! Our broken relationship can be restored!” [Pause.] You can write that transition in to your working copy. 68
  • 69. PAGES 6-7  Simply read through the page. You can refer to the picture — that Jesus and the cross bridges the gap of sin between us and God.  You can mention that one could expand on the St. Catherine bridge illustration learned in Discovery here if desired (but don't do it in this role play). PAGES 8-9 MC: Before beginning the role-play here, tell participants:  READ these pages exactly the way they are written. The “Relationships Diagram” can sometimes be confusing, especially when we try to paraphrase.  The “Relationships Diagram” on these pages is a tool we can use to know where people are at with their relationship with God.  The answers to the questions at the bottom of p.9 are very important. Give them time to answer. Continue with role-play.  Have the role play partner answer that they are in the second circle, and would like to be in the third circle.  As a transition to the next page say: The next page will show us how to move from Jesus being a part of your life (the second image) to Jesus being the centre of your life (the third image). [Pause]. You might want to pencil that transition in to your booklet. PAGE 10  Mention there is a helpful transition to begin page 10: "On this page we see that it all comes down to an invitation — to open the door of our heart to him."  Then read the page  At this point it would be a good time to share your experience. You could say something VERY brief like: When I first understood Jesus wanted a relationship with me I was scared I would lose out, and I wasn’t sure if I could trust him with my life. When I did invite him in, I felt a quiet peace, joy and a huge burdened lifted off of my shoulders. 69
  • 70. PAGE 12  Simply read the page. Have the role play person say "yes". Then read the prayer aloud together.  You can mention: This part is uncomfortable, and often people want to skip it. Do not be afraid! This is an important time for them to verbally give a yes to God.  After praying, affirm the person saying: God is so pleased with your heart-felt prayer, in fact the Bible says the angels are rejoicing in heaven over you right now.  Transition: There is a bit more I want to share with you. Go to the next page PAGE 14  You don't need to role play the booklet any further. Rather, explain this page, say: This is where we challenge people to confirm their yes and to begin (or renew) their relationship with God by going to the sacrament of Reconciliation.  If they are Catholic you can help them go to confession by finding out where and when they can receive the sacrament in your area.  You might want to accompany them if they are intimidated.  If they are not ready to go, let them know that they are still loved and that they can choose to go when they feel ready.  If the person is not Catholic, you may suggest they talk with a priest about their sins and struggles. PAGE 16  Explain this page by saying: This page shows some practical ways to live out a relationship with God.  Final note: Point out that it is important to follow-up with people who have prayed the prayer on page 12 and have decided to put Jesus at the centre of their lives within 48hours of sharing The Ultimate Relationship booklet with them to support them in their decision. MC: Move into the closing elements of the lesson and any announcements. 70
  • 71. Closing Elements MC 10 minutes Challenge This week, share The Ultimate Relationship booklet with someone. Be prepared to share your experience with the group next week. It is fine if they share it with someone who is a believer, because at least it is still practice for them. Of course, it would be better and a greater challenge to share it with someone who may need to hear the message more. Small group leaders: it is very important that you set a firm and positive example in doing the challenges too. This is where the rubber hits the road and it will be important for participants to do the challenges in order to internalize the material of the study. Your example and affirmation will be the best tools in facilitating successful challenges. Make any announcements at this time. MC say: We will now wrap up the evening with the summary of our lesson and the closing prayer. 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. 71
  • 72. Prayer Let us pray: 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. MC: You may also want to be sensitive to the Spirit's prompting if you feel that it would be a good idea to again invite participants to make the prayer of commitment in The Ultimate Relationship booklet their own — to truly place Jesus at the centre of their life, if they have not honestly done this yet. If so say: Please continue in a spirit of prayer for a bit longer. In desiring to follow the Spirit's prompting, I am sensing that there may be individuals here today who have never placed Jesus at the centre of their life. If you cannot honestly say that you have done this important step yet, I invite you to make this prayer your own and invite Jesus to be at the centre of your life. We will pray it together and I encourage you to indicate if you have prayed it for the first time by lifting your head or raise your hand so I can see, as a concrete sign of your commitment to the Lord. Pray the commitment prayer: Father, I believe that you know me and love me. I have not always chosen to love you, and have broken my relationship with you through my sins. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus who proved your love for me on the cross. Lord Jesus, I open the door of my heart and I invite you to be at the centre of my life — to be my Saviour and my Lord. Direct me by your Holy Spirit and help me to live the Gospel with my whole life. AMEN. As we would tell anyone with whom we would pray this prayer, we encourage you to tell someone else that you have invited Jesus to be at the centre of your life. Scripture tells us in Romans 10:9 " if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." So speaking out and confessing your faith is very important. Good night everyone and see you next week. 72
  • 73. Lesson 5 Preparation Notes "The Message and You" In Brief: Recognizing how we have experienced God's saving action in our own lives. Key Elements:  The purpose of this lesson is to help participants identify their moment of conversion. Each person is encouraged to reflect on how they came to understand that Jesus died for their sins. The importance of being able to tell the story of their conversion is also emphasized. o Some people are able to identify a definite moment of conversion. Others experience the full impact of Christ’s mercy later in their faith journey. o In this lesson, examples of both of these situations will be described through stories. One story demonstrates that, although it may be necessary to dig a bit to help people recognize their moment of conversion, the moment can most often be identified. A second story describes how someone recognized Jesus as Saviour later in her faith journey.  In this lesson your group will be identifying when they made an adult decision to choose to follow Jesus. Some might call this time in our lives as "making an adult decision to respond to their baptism," being "lost then found," "blind but now they can see" or "their conversion moment".  It is important to recognize that we were saved from our sins. This helps us to authentically and effectively communicate the Gospel, and to identify with others who are lost.  The discussion in this lesson might create a wide range of emotions and responses. Some participants may get upset, defensive, sorrowful or despairing when they consider the grave mistakes and wrong decisions they or their loved ones have made. It is important to remind them that God can bring good out of any situation. We cannot give into despair as though situations are too drastic for God to redeem. We need to trust that God is God and that nothing is impossible for him. Remind your group of the testimony of people like Paul (who sought out and killed Christians), or Mary Magdalene (who was possessed by demons).  Small group leaders, prepare your testimony and your own answers to the lesson’s questions in order to model the tone and vulnerability of the sharing. You may want to lead by being the first to share, as people might be shy. This will allow you to model appropriate content and length of sharing. You will also need to have your "one minute" conversion moment ready to share for the final section of the lesson.  We want each participant to grasp that he/she is desperately in need of a Saviour. You may find that some are not able to answer convincingly (or answer at all). Perhaps they have not yet experienced their need for a Saviour. Perhaps they have never actually put Jesus at the centre of their lives. Perhaps they have always been good and faithful and it is harder for them to have an emotional connection to Christ’s sacrifice for them. It is GREAT that they have always been faithful – they do not need to go looking for dirt. To help them understand their need you could: o Suggest that if they are not sure whether they have ever really understood their need for a Saviour, they should ask God for the grace to recognize it. They can meditate and reflect on the gift of faithfulness, how Christ has preserved them from serious sin, and what their life could have looked like without his grace. o After the meeting, discreetly offer to meet with these people individually to help them further their reflection and/or help them concretely reach out to Jesus as their Saviour (sharing the relationships diagram and praying with them, bringing them to the sacrament of Reconciliation, etc.).  Also you will notice that we are using the term "the Lost" and "Timothy" interchangeably. Even Timothy began somewhere: as someone who initially needed to hear and respond to Jesus; he was once “lost.” When we talk about reaching out to a "Timothy" it is generally referring to someone who has not had this adult conversion yet (ie. is "lost" and has not responded as an adult to God's gift of salvation). 73
  • 74.  The question may arise: What if the "Timothy" we are reaching out to isn't exactly "lost" but someone who is practicing their faith? Yes it is possible we have "Timothys" in our lives who are at this place. A great starting point in working with this "Timothy" is to do exactly what is happening in this lesson - to help this person identify when he/she was lost and came to know Jesus. Notes on Conversion: (from the video): Conversion happens in many ways. Someone might truly understand Jesus as Saviour at their initial conversion, but this understanding can also be gained through prayer, the confessional, Mass, hearing a talk, a faith sharing group or growing up in a faithful family. Somehow, in these situations the individual has a meaningful encounter with the forgiveness, mercy and love of Jesus. Generally, there are three types of faith journeys/testimonies: 1) Definite Adult Conversion Moment. Many people can identify a definitive moment when they acknowledged Jesus their Redeemer. They have a personal encounter with God and his truth at a very specific time and place (for example, on a retreat, praying to put Jesus at the centre of your life, etc.). There is often a "Paul" connected with their experience who assisted in reconciling them with the Father. 2) Season of Adult Conversion. Some people have a general idea of when things began to change, but they are not sure when they gave God permission to have Lordship in their lives. This may be a fair assessment of how they became a disciple. However, sometimes with more reflection, they can find a decision moment. It is very liberating for them when they do! Is it necessary to dig endlessly for a conversion moment? Of course not. What is important is that the person can say, "I see that during this period of my life I received the love and forgiveness of Christ and chose to follow him as a disciple." 3) Faithful One's Whole Life. Some people have sought to put their trust in God and follow Jesus throughout their entire life. Instead of having a dramatic adult conversion, their story is one of faithfulness to God with many “yes's” over the years. They have lived daily in the graces of Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation – as should be the ordinary faith journey for all Catholics. This is a beautiful testimony of God's grace, empowering them to habitually avoid and repent of sin, and reminding them of Jesus' saving action in their lives. However, there is still room for these people to reflect on key moments of decision to follow Christ. For example, Mary the Mother of God or St. Thérèse of Lisieux would have been faithful their whole lives, but there are specific occasions when they made their big yesses — important decisions to follow God and receive his grace. For example, Mary's yes at the Annunciation. In her testimony in the magnificat, (Luke 1:46-55) we read of Mary rejoicing in God her Saviour who has had mercy on her in her lowliness. St. Thérèse talks about her Christmas conversion. She was 14 years old when she overhead her father expressing relief that this would be the last year he would have to hide presents in Thérèse's 'petit soulier' shoe. Her usual response would have been to burst into tears and have an emotional meltdown. Instead, she felt the grace of God acting in her and helping her to choose not to give into selfishness, but to be mature and not cry. Many would see this as a very ordinary story, but St. Thérèse, who is a doctor of the Church, would identify this as a pivotal moment in her spiritual growth. It was here that she chose to put Christ first in her life, no longer herself preoccupied with selfish desires and tendencies. Surely if these women have a story to tell, so do we! In order for all these people to be effective as missionaries, they should ponder this question: "How have I experienced Jesus as the one who saved me from sin, death and separation from God?" 74
  • 75. Lesson 5 The Message and You Outline Welcome MC - 2 minutes Small Group opening question - 10 minutes MC - 2 minutes Personal Conversion Video - 25 minutes Small Groups - 10 minutes Break - 15 minutes You MC - 2 minutes Personal reflection - 20 minutes MC - 3 minutes Small Groups - 15 minutes Closing Elements MC - 10 minutes Welcome MC 2 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes + MC 2 minutes MC: Welcome. Invite people to take 10 minutes to do the opening sharing question in their small group. 1. Share with the group how your experience of sharing the kerygma went. What did you learn from this experience? 75
  • 76. MC: Give a 1 minute warning in their sharing. Regain the groups attention. Begin with a brief prayer. Then introduce today's lesson: “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. The content in this video segment will help you as you reflect on your story of faith, your conversion, your testimony. Personal Conversion Video 25 minutes What is conversion? This week, we are looking back at our faith journey. We are looking back on our lives and remembering when we were a “Timothy,” and how we came to know the person and presence of Jesus in our lives, especially in that initial conversion of our hearts and minds. What do we mean when we say the word conversion? When we use the word we are not only meaning someone who has converted to the Catholic faith from another religion or denomination, although this could be part of it. Rather we are referring to someone who has experienced a metanoia (which means turning one's life around 180 degrees, choosing to repent, accept the gift of salvation in Jesus). Pope John Paul II said in Redemptoris Missio, 46, "Conversion means accepting, by a personal decision, the saving sovereignty of Christ and becoming his disciple." It can be described as "an adult decision to make your faith your own. It is a time in your life when you chose to live for God. A time when you recognized he was God and you would live your life to please and honour him. But more specifically when we speak about conversion we are speaking about an encounter with Jesus - receiving forgiveness for your sins and encountering his mercy and love so that you want to please him and know him more. You all have encountered something of this, or you wouldn't be taking this program. Today's lesson is about helping you understand how you came to your conversion and knowing Jesus as your Redeemer and God. 76
  • 77. 3 Types of Testimonies Conversion happens in many ways. Someone might truly understand Jesus as Saviour at their initial conversion, but this understanding can also be gained through prayer, the confessional, Mass, hearing a talk, a faith sharing group or growing up in a faithful family. Whatever the situation, the individual has a meaningful encounter with the forgiveness, mercy and love of Jesus. Generally, there are three types of faith journeys/testimonies: 1) Definite Adult Conversion Moment. Many people can identify a definitive moment when they acknowledged Jesus their Redeemer. They have a personal encounter with God and his truth at a very specific time and place (for example, on a retreat, praying to put Jesus at the centre of your life, etc.). There is often a "Paul" connected with their experience who assisted in reconciling them with the Father. 2) Season of Adult Conversion. Some people have a general idea of when things began to change, but they are not sure when they gave God permission to have Lordship in their lives. This may be a fair assessment of how they became a disciple. However, sometimes with more reflection, they can find a decision moment. It is very liberating for them when they do! Is it necessary to dig endlessly for a conversion moment? Of course not. What is important is that the person can say, "I see that during this period of my life I received the love and forgiveness of Christ and chose to follow him as a disciple." 3) Faithful One's Whole Life. Some people have sought to put their trust in God and follow Jesus throughout their entire life. Instead of having a dramatic adult conversion, their story is one of faithfulness to God with many “yes's” over the years. They have lived daily in the graces of Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation – as should be the ordinary faith journey for all Catholics. This is a beautiful testimony of God's grace, empowering them to habitually avoid and repent of sin, and reminding them of Jesus' saving action in their lives. However, there is still room for these people to reflect on key moments of decision to follow Christ. For example, Mary the Mother of God or St. Thérèse of Lisieux would have been faithful their whole lives, but there are specific occasions when they made important decisions to follow God and receive his grace (e.g. Mary at the Annunciation choosing to say the great yes to God ever made! Her testimonial is in the magnificat, found in Luke 1: 46-55. We read of Mary rejoicing in God her Saviour who has had mercy on her in her lowliness). Mary was without sin, yet acknowledged her need for a Saviour, and gave him her yes! We are sinners and so even more, we should acknowledge our need for a Saviour and give him our yes. St. Thérèse talks about her Christmas conversion story. She was 14 years old when she overhead her father expressing relief that this would be the last year he would have to hide presents in Thérèse's 'petit soulier', that is, her shoe. Her usual response would have been to burst into tears and have an emotional meltdown. Instead, she felt the grace of God acting in her and helping her to choose to not give into selfishness but to be mature and not cry. Many would see this as a very ordinary story, but St. Thérèse, who is a doctor of the Church, 77
  • 78. would identify this as a pivotal moment in her spiritual growth. It was here that she chose to put Christ first in her life, no longer herself preoccupied with selfish desires and tendencies. Our Conversion Story Therefore, can we really just say, "Oh, I've always had faith, grew up in it and that's about it." Surely,if these two faithful women have a story to tell about Jesus' action in their life, then so do we! Therefore, we ask ourselves:  "What were my big yesses to God?"  "How have I experienced Jesus as the one who saves me?  "How have I experienced Jesus as the one who gave me eternal life?" Barriers Sometimes we brush off our story out of a false humility of some kind. "God didn't really do anything for me; I don't even know he really notices me. There's probably no sign of his action in my life anyway because I don't really matter too much in the grand scheme of things." First, this is a lie. Our Father is a personal God; he knows and loves you intimately. He has carved your name on the palm of his hand. He desires that all would know him and be saved. You are his child. Do not be afraid to look for his fingerprints in your life, you are worth him sending his son to die so that you could spend eternity with him. That is a fact. Another common barrier in this process is that people feel awkward somehow to speak out that Jesus has acted in their life and saved them. We are uncomfortable to boldly proclaim what Jesus did in our life. This type of response actually robs God of the glory and proclamation he deserves. Unfortunately, this response is also self-centred not Christ-centred; focused on my discomfort or fear to speak about Jesus in my life. When we live a Christ-centred relationship, we should be able to freely speak about Jesus' action and role in our life because we are so very aware of our utter dependence on him, and the great love he has poured into our hearts. Value of Identifying our Conversion The next thing I want to talk about is the value of identifying our conversion. Why is it valuable to be able to identify it. Some of us understand Jesus is our Saviour and Redeemer 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. But, no matter when we “get it,” we must be able to “give it” to others. “Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you” [1 Peter 3:15]. Why is it important that I know Jesus saved me, that I value this gift and am able to communicate it to others? Jot down for a minute your own thoughts. There are two big reasons: 1) To authentically and effectively communicate the Gospel. If we are not convinced of our NEED for Christ, how will we be able to effectively convey this 78
  • 79. truth and present this Person to others? To be effective in our evangelization, we should be able to articulate our conversion story: "What happened to me? How and when did I have a conversion? What has changed? How did I come to know God's love and forgiveness in my life?" This allows for the listener to know how they too can come to experience God the way you have. If we do not communicate a clear story they hearer will not know how to imitate you and find God. For example if you explain your faith journey like this in a really vague way saying, "Oh, my faith is so important to me. I just love my parish community too. It's such a great place to raise my family." This does not communicate very much to the listener about how they can get that joy and faith you have you have found in God. We need to tell them our story, but with the kerygma and how you responded to it and received him into your life — so they understand how to encounter God in their life too. Being able to give clear testimony to your faith and to glorify God's saving action in your life is very important for a missionary. However, some people struggle to find their exact conversion moment. Receiving training in how to give a testimony can be very helpful. Training on this is offered in the material at the end of the lesson. 2) To identify with others. It is also important to be able to identify our personal need for Jesus as Saviour so that we can relate to others with empathy and humility. When we are conscious of the sobering reality that without Christ, we would be much worse off, we are able to be sincerely patient, compassionate and empathetic towards others. It is important to help people identify how they came to understand the Good News in their lives and how Jesus heals them from sin and death. The classic lifeguard analogy, for example, helps people to recognize that they were drowning in their sin and weakness and that they needed Jesus to rescue them. See Discovery Leader's Guide, Lesson 5. Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 41 Witnesses communicate something very authentic. You know they are the real deal; that they really believe what they are saying. They have lived it, touched it, experienced it. "Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy." (1 Peter 1:18) Authenticity oozes out because we have personally encountered God's love. This speaks volumes! Finding the Conversion Moment It can be challenging to help people develop their testimony and identify their conversion story. 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. 79
  • 80. Our challenge is to help illuminate the conversion process. There are two aspects we can help people to identify:  Their personal decision to open their heart to Jesus or,  If they have remained faithful to God since childhood, how has Jesus' death and resurrection been personally understood or experienced? We have two stories that illustrate both scenarios: The first one involves Andre, when he was helping a student to identify his adult conversion testimony 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 weekend. Frustrated with my line of question, he emphasised 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. Angèle tells how she came to the realization that Jesus died on the cross for her personally. Every Good Friday, I wanted to feel sadness and regret for what Jesus had done for me on the cross, but I could never feel it. I really tried to muster up those feelings, I did. Problem was I didn't feel like I was a bad person for whom Jesus had to die, because ……I wasn’t a bad person. 80
  • 81. I found myself jealous of people who had dramatic stories of conversion. I would listen in awe and wonder at the stories of people who had been criminals or drug addicts, and 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." During Lent of 1996, I prayed more earnestly than I ever have, that God would show me the depth of my sin so I could truly appreciate the cross. 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, be healed of 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 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. I have been loved, fought for and rescued from the gravity of my sin Sure, I had followed Jesus as Lord my whole life, but now I also know him as my Saviour. In closing, there is one other realization that came out of this experience. It led me to reflect upon what kind of person I would be if I had not grown up in the faith and was left to my own devices. When I consider my woundedness, temperament and weaknesses, I can only imagine the direction and many damaging choices I could so easily have made. This is a sobering thought and helps me to recognize what 81
  • 82. could have been if it weren't for God’s grace in my life. All along, his presence in my life saved me from what could have been. He has always been and continues to be my Saviour. I need him! MC say: I think many can relate to that last story by Angèle. As Catholics we have grown up understanding that Jesus is God. We know intellectually 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? If you have not experienced the grace of comprehending that Jesus died for your sins, do not be afraid to ask him for it. When we know our very real need for mercy and a Saviour we consequently have greater compassion on those with what might seem like more "obvious sins". When we understand that we too are, really, truly, desperate without Jesus' death and resurrection and when we know what God's mercy feels like, we are all the more motivated to share this good, no, incredible news with others who need to hear it as much as we do. I invite you to go into your small groups to discuss the video segment as a whole. There was a great deal in there for personal reflection. (10 minutes) 2. What resonated with you about your personal faith story from this video segment? After 10 minutes of small group discussion, invite participants to take their break. Break 15 minutes Invite everyone back to their seats. 82
  • 83. You MC 2 minutes + Personal reflection 20 minutes + MC 3 minutes + Small Groups 15 minutes MC say: 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", Zenit.org Having heard these two testimonies, let's spend the next 15 minutes in personal reflection. 3. Recall your own journey. You are not expected to answer all of the following questions, they are fire starters, to help you unpack and articulate your conversion story.  Why are you faithful to God?  How have you experienced God's love for you?  When and how did you experience and adult conversion?  What are significant moments when you received God's forgiveness and mercy?  What were the big yesses to God in your life?  Who was the “Paul” in your life? Were there several “Pauls” in your life?  What is it about these “Pauls” and what they communicated to you that brought you to a clearer understanding of Jesus?  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?  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. 83
  • 84. MC carefully monitor the timeline for this section, in summary:  8pm Introduce questions for self reflection.  8:10 - 8:25 They work on discerning their conversion story. Leaders mill about make yourselves avail to listen and advise whoever needs help.  8:25 - 8:35 Check in and challenge them to make sure their conversion is about Jesus/mercy/forgiveness not just "went on a retreat...". Challenge them to communicate, in 1 minute, their conversion moment/season/experience. Give them 5 more minutes given to work on that.  8:35 - 8:45 Share their 1 minute story in small groups. Small group leaders: Participants may want to take some time alone to do this exercise. They can also journal their thoughts. We want each participant to grasp that he/she is desperately in need of a Saviour. Be very sensitive to your group members during this time. Do they seem uncomfortable? Not writing anything down? It is possible they are struggling with this exercise.     Perhaps they need help to find their conversion moment. Perhaps they have not yet experienced their need for a Saviour. Perhaps they have never actually put Jesus at the centre of their lives. Perhaps they have always been good and faithful and it is harder for them to have an emotional connection to Christ’s sacrifice for them. It is GREAT that they have always been faithful – they do not need to go looking for dirt. To help them figure this out you could: Suggest that if they are not sure whether they have ever really understood their need for a Saviour, they should ask God for the grace to realize it. They can meditate and reflect on the gift of faithfulness, how Christ has preserved them from serious sin, and what their life could have looked like without his grace. After tonight's meeting, you could discreetly offer to meet with these people individually to help them further their reflection and/or help them concretely reach out to Jesus as their Saviour (sharing the “Relationships Diagram” and praying with them, bringing them to the sacrament of Reconciliation, etc.). 84
  • 85. MC, Give 15 minutes to work on #3, then regain the groups attention and say: Look at what you've come up with so far. Where is Jesus in what you have? Often people will be like the first testimony in today's lesson, and just say, "I went on a retreat and now I follow God." There's a big gap there! What happened on the retreat? The young man in the story on the video was challenged to identify how and when he encountered Jesus at that retreat. Or perhaps your situation is that you've identified a big yes or a season in your life. Is the kerygma present in your story. Maybe it wasn't explicitly obvious to you then but often in hindsight we can specifically identify how it was Jesus who was intervening in your life and saving you even though you weren't fully aware of it all at the time. For example a person's story may be something like this: "After we took baptismal preparation with out children, I realized that I needed to decide if I was going to raise my family in the faith or not. This was the turning point for me, where I made an adult decision to follow God. I chose to embrace my faith and bring my children with me. And looking back on it now I see how Jesus was actually intervening in my life through that decision. My baptism and my children's baptism were the instruments through which I was brought from spiritual death to life. You see if it weren't for Jesus' death and resurrection and the give of new life given to me through him in my baptism would not know God's love, peace, forgiveness and healing in my life." Notice how the truth of the Gospel was woven into that story. In retrospect we can see how Jesus was making his salvation known to us. This is important to recognize and communicate because our testimony should not be about us, but should give the glory to God. Our testimony should be a means by which we proclaim the Gospel with our life. When we communicate the kerygma clearly in our testimony and how we responded to Jesus' action in our life, we allow others to understand how they too can acknowledge Jesus as Saviour and put him at the centre of their lives. So, look at what you have so far. Is the kerygma there? Is the glory given to Jesus' action in your life, or are you only focusing on an experience or a period of time. How was Jesus healing you from sin and weakness during that time? How was in fact intervening in your life at that time, even if you weren't fully aware? What did he save you from? What clarification or tweaking is needed in what you have right now, to proclaim Jesus? I will give you five more minutes to work on that. But in that five minutes I have another challenge, to prepare how you would share in one minute only the key moment/season/yes of your conversion. This is important and helpful because in the real world often we will only have a minute or two to evangelize through our testimony. We might have just one minute with a parishioner at the back of the church, with your hairdresser at the end of a hair cut, or a co-worker during a coffee break. We will be timing this. Your one minute might be something like: "I encountered God's personal love for me at a conference, and it changed everything about how I relate to God". Or "In my twenties at some point I had to make decision whether God would be a priority in my life or not. I chose to put God first in how I lived my life and raised my family. Jesus gave his life for me so I should live my life for him." So to summarize your challenge now for the next five minutes is to:  put Jesus in your conversion story and  communicate the main point/moment/yes/ in one minute. 85
  • 86. 4. Do the one-minute challenge with your small group. Small group leaders: Be prepared to be the first to share, as people might be shy. This will also allow you to model appropriate content and length of sharing. MC say: Now that you have taken some time to reflect you may want to look at preparing a threeminute testimony. A testimony is a powerful, personal witness of the direct action of God in our lives. It is important that we are able to clearly and simply articulate our experiences so that they can be shared with others. Your testimony has taken a lifetime to develop – it is your story, your journey with the Lord. When we share our faith, however, it is rare that we will have a lifetime to retell it. The more clarity we have in how God has worked in our life the greater the impact your story will have even if you only have 3 minutes to share. In the appendix there is a resource to help you prepare a three minute testimony. You are invited to engage in this exercise and your small group leaders are available to give you feedback on what you come up with it should you choose to work on this exercise. It is however already time to move into the closing elements of the lesson. 86
  • 87. Closing Elements MC 10 minutes Challenge Share your one-minute conversion moment with someone this week. MC point out that sharing it with anyone, even their priest, is at least practice! The challenge is so much more powerful if they share it with someone they are trying to evangelize. Make any announcements at this time. MC say: We will now wrap up the evening with the summary of our lesson and the closing prayer 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 deserve 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. 87
  • 88. Prayer Let us pray: 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 although you loved 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. 88
  • 89. Lesson 6 Preparation Notes "Heart for the Lost" In Brief: Uniting with God’s heart of compassion and his concern for those who are far from him. Key Elements:  This lesson is based on the “Parable of the Lost Sheep” and the story of the Samaritan woman.  It is important to be sensitive and caring when presenting this lesson. It is not easy to talk about the fact that some people are lost. Despite the difficulty, however, this fact must be addressed. Heaven and hell are real. This is what makes evangelization urgent. People are in need of a Saviour – their eternal life depends upon it.  Recognizing that some people are lost does not mean we are judging or condemning them. We all need a Saviour. We all struggle with sin, failure and weakness. We must recognize that we too would be lost were it not for Jesus. Seeing our own need helps us to empathize with those who are bound by sin. We should reach out to them in compassion, offering them the Good News that will set them free.  The story of the Samaritan woman illustrates Jesus' compassion for the lost. It also shows how conversion can lead to missionary zeal. The woman’s encounter with Jesus changes her. Aware of her weaknesses and sins, she rejoices in the new life Jesus gives her and is compelled to share her experience with others. She goes out immediately to share the hope and freedom she has received. Reflecting on our own conversion should move us to do the same.  Again, as mentioned in the last lesson, you will notice that the terms "the lost" and "Timothy" are used interchangeably in this lesson. As we said in Lesson 3, Timothy began his faith life as someone who needed to hear and respond to Jesus – he was once lost. When we talk about reaching out to a "Timothy", we are generally referring to someone who has not yet had an adult conversion (i.e. is "lost" and has not responded as an adult to God's gift of salvation). Recommended Reading:  The New Evangelization: Overcoming the Obstacles, Boguslawski and Martin  CCC 402-406, 1033-1037 89
  • 90. Lesson 6 Heart for the Lost Outline Welcome MC - 2 minutes Small Group opening question - 10 minutes MC - 2 minutes Lost and Found Video - 20 minutes Small Groups - 10 minutes Break - 15 minutes Who are the Lost Video - 20 minutes Small Groups - 10 minutes Conversion and Compassion Small Groups - 25 minutes Closing Elements MC - 10 minutes Welcome MC 2 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes + MC 2 minutes MC: Welcome. Invite people to take 10 minutes to do the opening sharing question in their small group. 1. Share with your group how you have been more aware of Jesus as Saviour in your life this week as result of last week’s discussion. You can also explain to whom and how you shared your "one minute conversion moment" this week. 90
  • 91. Lost and Found MC 5 minutes + Video 20 minutes MC: Give a 1 minute warning in their sharing, Regain the group's attention. Begin with a brief prayer. Introduce the lesson: So far in the Courageous Catholic program we have looked at important topics like our missionary identity and how evangelization is central to the Church's mission. We have looked with clarity at the message of our salvation — the passion death and resurrection of Christ. And, we have looked at our own conversion — how Jesus has saved US , ME …. that he is MY Lord and MY Saviour. It is important that we can each clearly identify, appreciate and be eternally grateful that he has saved me from my sins. We need to always be mindful of who we were, or who we would be without Jesus, because it will ground us as missionaries. We will be able to meet people where they are, and not be scandalized by their life because we recognize they need Jesus, and that I could be me in their shoes if it weren't for the grace of God in my life (past, present and future). Today's lesson is called a "heart for the lost". To introduce it I'd like to tell you about a poem called , “The Hound of Heaven”. Perhaps you've heard that title used as a metaphor to describe God. This poem 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 open with a video segment called "Lost and Found". As we prepare the DVD please turn in your Bibles to Luke 15:1-7 to prepare for the teaching. 91
  • 92. Welcome to this segment called "Lost and Found". We will be looking at 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) Please follow with me in your Bibles as we read the Parable of the Lost Sheep. Luke 15:1-7 Now all the tax-collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, ‘This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ So he told them this parable: ‘Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.” Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance. Let's reflect on this passage. Did you happen to notice who is coming to Jesus at the beginning of Luke 15? It's the tax collectors and sinners. It makes a person wonder, why are they attracted to him? They must know that Jesus is approachable and has good news for them to hear. Interesting, we can ask ourselves, "Are sinners attracted to us?", "Do we make it easy for them to have contact with us?" This passage also opens with the Pharisees and the Scribes are upset with Jesus? Why? Its because he welcomes this "riff raff" and eats with them. That doesn't seem to us like a really big deal, but it is very important to understand that in Jewish culture, to eat with someone is to be family, to be intimately identified with that person. Just to be clear, by eating with tax collectors and sinners he is not identifying that we wants to become like them, no, he is communicating that he desires to know them, to be in a relationship with them. He wants to reach out to them, identify with them. He desires intimacy with them. In my own situation, this challenges me to not keep people safely at arm’s length, but to be more inviting to connect authentically with them. For example: not simply waving, or saying a passing “Hi” to a neighbour, co-worker or someone at Mass, but going further in connecting with them through more meaningful conversation, or inviting them to coffee, brunch or an event. Now let's look more at what's happening with the sheep story here. We see that the Good Shepherd, who represents our Lord, goes out to find the lost sheep, even leaving the 99 to find that single spacey sheep. It plays out like a great action movie, where the hero goes to all lengths, faces any and all dangers to save the beloved. I believe this storyline is in so many movies because it resonates with the deep truth seated in the heart of every person — that they need to be rescued by God, and that they are loved enough to be pursued and saved at all costs. 92
  • 93. The parable of the lost sheep is painting a clear picture for us, that people matter to God, the individual soul matters greatly! Jesus says here, “I tell you in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7). When we speak about having a heart for the lost, we are referring to this parable, and to the heart of Jesus as described in it - a heart that relentlessly seeks and saves the lost. Notice that when the Good Shepherd finds the lost sheep the gospel tell that he lifts it up on his shoulders and brings it back to the sheepfold. This tell us something too, that the Good Shepherds relationship with the sheep is not just intimate, caring, protective and personal, but that this relationship is properly lived out in the community of the sheepfold which represents the Church. So for us, when we reach out to those who have wandered and we point them to Jesus, we also should point them to the Church and a local community as well. This God's intention and plan for us. You know sometimes I wonder how the "community" of those 99 sheep responded when the lost sheep was returned to the sheepfold. Maybe they welcomed him back, "Hey man, good to see you back! High five!" (or whatever sheep do). But I'm wondering if some of the sheep snubbed him, ignored him. Maybe they were really resentful about everything "I can't believe how stupid he was, I can't believe he actually made the Shepherd go all that way to get him! And all the while, what about us! Who was here to take care of us? Hmm?!" Parable of Prodigal Son This scenario reminds me of the story of the Prodigal Son, and the response of the elder brother. Remember how we was frustrated and confused with the father's actions, jealous even. "After all I have done for you for all these years I've never once had a BBQ for me and my friends!" "Aren't I appreciated?" We can probably identify or at least sympathize with the elder brother, but let's look here what is the brother not understanding about the situation, about his brother, about this Father? The elder brother doesn't understand how serious the situation was for the younger brother - his life was in jeopardy, he was unable to fix it, yes he had really squandered everything but now his very life was on the line, he knew it and he was humbled and in great regret and remorse for his choices and actions. The elder brother preferred justice over life. The elder brother didn't understand the heart of his Father, did he not recognize the mercy, love and compassion of a man who allowed himself to be used and tossed off by his son - but kept waiting day after day for his unlikely return! Did the brother resent the Father's tender longing heart? Perhaps if he was closer to his Father, and knew and loved his Father as he could and should he would understand why he waits and watches for his son to come home. The elder brother would learn to have a heart of compassion and mercy like his Father and 93
  • 94. be found standing with his Father on the porch waiting with great anticipation for the Prodigal Son to return home. So back to our sheep, imagine how much joy it would bring to the shepherd to see those amongst the 99 welcoming and delighting in the lost sheep upon his return. The response to welcome the sheep back to the sheepfold can only happen when we adopt the same heart as the shepherd: a heart for the lost. Do you identify with the shepherd's concern for the lost? Do the lost matter to you? Do you have a heart for the lost? MC: introduce a small group sharing questions, to be followed by the break. (10 minutes) 2. Any comments on this presentation? 3. How would it change the environment of a parish or a CCO event if a lost person ‘came back to life’?” Joy, rejoicing, celebration, hope and expectation, a sign of the Spirit working. You could also ask: “How would it change the environment of a parish or a CCO event if a lost person ‘came back to life’ — AND this conversion was rejoiced in and celebrated in the community?" Members of the community at large would be made aware and recognize the value of this person's conversion, the wonder of God's mercy on their life and the joy of their return to the body of Christ. It would create momentum and inspire others to share their faith more. After 10 minutes of small groups, invite participants to take their 10 minute break. Break 15 minutes Invite everyone back to their seats. Say: Welcome back - just saying this in the spirit of becoming welcoming and inviting like the Good Shepherd! Our next section begins with a video teaching called "Who are the Lost". One thing I would mention is that insight for this section came from the book The New Evangelization: Overcoming the Obstacles, with content gleaned from contributors like: Avery Cardinal Dulles, Dr. Ralph Martin and Fr. Richard John Neuhaus. It is a book well worth reading for those serious about evangelization, you can find it listed on the references page of your workbook. 94
  • 95. Who are the Lost? Video 20 minutes Probably there's an unspoken question going through your minds with this week's lesson: "Who exactly are the lost? We can begin exploring this question with a quote from The Catechism, which picks up, where we left off, at the parable of the lost sheep. 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".... 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 Who, then, are the lost? Every one, every single human being. Because of original sin and personal sin we all were lost. Looking at today's societal and cultural norms, it is all too evident that people are lost and far from God. Pope John Paul II said, 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. Message for the 7th World Youth Day, Rome, November 24, 1991, 3 Two key categories This statement helps us understand who the lost are. They ultimately fall into those two categories that John Paul II mentioned, those who do not know Christ and those who do not know him well enough. (1) Those who “do not know Christ”  are the kinds of people who do not practice any faith.  They could include people who do not believe in God,  or are not sure if there is a God.  it could also be people who believe there is a higher power of some sort, but not as revealed in Jesus Christ.  These people may even be baptized but their faith is not practiced and is only culturally linked. (2) Those who “do not know him well enough” are the kinds of people who are making some efforts to practice their faith, but  Their experience of it is overall disappointing, empty, and unfulfilling 95
  • 96.    They probably go to church but ultimately view their faith as mostly a moral guidance system — which gives directives on how good people ought to live and act. When it comes down to it, they don't understand how significant Jesus is. For them, Christ’s death on the cross is a demonstration of God's love for humanity in general. They don't understand that Jesus' death and resurrection saved them — personally — from sin, death and eternal separation from God. Some of these people might have an intellectual understanding that Jesus is God and saviour of the world, but they have not encountered him in a personal, real and life-altering way. Now, “Is it wrong to think that these people need Jesus? Well no, it's not wrong, Jesus died on the cross for every human being. So truthfully people do need Jesus. However, if your question is asking, "Isn't wrong to judge people? Then the answer is yes, we cannot judge what is going on in another person's heart. Only God knows. But here's something else to consider: Is this not also a judgement, - to assume these people know enough about Jesus and how to have a right relationship with him? Because,...what if they don't? What is the right and just thing to do here? The church tells us: We cannot selfishly keep for ourselves the words of eternal life, which we received in our personally encountering Jesus Christ. They are destined for each and every person. Each person today, whether he knows it or not, needs this proclamation. Lineamenta, 25 Someone who does not know Jesus is lost. They are either unaware of or have not embraced Jesus as the way, the truth and the life. Now, ccountless personal experiences and attitudes keep people away from Jesus and from the Church and the reasons may vary, but the fact remains that these people are lost and waiting to be found (and like the church said, whether they realize it or not). I am Lost You know, something that inevitably comes out of this discussion is that the faithful are uncomfortable saying "people are lost". They want to soften it and say, "Oh but me too, I am lost too." To which I say, "Actually, no, you're not lost." What's going on here, is that people feel they need to say "I am lost" because it seems too prideful to say otherwise like "Um, well, I used to be lost, but now I am not one of the lost." (Add to the fact that they are very aware that they're not perfect Christians, so how could they possibly say I WAS lost as though they never sin anymore). This scenario is very similar to when people are reluctant to say they are in a Christ-centred relationship. In both cases, it must be understood that this should not be a proud declaration but, truthfully, a humble one. 96
  • 97. Because of original and personal sin, we were all lost. I would be lost without God’s grace, but I have been found. It is actually not about me, it is about the fact that Jesus found me, died for me, rescued me and I acknowledge that gratefully. I am no longer “lost”. Yes, I still sin, there are still areas in my life that need to be redeemed and healed, I still need his saving grace, but I am not lost: I was lost. I can wander and find myself lost again, but for now I'm with the Good Shepherd, and with his flock, and he is asking me to help bring others back to him. Who are the Lost? So we get busy and pitch in to join Christ in seeking the lost. And in our labours it breaks our hearts that there are so many of our Catholic brothers and sisters who are far from him. Perhaps they didn't grow up in an environment that nurtured their faith. Even if they did, it's not guarantee that they wouldn't passively reject or deliberately turn away from God's laws and love. And so for a variety of factors, influences, and reasons many Catholics find themselves lost again. They need to hear the kerygma as through for the first time. They need to be invited to make an adult decision to repent and believe, to embrace their baptismal vows. They need to experience a spiritual awakening, an adult conversion. There are many more people who are lost than just Catholics needing a conversion of heart. There are countless others who have never been baptized nor heard the Gospel and are in need of an initial or at least an authentic proclamation about Jesus. As you can see there are all kinds of "lost Timothys" — and they are not few or far between, they are all around us, and they are ultimately looking for God. What is the Problem with Being Lost? I've got another big question though, "What is the problem with being lost? So what? Does it really matter if people are lost? Do we need to be concerned?" Yes, we do actually. The problem with being lost is that we may never find heaven. We may never have a chance to repent and be baptized as Peter proclaimed in Acts 2:38. The problem is that our eternal destiny is at stake. Popular modernist positions would assert that practically everyone in his/her own way and path will end up in heaven. This position has become increasingly popular, even among Catholics. If there really were a hell, then surely only true deviants and mass murderers would be there. But what does Scripture and the Church really say about this? Repeatedly in the Gospels Jesus emphatically warned that what we believe and do in this life matters for eternity. The Church has always taught that we are all born in a state of original sin (except Jesus and Mary) and as such, we need to experience a spiritual rebirth (through faith and in Baptism). For, 97
  • 98. As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin. CCC 418 Without the grace of Christ, mankind is separated from God's love for eternity and deprived of paradise. As much as we might prefer to avoid such theological truth, it is fundamental for grasping the entire good offered through the Gospel. Listen to the Catechism, The doctrine of original sin is, so to speak, the "reverse side" of the Good News that Jesus is the Saviour of all men, that all need salvation and that salvation is offered to all through Christ. The Church, which has the mind of Christ, knows very well that we cannot tamper with the revelation of original sin without undermining the mystery of Christ. CCC 389 The Word became flesh for us in order to save us by reconciling us with God, who "loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins": "the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world", and "he was revealed to take away sins": Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us. Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Saviour; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator. Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state? CCC 457 The Catechism is telling us that, the reverse side of the good news, is SIN. That we are slaves to sin, facing death and eternal separation from God. We are unable to fix this problem on our own. If we GET this, then we will know that Jesus IS truly THE good news that people need! But, if everyone finds their way to heaven, regardless of how they live, the urgency and necessity to spread the message of salvation is undercut. There is certainly no gripping reason to undertake the mission of evangelization. Some might suggest that the warnings of Jesus about hell in the Gospel narratives are simply figurative, but if so, then : • Why the great condescension of the Son of God to leave heaven to become man? (just as a beautiful demonstration of God’s love and interaction with humanity) • Why the paschal mystery? (why would Jesus, second person of the Trinity, allow himself to be tortured and killed if it had no great value and eternal purpose) • Why do we say "Jesus is the Saviour of the world"? (is he not saving the world from something?) It should be clear, in the full context of salvation history where we see (God's love, original sin, personal rebellion and Christ's death and resurrection), that Jesus saved us from eternal death. To be clear, the Church does confirm the existence of hell (you can refer to paragraphs CCC 1033 -1037 in the Catechism). Since heaven and hell are real, 98
  • 99. there is an urgent need to proclaim the Good News and make disciples of all nations. This was Jesus' commission to the apostles before his ascension. In obedience to Christ, we continue that mission. Obedience, however, should not be our only motivation to respond to Christ’s command. Since Jesus is our Saviour and Redeemer, we should respond to his call in gratitude. And out of love for neighbour, we are impelled to be heroic in our efforts to invite others to the heavenly banquet. [pause] Some may ask about those who, through no fault of their own, have not heard the Gospel, yet seek God with a sincere heart. Again from the Catechism, The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments. CCC 1257 In that last sentence in particular, the Church is saying that God is God, and we can hope that, in his mercy, he will save such people in ways known only to himself. However, regardless of what is possible for God, we know what he has asked of us as a Church. It is not our place to judge whether his truths, laws or commands (i.e. the missionary mandate) are still appropriate and valid in a post-modern age. Ultimately, all of this is to say, that in regards to "the lost", everyone has been or is lost. We, his flock, are to have a heart of love, compassion and concern as "we hold out the word of life" [Philippians 2:16]. And speaking to that I will close with the words of Pope Benedict XVI from Verbum Domini, 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. Verbum Domini MC say: In light of this video segment, I invite you to go into your small groups to discuss the following question. (10 minutes) 99
  • 100. 4. What truths stood out to you in this presentation? MC say: Our final section ties in concepts from this and the previous lesson on having a heart of compassion and concern for those who need to be reconciled to their God. Conversion and Compassion Small Groups 25 minutes MC say: Having a "heart for the lost" encompasses dispositions we have looked at in this program namely, compassion for others in recognizing that we too were once lost but by God’s grace, that we were found. The Gospel writers describe many examples of Jesus' compassion and 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 us look at her dramatic story. Have everyone turn to the passage, and either the MC or someone reads for the whole group. Introduce the reading of the Scripture passage by saying: So as not to get lost in the length of this Gospel reading, we will have one person read it aloud, and as the rest of us listen we can imagine ourselves experiencing the story. Read John 4:7-30, 39-42. MC say: Now go ahead and discuss the questions in your small groups. (20 minutes) 5. What kind of encounter did the Samaritan woman have with Jesus? Here we want participants to see the powerful encounter she had. She would never be the same; her life was changed. She encountered truth and compassion in this meeting. Jews would have disapproved of Jesus speaking to a Samaritan, let alone a woman with such a sordid background. The fact that Jesus is speaking with her is incredible. She is obviously moved by this and must sense the love with which he is speaking to her. He tells her everything she has done and her mistakes in life – he knows and she knows that she is spiritually lost and searching. The truths he speaks into her life are not communicated in a judgmental way, but rather with compassion – inviting her to receive true life and freedom from him as Saviour and the source of living water. 100
  • 101. 6. What can we learn from Jesus’ example? We should not be afraid to approach others, no matter who they are. We should have confidence that they need to hear what we have to share. Everyone needs Jesus; everyone needs God’s love, mercy and forgiveness. Our disposition should be compassion. We should speak the truth in love, but never in a condemning way. We must clearly present the hope that people need in their lives (Jesus). . We can imagine that in the conversation at the well, Jesus saw what was possible for this woman’s life, should she receive his healing and grace. We can also reach out to others with this virtue of hope, having great expectations for what God's mercy and power can do in their lives. If you don't have time, it is not detrimental if you do not get to the last question. 7. Why is the woman filled with such apostolic zeal after her conversion? What can we learn from this? She has received such a tremendous gift of mercy, healing, freedom and new life. Here we want the participants to see how closely tied the woman’s conversion is to her ‘going;’ she got up, ‘left her water pot and went into the city to tell the men.’ She rushed. Her conversion led her to have compassion and concern for others. We see this played out today in the lives of people who experience conversion. They immediately want to tell others about Jesus because they are so grateful and excited about what God has done in their lives. The freshness of the experience and the treasure they have just found fills them with wonder and awe. They want others to discover this treasure and its great value. Some may think it necessary to receive extensive formation before beginning to evangelize others. Although new converts may face some challenges and questions they cannot answer, they certainly can evangelize because their authentic witness and zeal is undeniable. Like the Samaritan woman, their message is simple: Jesus changed my life. You have just got to meet him too! When we stay close to our own conversion story, our desire to tell others of God’s goodness remains strong. Keeping this zeal alive enables us to be like the Samaritan woman, who quickly rushed to share her experience with others. MC: Invite everyone to finish their small group sharing. Move into the closing elements of the lesson and any announcements. 101
  • 102. Closing Elements MC 10 minutes 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. Leaders: This week’s challenge is more about the participants’ disposition towards people — each person they encounter — than about sharing the Gospel. The challenge is for them to see people through Jesus’ eyes — to see how the Father loves, longs for and seeks the lost. They should also remember that they were (and may sometimes still be) in those people's shoes. They should reach out with kindness and love.. Make any announcements at this time. MC say: We will now wrap up the evening with the summary of our lesson and the closing prayer. 102
  • 103. 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). Prayer Let us pray: 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. 103
  • 104. Lesson 7 Preparation Notes "Understanding 'Timothy'" In Brief: Taking into consideration the perspective and experience of those we want to evangelize. Key Elements:  This lesson aims to help us understand where "Timothy's" are coming from, how they perceive        the Church, Jesus and how they readily can bring up issues or difficulties they have with the faith. Leaders, although the two illustrations (churches and bridge) are described in the video teaching, it will be helpful for your communication of the material if you are comfortable explaining it as well. The perception of the two churches exposes a great deal when shared with "Timothys". We want people to understand the Church’s teachings on faith and morals in light of a loving relationship with God. The core message of the Church is a relationship: God making himself known to us in the person of Jesus. When explaining the “churches” illustration, we must not give the impression that there are two churches: one ‘dead’ and based on rules and one ‘alive’ and based on a relationship with Jesus. The idea that there is a "purer" church within the Church, one that is more spiritual than the other, is an old heresy. Instead, we are attempting to show that there are two perceptions of the Church. We want participants to recognize that the Church's teachings and morals are indispensable, but that relationship with Jesus is the lens through which we understand these teachings and morals. It is also important to understand that we are not suggesting that the teachings and traditions of the Church are unnecessary or unimportant. On the contrary, these teachings are most relevant and best understood in the context of a relationship with Jesus. The "bridge" and the lifeguard analogy emphasize that we must understand and communicate our desperate need for a Saviour. Dealing with issues that a "Timothy" might bring up is also touched on in this lesson. It is important for participants to strive to always respond in love. People need an answer that is respectful, truthful and dispassionate (i.e. not influenced by emotion). Suggest resources that address particular issues (books, websites). From here, try to navigate the conversation back to Christ, directing their questions away from the issues and back to their life. It is helpful for participants to recognize that issues brought up are often a smoke screen. The real issue might be coming from an area of sensitivity and participants should be mindful of that. Administrative tasks:  Make sure there is a whiteboard or easel for illustrations. Resources (regarding issues):      catholicanswers.com ewtn.com Peter Kreeft, author, www.peterkreeft.com Christopher West author, www.christopherwest.com Fr. Spitzer (www.magisreasonfaith.org and www.spitzercenter.org). 104
  • 105. Lesson 7 Understanding “Timothy” Outline Welcome MC - 2 minutes Small Group opening question - 10 minutes MC - 2 minutes' Perception of the Church Video - 25 minutes Small Groups - 10 minutes Break - 15 minutes Perception of Jesus Video - 20 minutes Small Groups - 10 minutes Issues Video - 20 minutes Small Groups - 10 minutes Closing Elements MC - 10 minutes Welcome MC 2 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes + MC 2 minutes MC: Welcome. Invite people to take 10 minutes to do the opening sharing question in their small group. 1. Share with the group how you interacted with people around you this week — striving to see them through the eyes of Jesus and mindful of what he has done for you. 105
  • 106. MC: Give a 1 minute warning in their sharing, Regain the group's attention. Begin with a brief prayer. Introduce today's lesson: Today's lesson is all about understanding the "Timothys", the "lost", the people we desire to evangelize. It is important to understand how they perceive the Church, Jesus and the faith — because they probably do not see those things the way we do. As we engage in conversation with “Timothys”, we might feel like we are almost wrestling with their hearts and souls to point them to Christ. Many have incomplete perceptions of the Church, of Jesus and of morality. These perceptions affect their openness to the Gospel message. By taking into account their perspective, experience and mindset, we can sensitively navigate the conversation to shed light on areas of misunderstanding. Effective missionaries are more concerned about communicating what the "Timothy" needs to hear than spouting off or intimidating them with their vast knowledge of the faith. When evangelizing, we must keep in mind that it is not what we know but what they need to know that matters. We are also mindful of our own conversion story, and Jesus' heart for the lost, and such we are not scandalized by their perspectives or lifestyles, rather we are patient and compassionate, knowing that we were once in their shoes, (or could be if it weren't for the grace of God in our lives). Therefore in our conversations with them, we strive to communicate the message that is most important for them to hear in the way they can best receive it. Perception of the Church Video 25 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes These two diagrams describe two perceptions people can have of the Church. 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 106
  • 107. listen to the message of the Church. We need to help them (and ourselves) understand that Christianity and particularly Catholicism is not essentially a system of rules, but that it is first a love story, a relationship with God. The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all. Sadly, this perspective is found not only among those who wander away from the Church, but also within our parishes. The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all. Pope Francis “A Big Heart Open to God”, Antonio Spadaro, S.J., September 20, 2013 , americamagazine.org 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 the Discovery faith study, 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 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 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 107
  • 108. 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. 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? Even baptized, faith-filled Catholics can become unhealthily preoccupied with complying with regulations and may lose sight of their relationship with Jesus. Sometimes even Catholics have lost or never had the chance to experience Christ personally: not Christ as a mere ‘paradigm’ or ‘value’, but as the living Lord, ‘the way, and the truth, and the life’. Address of his Holiness John Paul II to the Bishops of the United States of America on their "ad Limina" visit, p.3 In the section, our desire is to demonstrate that the Church's teachings and morals are indispensable, but that a relationship with Jesus is the lens through which we understand these teachings and morals. We want people to understand the Church’s teachings on faith and morals in light of a loving relationship with God. The core message of the Church is love, mercy and relationship. God makes himself known to us in the person of Jesus. The creed of our faith does not speak of how we should live, but for whom we should live. In our CCO ministry experience, we have found that once people encounter Jesus and live a personal relationship with him, their perception, through the power of the Holy Spirit, changes. For example, we often have seen people who have a conversion then become pro-life. Out of this living relationship with God, they begin to see that the teachings of the Church are no longer rules and regulations limiting our lives, but principles and truth that give us life. I invite you now to discuss the "perceptions of the church" in your small groups. MC say: You can now gather in your small groups to discuss the following question. (10 minutes) 2. How does understanding this perception help us speak more effectively with those we wish to evangelize? 108
  • 109. MC Regain your group's attention and say: We just saw with the two perceptions of the Church, the spirit behind the rules and laws of the Church is best understood in the context of a loving relationship with God. Let us now look at another common obstacle to faith in the next video segment called "Perception of Jesus". Perception of Jesus Video 20 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes 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 3. 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. For sake of time, this will be a condensed look at the St. Catherine of Siena bridge illustration from Discovery lesson 4. God and man stand on opposite sides of an immense river. In this huge crevice separating God from man are SIN and DEATH. 109
  • 110. How does this image, just as it is above (without a cross) make you feel? How does it change your perspective on your need for Jesus? By the way, it is actually helpful when sharing this with people to let them sit in the "bad news" for a while, so that can comprehend its gravity. In this context, the good news is rightfully understood as good! This method of using the bridge analogy is an effective way of communicating our desperate need for Jesus. I do not have to hit rock bottom in order to need Jesus. Because of sin, I am already there. However, some participants could still be left with an understanding of “Humanity’s Salvation”: they see that humanity sinned and Jesus saved the world. To emphasize our personal need for Jesus, follow up with the lifeguard analogy. The following analogy can also help us recognize our need for Jesus: When I go to the beach, I recognize and respect the importance of having a lifeguard on duty. The lifeguard is there to help those in need. I am a competent swimmer, however, so I do not feel I need the lifeguard. Once a week I wave and acknowledge him, then go out for a swim in the deep waters. One day, as I am swimming, I unexpectedly swallow a mouthful of water and begin to choke. Gasping for air, I swallow more water. I begin to panic as I start to sink. I go down once, twice. At this point, I know that if I go down a third time, I will die. My attitude towards the lifeguard has changed drastically: I realize that if he does not get off his chair and come rescue me, my life is over. I have moved from simple respect to desperate need for the lifeguard. How would shifting our perception of Jesus from ‘respect’ to ‘need’ change the way we relate to him? Remember the students we looked at earlier in the program who did not see the pieces of the puzzle fitting together and did not really understand Jesus. They probably had a vague reverence and respect for Jesus but did not really understand his significance and value in their lives. Their perception of Jesus dramatically changed when they grasped that he saved them from sin, death and separation from God. Point at the bridge analogy and say, “We are all drowning.” Go back and draw the cross bridging the river – Jesus bridging the chasm between Heaven and Earth. 110
  • 111. It is important that we all recognize our need. Without this understanding, we will only relate to Jesus with a vague sense of respect and reverence. How many of us hold him in high regard, have crucifixes of him on our wall, pictures of him in our room, respectfully honour his heroic sacrifice on Good Fridays, and consider his death a great tragedy. With all of this "information" around us why do we not understand that he freely laid his life down for our salvation. We need to recognize our personal NEED for what he did. When we individually see our need, and what Jesus did — he truly becomes good news for our personal lives. I will close with one last point. One thing to keep in mind about "Timothy's", although they may appear to 'have it all together', and that they don't need to hear about Jesus, know that, deep down they are burdened with regrets, guilt, weaknesses, perhaps hidden addictions, or failures. Everyone needs mercy and forgiveness. There is no one you will speak to who does not have this ache in his/her soul. As St. Augustine said, "You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you," (Confessions of St. Augustine, Book I, Chapter 1) MC say: In light of this video segment, I invite you to go into your small groups to discuss the following question. Our break will follow. (10 minutes) 3. Why is clarity about Jesus and his cross so crucial to evangelization? 111
  • 112. After 10 minutes for small groups, invite participants to take a 10 minute break. Break 15 minutes Invite everyone back to their seats. Say: Our final section today opens with a video segment. Issues Video 20 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes Today I will be talking about how tough questions or issues can make our evangelization encounters “messy”. Sometimes it seems like hard topics are are “thrown at us” in conversations – just to test us. “Why does the church do this? Or why does God allow that?” But sometimes we are the ones that get confrontational. We can get on a soap box ranting about what “those so-called” Catholics should believe and practice. We can get pushy or preachy in conversations with Timothys about issues, teachings, practices, laws, rules of the faith that aren’t being followed. We might be right in our opinion, but these issues are probably too much for them at this point in their faith life. And as you will recall from lesson 3, the message of first importance to be communicated is not issues – it’s Jesus. Until the foundation of Christ is in place, people will not be able to truly understand or observe the Church’s moral and social teachings. We must be patient and avoid trying to tackle every moral issue in a Timothy’s life that we perceive as being out of alignment with Church teaching. 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 the truth. We must speak the truth - wisely, and without becoming harsh or argumentative, so as not to miss the opportunity to focus our conversation on proclaiming God’s love.Our desire should be to propose Jesus - he is the heart of the message we want to communicate. Of course, 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 112
  • 113. begin to share the Gospel. For example, maybe we are sharing a gospel presentation with someone, and this often happens, the Timothy is getting uncomfortable. So they purposefully or inadvertently try to change the direction of the conversation. For example, as you are explaining God’s personal and secure love, they may bring up questions like: “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?” These are tough questions to field, but there are answers. There are many solid Catholic books and websites which are great resources. You can try your best to respond, or promise to get back to them after you do some research. Sometimes issues arise before we even get a chance to bring up the kerygma. In a lunchroom discussion at work someone 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. What do you do? Again, you will want to give a brief response, maintain your cool and keep a respectful demeanour. Try to get them talking about who they think Jesus is. Why is he so important? This may seem too simple, but it’s strategic. It has been said, “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 closed-mindedness, 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 will not seem to make sense. People’s inability to accept these teachings, however, is not 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 issues can 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 look for an open window to speak of Jesus. Remember if people know Jesus, the Holy Spirit will enlighten their minds and give them the grace to sort through issues. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things....The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow....the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives. Pope Francis “A Big Heart Open to God”, Antonio Spadaro, S.J., September 20, 2013 , americamagazine.org 113
  • 114. So when responding to issues, show great love in how you speak. People need an answer that is communicated respectfully, truthfully and peacefully - you might say, in a way that is dispassionate (that is not influenced by emotion). Make your answer brief and offer resources that address their particular issues (books, websites). Another thing you can try to do is help them see the issues and Church teachings through the lens of "relevance, relationship, freedom". For example, "The Church's teachings on sexuality sound repressive, but it’s so important to understand the great reverence the Church holds for sexuality. The Church is the guardian of the purity and integrity of our sexuality and our human value." (You could continue on to explain more reasoning behind the teachings). Also, stay in close dialogue with the Holy Spirit during this time! Continually ask him for wisdom and guidance as you are talking and listening to them. Pray for the courage and creativity to navigate the discussion away from the issues and back to their life and God's love and mercy For example, you could say, "You seem to care a great deal about the faith, how did your faith become so important to you?" or "I hear you. You bring up very important points. Has this issue affected your belief in God, (or in Jesus)?" These kinds of questions reach away from the issues and direct the conversation towards their personal faith and understanding of God. This is a much better platform for evangelization. Be confident that he is ultimately what they are struggling to find in the midst of the issues and frustrations raised. Something to be aware of is that the issues brought up are often a smoke screen. You will know if it isn't, if they actually follow-up with the resources you give them to look at. Sometimes they are trying to distract and upset you. The worst thing that you can do is to get ANGRY and react negatively to what they are saying. It will only reinforce any bad opinions they have of Catholics and the Church. They might be expecting a negative response, because so many before you have gotten angry with their opinions. The most disarming thing you can do is be patient, calm and listen. Probably no one really responded respectfully with them before. Lastly, one more thing to consider is that their confrontational stance could be coming from an area of sensitivity. There is often a history of hurt fueling their reaction. So be careful how you respond to them. Do not have a judgmental attitude. Do more listening than defending. Perhaps by not reacting sharply – but through questions, listening and speaking calmly, you will be able to find out if or how they have been hurt. Your compassion and care could be a source of healing for them. So as you field these issues in conversation May the Lord bless you with the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit. 114
  • 115. MC say: In light of this video segment, I invite you to go into your small groups to discuss the following question. (10 minutes) 4. How would you now approach conversations that are focused on an "issue"? 115
  • 116. MC: Invite everyone to finish their small group sharing. You can suggest some resources (books, websites, organizations) that would be helpful to people who have questions about certain issues. For example:  catholicanswers.com  ewtn.com  Peter Kreeft, author, www.peterkreeft.com  Christopher West author, www.christopherwest.com  Fr. Spitzer (www.magisreasonfaith.org and www.spitzercenter.org) MC: Move into the closing elements of the lesson and any announcements. Closing Elements MC 10 minutes Challenge Share the kerygma with someone this week. Try using one of the tools you learned today to open up the conversation or wipe away a misunderstanding so that he/she can be more receptive to the Gospel Make any announcements at this time. MC say: We will now wrap up the evening with the summary of our lesson and the closing prayer. 116
  • 117. 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. Prayer Let us pray: 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. 117
  • 118. Lesson 8 Preparation Notes "See Opportunities" In Brief: Identifying people and situations in my sphere of influence that could be transformed through the clear proclamation of Jesus. Key Elements:  This week is about giving participants a vision for opportunities to share the kerygma. This is      done either through direct evangelization with a "Timothy" or in helping to make the Gospel more central to ministries in which they are involved. Case studies are presented to practice planning how to bring the Gospel to the forefront in a variety of situations. Participants are also challenged to start thinking about their own sphere of influence. With whom or how is God calling them to spread the Gospel? Small group leaders, you should encourage participants to step out in faith and expect great things from God. Small group leaders, you should be aware that in their personal ministry planning, they may come up with very ambitious plans for a particular group/organization/ ministry/parish and need to talk to their spiritual director, their parish priest, organizers and leaders about their ideas. It is extremely important to work in the appropriate chain of command and to respect the leadership and authorities already in place. Nothing is gained for Christ through a haughty or pushy approach. When it comes to influencing groups of people, it takes wisdom to approach things sensitively and respectfully. Small group leaders, you may want to offer yourselves available to help participants in their discernment with the Personal Opportunities Worksheet outside of the class. 118
  • 119. Lesson 8 See Opportunities Outline Welcome MC - 2 minutes Small Group opening question - 10 minutes MC - 2 minutes Timothy Opportunities Video - 15 minutes Small Groups - 10 minutes Timothy Situations Video- 15 minutes Break - 15 minutes See and Seize Opportunities MC - 10 minutes Small Groups - 25 minutes Personal Reflection and Small Groups - 15 minutes Closing Elements MC - 10 minutes Welcome MC 2 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes + MC 2 minutes MC: Welcome. Invite people to take 10 minutes to do the opening sharing question in their small group. 1. Share with the group how you were able to integrate the illustrations and suggestions from last week in your conversations with others. 119
  • 120. MC: Give a 1 minute warning in their sharing, Regain the group's attention. Begin with a brief prayer. Introduce today's lesson by saying: 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. So now, in the first video segment for this lesson we will listen to André Regnier as he explains 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. “Timothy” Opportunities – with a person Video segment 15 minutes + 10 minutes small group 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. 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 120
  • 121. 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. There are people the Lord places on our hearts, maybe at our parish, work, neighbour and we just have a heart for them. WE need t have a vision for their lives, where they can be at spiritually. We need to be open to the HS for whom he wants us to reach out to, and then we need to be willing to do what we need to do to reach them. When we do reach them, we need to do what is necessary to care for them and help them grow in their faith. It doesn’t just happen, we need to cooperate and work out what the Holy Spirit is telling us. 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. I remember another young man who I would see at daily mass on campus, and I felt very prompted to pray for him. I really want to reach out to him, but he was pretty fast, and always seemed to slip out of mass early before I could catch him. One day I got a call from a student I didn't know, asking to meet with me on campus. We arranged to meet at a certain spot, and low and behold it was the elusive young man, John, from daily mass. I was obviously amazed that it was him, and I asked how on earth he got my phone number, and why did he call me? He told me that he had gone to confession earlier that week, and for his penance the priest told him to call Andre and get involved in a faith study on campus. I guess a key theme running through these stories is "Intentional" - God put someone on my heart, I did what I could to find them, I kept that praying God would put them in my path and when he did, I did all that I could to introduce Jesus to them. With God's help, we following those promptings from the Holy Spirit and co-operate with his grace to be his messenger. 121
  • 122. MC after this video segment, say: CCO trains students to have a heart that desires and dreams for people to encounter the love and mercy of God, and now is your chance to do the same. In the following question, there will be a few minutes for you to do some reflecting, and then there will be some time for small group sharing. We will start off with a few minutes of silence. Ask yourself "Who is the Lord placing on my heart?" "For whom have I been spiritually longing and praying lately?" I want to gently encourage you that in this exercise, please think beyond your family members. I know that will be challenging to do, but I think you probably can appreciate that we are usually not the best people to proclaim the message of the Gospel to our family. I think we are however the best people to intercede and offer spiritual sacrifices for their salvation. So at this time, please take 3 minutes to reflect on question 2. 2. 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. Some extra questions to direct your thoughts:  From the beginning of this program, has a certain person come to mind often?  Does this person trust you?  Do you have influence in their lives?  Do I like spending time with this person?  If this person doesn't trust me yet, is there potential for trust as the relationship grows? Be aware that with the last reflection question, most participants will want to focus on their family members. You may need to remind them again that we are not always the best witnesses to them, even though we desire their salvation more than anybody. If trust is an issue that comes up, then this person needs to recognize this is not necessarily the right time to be an active proclaimer in this person's life. They can however still "fight for them in prayer, offering sacrifices for them, and praying and seeking others who might be better influencers in their life." The day may come when they God opens the door for them to speak, but we need to not push and leave the timing in God's hands with relationships such as these. In the meantime, participants should ask themselves "Who else in my sphere influence do I have a platform of trust and comfort with whom I could share my faith?" (or with whom there is potential to build this trust and comfort). Some may say I can’t evangelize like others. We all have our own way of witnessing with our life and actions as well as those opportunities and our own ways to speak the words they need to hear to draw them closer to Jesus. Encourage participants that they do have something to say and to offer, and how they may be just the right person that the one being evangelized can trust and confide in about their relationship with God and making peace with him. 122
  • 123. “Timothy” Situations – in ministries and events Video 15 minutes In the section on "'Timothy' Opportunities" we looked at individuals God was prompting us to evangelize. Although we can share our faith personally one-onone with a "Timothy", we can also evangelize through a variety of ministries and events. Pope John Paul II says in Redemptoris Missio, 3, “No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.” Which means, not only do we each individually have a call to proclaim Christ, but even the institutions (groups, parishes, ministries, dioceses, movements have a call to proclaim Christ). We are therefore going to spend a bit of time today to dream on this larger scale. What groups/ministries can I help activate to proclaim Christ more clearly? Imagine what new energy and vitality could be brought to these groups if the kerygma were central to their life and work. I know a story of how at least 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.” "We started small by introducing the Discovery study 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." Integrating the sharing of the kerygma (through tools such as the Discovery faith study, The Ultimate Relationship, or similar programs) allows ministries, groups, and parishes to live out their deepest identity as evangelizers. I know of a parish in Ottawa, where a weekly program was run that offered people a way to encounter Jesus through the proclamation of the kerygma. Conversions happened. People came into a Christ-centred relationship AND they were motivated to share their faith with others. They wanted to put on similar programs and invited others to join. The community was starting to become engaged in evangelization parish. There was momentum as parishioners 123
  • 124. became aware, united and excited about the fuller mission of the parish as a whole - to bring people into a relationship with Christ and his Church. By sharing the message of Jesus in the context of events like this parish hosted, individual “Timothys” had a venue through which they could come to understand their need for a Saviour and experience new freedom in their spiritual lives. This becomes contagious and encouraging for all members as they witness others coming alive in their faith. It affects the momentum of the group and its members, and beyond. John Paul II sums up the experience that this parish community's collective evangelistic efforts produced in that very powerful quote from Redemptoris Missio. For missionary activity renews the Church, revitalizes faith and Christian identity, and offers fresh enthusiasm and new incentive. Faith is strengthened when it is given to others. Redemptoris Missio, 2 MC say: Right now, I'm sure this video has stirred up ideas in your mind and heart about what ministries you could revitalize to have a more evangelistic mandate. You can chat about them over snacks at the break. There is one important thing I want to mention in order to guide the enthusiasm and idea explosions happening right now.. Courageous Catholic participants you may have very ambitious plans for a particular group/organization/ministry/parish. Before you do anything you should talk to your spiritual director, your parish priest, organizers or leaders about your ideas. It is extremely important to work in the appropriate chain of command and to respect the leadership and authorities already in place. Nothing is gained for Christ through a haughty or pushy approach. When it comes to influencing groups of people, it takes wisdom to approach things sensitively and respectfully Break 15 minutes After 10 minutes, invite everyone back to their seats. 124
  • 125. Seeing and Seizing Opportunities MC 10 minutes + Small Groups 25 minutes MC say : I'm sure many thoughts have been percolating in your mind and heart from the last session and as a result of your discussions at the break. You will definitely get time to process all of that shortly, but for now we want you to hold those thoughts and inform your discernment of your "Timothy situations" a bit more. Pope John Paul II encourages us to seek out opportunities to present Jesus to others. This [Jesus] 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 Every one has the right to hear the gospel, and we with the Holy Spirit's help, find creative ways to bring the message to them in a loving, and relevant way. When we are presented with “Timothys” or opportunities towards which God is directing us, we need to not be afraid to step out in faith to make sure the Gospel is heard. It is very easy to not seek out those open doors where we could bring up the topic of Jesus and the kerygma with people, because honestly it can feel a bit awkward and challenging to do. Here are some practical tips from our CCO ministry experience: MC With each of the next three bullets try to include a very brief personal example/ from your experience or from what is currently happening on the Impact mission.  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. For example notice new people at Mass. Why not go up to them, say I don’t think I’ve met you, what brings you to our parish? Is this your normal mass time? That would be a setting we all live once a week that we can reach out to people around us. Another situation could come up when someone at work comments on something regarding faith and it gives you an opportunity to invite them to church.  We need to sow broadly, inviting many people to hear the Gospel. Don’t limit who you think would or would not. An example would be to walk into your parish and look for a way to invite everyone, or as many people as possible. You can invite at the pulpit, or in the parish bulletins, or even door to door to participate in a Discovery faith study. And it really only takes 3-5 people to have a group 125
  • 126.  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. For example ask What stood out to you and why? Having intentional conversations that are life-giving and asking important questions about God. We dare you to ask specific questions to get at what they are thinking or feeling about spiritual things, and hopefully Jesus. For example: What did you think of that men’s prayer breakfast? What did you get of it? Why? The following scenarios present two typical opportunities for evangelization. Let's discuss how to see and seize the opportunities at hand. 3. How could these two situations be made more evangelistic? Work on these scenarios in pairs. 1. You brought someone to mass with you. Now what? 2. You’re a leader in baptismal preparation. How can you seize this opportunity to be more evangelistic. Let them know that if they only manage to do one scenario, that is fine. (15 minutes) Sample responses: 1. Brought someone to mass o Introduce them to others from the parish, to be welcoming and inviting. These friends can be helpful in our outreach as they are another voice who can invite them to come back, or come to other events. o Find ways to direct the conversation after Mass towards sharing our faith with our friends. This seems an obvious answer, but how easy it is to NOT create create a deeper conversation, but keep post mass conversation very superficial or minimal out of awkwardness or fear - just being content that we got them to come to mass is not enough! Why not take the time after Mass to ask the person what he/she thought, and look for ways to explain to him/her what the Mass means and how it fits into a life of faith. o Invite them out for brunch to keep in communication. o Use the question “why” to keep the conversation going. Our hearts' desire is to bring them to Jesus, but we might not get there yet. o In every encounter we have with them, one can ask him/herself "What can I do next? What can I do to bring them closer to an encounter with Christ? What can I do to prepare the soil of the hearts to receive his love and the message of salvation? Lord, show me when there is an actual opportunity to clearly explain the gospel message, and give me the courage to do so." 2. Baptismal preparation o These families, often not actively practicing, have to come TO US to have their 126
  • 127. o o o o child baptized. Perfect opportunity to communicate the kerygma as it is the central message of the sacrament of Baptism – Jesus’ death and resurrection conquers original sin, separation and death. Perfect opportunity to challenge their perception of Church through the paradigm of relationship and love WITH rules and authority (lesson 5) Baptismal Preparation should make sure the evangelization of the parents is top priority (as this offers the best hope that the child will be raised in the faith into which they are baptized). This good news is freely offered to each person. It would be very important to give an opportunity for these parents to make an adult decision for God. Remind them of what the baptismal promises to which they will say "I do", really are saying. They are to be honestly saying "I do" at their child's baptism. Invite them to enter into that "I do" fully - the relationships diagram can help with that. 127
  • 128. MC have pairs come together and report to their small group about their discussion. (10 minutes) Personal Reflection Small Groups 15 minutes 4. Take 3 minutes to reflect on the opportunities in your sphere of influence.  What opportunities do I have to advance the proclamation of the Gospel with "Timothys", or in ministries, groups and organizations to which I am connected or toward which God is leading me? Then, share with your small group. (10 minutes) MC: Invite everyone to finish their small group sharing. Move into the closing elements of the lesson and any announcements. 128
  • 129. Closing Elements MC 10 minutes Challenge Take time this week to fill out the Personal Opportunities Worksheet in the appendix of this guide. SG Leaders you can offer to make yourselves available before 1/2 hr before CC program from here on in, or after to discuss with them Invite group members to meet with you personally to talk about their opportunities for evangelization and to help them pray and discern those opportunities. Make any announcements at this time. MC say: We will now wrap up the evening with the summary of our lesson and the closing prayer. 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. 129
  • 130. Prayer Let us pray: 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. 130
  • 131. Lesson 9 Preparation Notes "Next Generation Mindset" In Brief: Understanding a ministry of spiritual multiplication. Key Elements:  This lesson introduces a shift in focus: we add on to the passing on of the message (the      kerygma), and the passing on of the mission. We want our participants not only to be good evangelists who communicate the Gospel clearly and simply, but we also want them to be multiplying disciples who can teach others how to teach others to evangelize and be a disciple of Christ. In this lesson, we will review the image of the 5 circles (from 2 Timothy 2:2) and the spiritual legacy it demonstrates. Spiritual multiplication is a compelling way to explain the potential of investing in a few faithful people, rather than becoming overwhelmed with the immensity of the task to reach the world with the Gospel. We want participants to see that they are part of something great, and that through a very simple, manageable investment in a few who will be sent out to be multiplying missionaries, they are contributing to the accomplishment of Jesus’ command to “Go and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19) We are often distracted from the best thing we could be doing (building multiplying missionaries who can clearly and simply communicate God's love to others) by doing "good" things that can become inward-focused very quickly. This is understandable. It is a constant challenge to keep our focus outward. We need to encourage participants to pass on a next generation mindset to their “Timothy” too. The single most important question of this faith study is presented in this lesson: “How can we give our “Timothy” a next generation missionary mindset?” The answer is: do what was done for you in this program! Pass on the lessons you have just been taught. Commission your "Timothy" to make the message and the mission known. The message is the kerygma (Jesus); the mission is spiritual multiplication (building into others who will build into others). Make sure he/she knows that the goal is to send out multiplying missionaries. We want our “Timothy” to be able to say, “I am a 'Paul' and my 'Timothy' has multiplied into 'other Timothys'.” The participants are encouraged to look at their personal plan (from Lesson 7 and the Personal Opportunities Worksheet) and revise it in light of a mindset of multiplying the message and the mission. 131
  • 132. Lesson 9 Next Generation Mindset Welcome MC - 2 minutes Small Group opening question - 10 minutes Introduction MC - 2 minutes Small Groups - 15 minutes Spiritual Multiplication Video - 10 minutes Small Groups - 5 minutes Break - 15 minutes Multiplying Ministry Video - 5 minutes Our Timothy's Timothy's Timothy Small Groups - 20 minutes Closing Elements MC - 10 minutes Welcome MC 2 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes + MC 2 minutes MC: Welcome. Invite people to take 10 minutes to do the opening sharing question in their small group. 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. 132
  • 133. Introduction MC 2 minutes + Small Groups 15minutes MC: Give a 1 minute warning in their sharing, Regain the group's attention. Begin with a brief prayer. Introduce today's lesson by saying: 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 Courageous Catholic, 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 Those are powerful and challenging words. At this time, we are going to revisit that anchor passage we learned in the early weeks of the program, 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. I invite you to discuss questions 2 - 5 in your small groups. (15 minutes) 2. Draw the people described in this verse, showing how the message is passed along. 3. How does this illustrate that evangelization alone is not enough? Paul is showing Timothy the big picture of his strategy in ministry. His message and teaching (which is the kerygma) is propagated through the raising up of missionaries. You can almost hear him saying, “I want to raise up faithful people who can raise up faithful people, who can raise up faithful people … so that Jesus can be proclaimed!” 133
  • 134. 4. What would happen if Timothy focused only on the message and not the mission? People would come to faith, evangelization would be taking place, community would be built, but it would be leader-centered because only a few would be evangelizing. 5. How does the result change when Timothy entrusts both the Gospel AND the mission to others? He multiplies himself. He multiplies his efforts. He is able to reach a greater number of people. The potential is not solely dependent on Timothy. Give groups a one minute warning to finish their discussion. Introduce the next section: Our next section expands further on the potential of 2 Timothy 2:2, it is called "Spiritual Multiplication" and open with a short video segment. Spiritual Multiplication Video 10 minutes + Small Groups 5 minutes 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 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 134
  • 135. 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: 1000 people per day x 365 days a year = 365,000 people/year. 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. 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) after 36 years there would be 387,420,489 (approximately USA's population) after 42 years there would be 10.46 billion – the whole world would be reached! 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! The numbers show that focusing on one person at a time can have extraordinary results. I am very aware that some may become analytical or despairing about this model, Are we to take this model literally? It will never work in the real world because people will not be committed to it. I want you to know that I do recognize the difficulty of perfectly living out this model (work with two people who can influence two people every two years). Indeed, it is idealistic but what it does, is that it proves the potential. 135
  • 136. It is not our intention to overwhelm people with the pressure to pump out multiplying disciples consistently every two years. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit inspires any missionary work. He must call and lead us. There may be seasons in your life when you cannot do this as effectively or easily as you would like (because of responsibilities to family, work, sick loved ones, personal health). However, like St. Thérèse of Lisieux, in all that you do, even if it is not outwardly apostolic, your heart is missionary and your prayers and sacrifices for conversion and spiritual multiplication are still fruitful. Therefore, even if your circumstances prevent you from evangelizing, or the Holy Spirit has not opened a door for ministry, the prayer and desire of your heart continues to be that of a multiplying missionary. This disposition permeates all your actions and prayers. For example, you may find that you are not gifted at striking up interesting conversations with new people — as much as you would like to be, (your just not natural at being that "first welcoming face" people meet when they come to church). However, through prayer and self-knowledge, you can discover other ways that you can reach out to the lost. Perhaps you have a gift of hospitality, design or décor. You can use these gifts to help your parish be more welcoming and attractive to new people. You can also pray for and perhaps offer financial support to missionaries in countries or orders/organizations that you feel called to assist to further the spread of the gospel. Your disposition as you share these kinds of gifts is missionary to the very core. Remember evangelization is your deepest identity. In closing, to answer the question whether the multiplication model will work, well I can tell you how it won't work — it will not work if people do not hear about it — hence this program! Our part is to teach Catholics about the need for the new evangelization and for multiplying missionaries. To be a true missionary is to send out other missionaries, so I challenge you to be committed to a ministry of spiritual multiplication. MC say: Now we will go into our small groups for just 5 minutes to discuss question 6. 6. How do you feel about this model and your part in it? By looking at this model of spiritual multiplication, we see that the monumental task of reaching the world really happens in very tiny steps. We have a part to play in building the kingdom of God by investing in a few who can invest in a few. The long-term exponential effect of everyone’s faithfulness to his/her missionary call is great and eternal. Yes, you are small, but you are important to the bigger picture! We live in hope, with great expectations for what God is doing in the mission field. Remember: You want participants to see that they are part of something great, and that through a very simple, manageable investment in a few who will be sent out to be multiplying missionaries, they are contributing to the accomplishment of Jesus’ command to “Go and make disciples of all nations.” 136
  • 137. MC after 5 minutes, invite everyone to take a 10 minute break. Break 15 minutes MC after 10 minutes, invite everyone back to their seats. Next on our outline is a brief video clip called "Multiplying Ministry". Multiplying Ministry Video 5 minutes I would like to share with you 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 in serving God’s plan. The challenge of working through people is that it will take time, effort, sacrifice and hard work. It is common among Catholics working in evangelization to focus their energies on seeking out and building into other 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 much different from community building, and being missionary is much more than evangelization. So in our groups, parishes, and ministries we should not simply gather all the good Catholics to support and encourage each other in the work of 137
  • 138. evangelization. Our desire should be to invest our energies in reaching out to the lost, bringing them back, building them up and sending them out. It is important not only to build community but to build mission too. We should entrust the faithful we gather with this ministry of multiplication. MC say: This video moves us to the next section which will involve small group work again. So small groups please work on the next three questions in your guide. Our “Timothy’s” “Timothy’s” “Timothy” Small Groups 20 minutes 7. Did you have to read that section title a few times? What does it mean? You could have the participants redraw the discipleship chain from before for concrete reference. 8. Why is it important for us to have this paradigm in our ministry and mission? If we do not have this clearly in our minds, to build others who can build others, chances are that the message and the mission will end after one or two generations. To leave a "spiritual legacy" we want to keep this strategy and great expectation in our thoughts and prayers as we invest our lives for the sake of the Gospel and our "Timothys". In our prayers for our “Timothy”, we should be praying for those whom our “Timothy” will reach (and so on). Jesus sets this example for us. In John 17, we see how he prayed for the people his disciples would reach. 138
  • 139. 9. How can we give our “Timothy” a next generation missionary mindset? This may be the single most important question of this faith study! Do what was done for you in this program! Pass on the lessons you have just been taught. Commission your "Timothy" to make the message and the mission known. The message is the kerygma (Jesus); the mission is spiritual multiplication (building into others who will build into others). Make sure he/she knows that the goal is to send out multiplying missionaries. We want our “Timothy” to be able to say, “I am a 'Paul' and my 'Timothy' has multiplied into 'other Timothys'.” In CCO, we see the legacy of people who have invested in other people down chains of people 5, 6, 7 people long or more. You may want to initiate a discussion on how we can implement this model IN THE CONTEXT of a parish ministry. For example, in youth ministry: are there potential leaders on whom we should focus extra energy? How should we do that? Some may ask about the rest of the formation our “Timothys” will need. What are we to do about that? Ideas:  Parish life, sacraments, RCIA  Christian growth essentials: (Scripture, prayer, sacraments, fellowship witness and service)  CCO faith study series: o Discovery (to understand the kerygma more fully) o Source (to understand the role of the Holy Spirit in your daily life) o Growth (to understand the Christian growth wheel – identifying potential areas og growth in our relationship with God) o Obedience (to identify potential areas of growth in surrendering to God’s Lordship)  One-on-one discipleship to help them in their spiritual walk  Conferences, retreats, courses, missions  Books  Finding a spiritual director MC: Invite everyone to finish their small group sharing. Move into the closing elements of the lesson and any announcements. Closing Elements MC 10 minutes 139
  • 140. 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:  How can I have a next generation mindset with this person or opportunity?  What is the bigger picture I was missing before?  How could these people or opportunities have a multiplying effect?" Be prepared to share with the group next week. Make any announcements at this time. MC say: We will now wrap up the evening with the summary of our lesson and the closing prayer. 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). 140
  • 141. Prayer Let us pray: 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. 141
  • 142. Lesson 10 Preparation Notes "Struggles and Doubts" In Brief: Examining common areas of discouragement for missionaries. Key Elements:  This lesson begins with a look at 1 Peter 5:8-10. We discuss how we might experience attacks of the enemy and how to overcome them.  We then look at discouragement in two situations: when there is a lack of success and when we feel a lack of confidence.  The key points under lack of success are found in question 4. Detailed answer notes are provided under this question.  Concerning lack of confidence, participants need to be encouraged to step out in faith and believe that God can actually work through them. They also may need the encouragement of a "Barnabas" to co-labour with them, or a "Paul" to mentor them in their mission.  Finally, participants are reminded to keep an eternal perspective when facing struggles and suffering in ministry. It is important to read ahead and prepare your thoughts on 2 Corinthians 4:7-18 in this last section. This passage calls us to believe that the "hidden life" of suffering is indeed bearing fruit for the greater glory of God somewhere in the world 142
  • 143. Lesson 10 Struggles and Doubts Outline Welcome MC - 2 minutes Small Group opening question - 10 minutes MC - 2 minutes Opposition MC - 3 minutes Small Groups - 10 minutes Lack of Success Video - 10 minutes Small Groups - 10 minutes Break - 15 minutes Lack of Confidence Video - 10 minutes Small Groups - 10 minutes Eternal Perspective Small Groups- 25 minutes Closing Elements MC - 10 minutes Welcome MC 2 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes + MC 2 minutes MC: Welcome. Invite people to take 10 minutes to do the opening sharing question in their small group. 1. Share with your small group how your discernment and intentional planning is going regarding your aspirations for the evangelization and multiplication of a “Timothy”, or a group, parish, ministry, etc. 143
  • 144. MC: Give a 1 minute warning in their sharing, Regain the group's attention. Begin with a brief prayer. Introduce today's lesson by saying: It's hard to believe we are on lesson 9 already and that there is only one week remaining. We have been learning so much and setting high aspirations for the Church and each of us to live out our missionary call by reaching one person at a time. Last week we learned how working with a manageable few to whom we pass on the message and the mission has incredible potential to reach many. Today's lesson has a pastoral time and offers advice and encouragement when facing struggles and disappointments that can come at us in our missionary efforts. Let's begin now with the first section called "Opposition". (Continue on to the next section.) Opposition MC 3 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes MC say: 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 Now I invite you to discuss this Scripture passage in your small group, with question #2. (10 minutes) 144
  • 145. 2. What do you think are the ways we might expect to be sabotaged by the enemy? Leaders: This question is broad. People can anticipate what could happen, or speak from their own experience, or the experience of the saints.3. What advice does Peter offer us?  Be sober (i.e. self-controlled, serious, careful, balanced). The word “sober” is often used in the context of alcohol. Even this sense of the word can work — that is, avoid getting yourself into situations (sin) in which your judgement and behaviour is impaired or you are led astray. Leaders: Ask, “What kinds of situations/sin could lead us astray or impair our judgment?”  Be vigilant, be aware – spiritual warfare is a real possibility.  Resist – through prayer, Scripture (truth), sacraments, intercession of others, sacramentals (holy water, holy oil), fasting, sacrifices.  Be steadfast in faith – do not waver, doubt, falter in your piety (missing daily prayer, frequent Confession or Mass).  Communion of saints – We are not alone; many have gone before us (the Church Triumphant) and many are currently fighting the good fight (the Church Militant). We can look to the witness of the saints who have suffered for the Gospel and intercede for us in heaven (e.g. The Canadian Martyrs). We can also turn to likeminded brothers and sisters for encouragement, strength and communion.  Great expectations – Jesus will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. MC: Invite everyone to finish their small group sharing. Then say: 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. We have a video segment to start us off. Lack of Success Video 10 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes 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. People will only understand and grasp the mission and model if the Holy Spirit reveals it to them. We cannot carry the burden; we do what we can and leave the results to God. We have to understand that people have free will and as such, they can choose to reject this calling. God gives us freedom and we have to respect other people’s freedom as well. It is really between them and God. This is why we constantly need to intercede and pray for our “Timothys” and for ourselves, that we will “be steadfast in faith”. 145
  • 146. It is freeing to see that our role is to take the initiative. We are to be ready to do what God is calling us to do. Taking the initiative involves effort, commitment, love and hope. If we take the initiative to build up a “Timothy” or start a ministry and the response is favourable, then we have the responsibility to keep moving forward. If there is no response, however, then we leave it in God’s hands. We give the people we want to reach space, keep loving them, and do not allow our heart to become resentful. We initiate again as God directs us. We keep praying for them with a heart of great expectations for what “could be”. Our success is not in the results, but in our faithfulness to what God has called us to do. Did we act in faith, reaching out when God prompted us to do so? If so, that faithfulness and obedience is a success in itself. It may not feel as concrete and satisfying, but it is still success. We need to keep reminding ourselves of this truth. Maybe we have not yet found the right opportunity to spread the Kingdom of God through our gifts. With the help of brothers and sisters in Christ, our pastor, and spiritual director, we can discern the most suitable opportunities to live out our missionary calling. These people may be able to help us see opportunities the Lord is giving us to bear fruit. Our disposition is key. We have to ask ourselves what we desire most for these people, these ministries, our parish, our family, our neighbours. If our desire for them is to encounter God's love, then our disposition and prayer is in itself a source of grace for them. We may not see the results or available opportunities for which we long, but we trust that God is nevertheless "on the move" in their lives. Lack of success is a source of great suffering. I know this first hand. It is a cross we bear that challenges our pride (which would love to see results). This suffering is part of being a disciple of Christ. Lack of success is one of the many sacrifices we can offer with a missionary disposition - that it can be a source of grace for the spread of the Gospel and for the greater glory of God. MC say: Let's now gather in our small groups to discuss this video segment. (10 minutes) 3. What aspects of this presentation on dealing with lack of success spoke to you? Invite everyone to take a 10 minute break. 146
  • 147. Break 15 minutes After 10 minutes, invite everyone back to their seats. Introduce next video: We've looked at dealing with the of challenges spiritual warfare and lack of success. Our next section looks at overcoming our "Lack of Confidence". We begin with a video teaching. Lack of Confidence Video 10 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes 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 don't believe we would be any good at doing it. Who would want to follow me? I won't be able to do this! God wouldn't want to use me. What is going on here? What's wrong with these thoughts. If is very self-focused. It all boils down to me actually and not God. It's about my abilities; my lack of faith in what God can do THROUGH me; and how no one will be interested in what I have to say. Me, me me! Maybe Satan is trying to prevent us from taking initiative! After all, the Lord isn't asking us to be confident in our ability to evangelize with perfection, he's asking us to be confident in his ability to work through our efforts being his messenger to others. What can we do to combat this? We may need support and encouragement from our brothers and sisters in Christ when we feel this lack of confidence. We are not meant to tackle this mission on our own. The Christian life is not just a “Jesus and me” thing. As Catholics, we understand that we are incorporated into the body of Christ, and so we should look to the Body for support. You might find encouragement from like-minded friends, your parish priest or your spiritual director. Maybe your only source of encouragement is long distance — you can still connect with that person in many ways thanks to technology. Do not let Satan “pick you off” because you strayed from the herd and are isolated. A fire is easily put out if you separate the logs or coals from each other. United we stand, divided we fall. Surround yourself with the body of Christ. No, 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 Jeremiah, Esther, Moses, and St. Thérèse of Lisieux 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 147
  • 148. me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Let's follow her example and her words by doing whatever the Lord tells us to do (rf. John 2:5). The prophet Jeremiah is also a great model for us. Look at Jeremiah 1:5-8 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated You; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." Then I said, "Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy." But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a boy'; For you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, For I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD." Jeremiah was very aware of his natural weaknesses. Weaknesses are not a hindrance for God — if he is calling us, he can qualify us for the task. God essentially tells Jeremiah to “just do it”, to take initiative and leave the rest up to him. Another verse from Jeremiah [Jeremiah 17:7] says: Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, Whose trust is the Lord. In some Bibles, the word “trusts” in that verse is translated as “has confidence”. This verse tells us that Jeremiah has lived out his calling. He knew what it meanstto put his trust in the Lord and not in himself. In St. Thérèse of Lisieux'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 This quote is potent! See how St. Thérèse is very aware of her weakness and inabilities, but equally aware of the Father's goodness and provision. It puts her in a tremendous posture and attitude of humility and confidence. So like the holy men and women who have gone before us let's take our eyes of ourselves, and let us fix our eyes on Jesus instead, the source of our confidence. MC say: Let's now gather in our small groups to discuss this video segment. (10 minutes) 148
  • 149. 4. What encouragement are you taking away from this section? We should not take ourselves too seriously. Instead, we should focus on the greatness of our God. We should expect him to act because he is infinitely good (even if the outcome isn’t what WE expected, we still trust that God is bringing good out of all situations). MC: After 5 - 10 minutes say: I invite everyone to finish up their small group sharing on that question. [Pause] Next we will go into the final section of the lesson which is a reflection on 2 Corinthians 4:7-18. (Continue to the next section) Eternal Perspective Small Groups 15 minutes Please now turn in your Bibles to that passage. I will first read it aloud, and then you will read it on your own silently before beginning the questions in your small group. MC read 2 Corinthians 4:7-18 But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture — ‘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. I now invite you to read it through silently one more time. Your small group leaders will initiate the discussion time momentarily. 149
  • 150. 5. 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? Give them a chance to read the passage on their own, before beginning the questions. Encourage them to identify the verse(s) associated with their response. Some points:  [v. 7] - It is not about us (our success), it is all God’s doing, by his grace and for his glory.  [vv. 8-12] - Redemptive suffering in myriad ways (lack of success could be included in that list); we suffer so that others may receive blessing and life.  [v. 13] - Taking initiative; we are compelled by our calling to proclaim the Gospel.  [v. 15] - The grace won through sacrifice is not just for the “Timothy”, but for more and more people (legacy of those who will follow after this “Timothy”).  [v. 16] - Although we may not see results, we choose hope and great expectations.  [v. 17] - KEY: We must have an eternal perspective on what is happening. The unseen suffering and sacrifices of the missionary life have not gone unnoticed by God — they have eternal value and purpose. 6. How do holiness and mission interact in this passage? Holiness and mission are constantly working together, as the mission is a catalyst for the life of holiness, and vice versa. Mission, by its very nature, creates opportunities for suffering and sacrifices as well as the need for greater prayer, faith, hope and love. The eternal and temporal graces from these sacrifices are furthering the mission and building treasure in heaven. The graces won through our prayer and sacrifice are likely being poured out on people and situations we do not yet know (our “Timothy’s Timothy” for example). In heaven, we will see what is now unseen. Perhaps we might even be blessed to see how those sacrifices bore fruit while we are on earth! MC: Invite everyone to finish their small group sharing. Move into the closing elements of the lesson and any announcements. 150
  • 151. Closing Elements MC 10 minutes Challenge Memorize one of the quotes in this lesson: “God has not called me to be successful; he has called me to be faithful.” Mother Teresa Holiness is “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. Therese of Lisieux Make any announcements at this time. MC say: We will now wrap up the evening with the summary of our lesson and the closing prayer. Summary When we learn to expect opposition and understand the tactics being waged on us, we can be ready to counteract. We must not allow perceived lack of success or feelings of inadequacy to stifle our missionary spirit. Remember: being a successful missionary means taking the initiative to share the message and the mission, and leaving the results to God. 151
  • 152. Prayer You can point out that this week’s prayer comes from the passage we just read in 2 Corinthians 4 (vv. 13b-20). Let us pray: 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. Amen. 152
  • 153. Lesson 11 Preparation Notes "Commissioned" In Brief: Recognizing, with great expectations, the work of the Holy Spirit in the evangelizer, and in the one being evangelized. Key Elements:  The goal of this study is to commission participants to be multiplying missionaries. It is, in fact,      the Holy Spirit who calls and sends forth apostles into the mission. In this lesson, we look at how the Holy Spirit sends us out. The first point focuses on Ephesians 3:20. The Holy Spirit at work in us is a source of supernatural power and potential. Participants are encouraged to believe that the Holy Spirit can do more than we could ever expect, as he wills. Be sure to carefully read the answers in question 3. We then look at the primacy of the Holy Spirit in the mission. All our training means nothing out in the field unless the Holy Spirit directs and animates the mission. He is also the one who inspires the people with whom we share the Gospel to be receptive to it. At the end of the lesson, participants are given time to pray for each other. We lay hands on each individual, praying for a stirring up of the Holy Spirit in his/her personal life and mission. The prayer time concludes with the CCO's "Apostles' Prayer". After the lesson, set a reunion date for your group. At this reunion, share how you have been living out your call to holiness and mission, and pray for one another. 153
  • 154. Lesson 11 Commissioned Outline Welcome MC - 2 minutes Small Group opening question - 10 minutes MC - 2 minutes The Source of Great Expectations Video - 10 minutes Small Groups - 10 minutes Indispensable MC - 5 minutes Small Groups - 25 minutes Break - 15 minutes Empowerment MC - 5 minutes Small Groups - 30 minutes Closing Elements MC - 10 minutes Welcome MC 2 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes + MC 2 minutes MC: Welcome. Invite people to take 10 minutes to do the opening sharing question in their small group. 1. Recite the quote you memorized last week. Why did you choose that particular quote? 154
  • 155. MC: Give a 1 minute warning for their sharing, Regain the group's attention. Begin with a brief prayer. Introduce today's lesson by saying: Today's lesson is very special at is our final gathering. Although is important content to cover, this class has a spirit of celebration since it is the end of the program and your send off. The title of the lesson "Commissioned" is appropriate for we are commissioning you to go forth as missionaries. Now let's open today's lesson with a short video segment called "Great Expectations." Great Expectations Video 10 minutes + Small Groups 10 minutes 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. 1. Bolder in our faith in God. Having great expectations means believing that God is truly real, and will act in my life and others' lives. Living with great expectations means believing that the promises of Christ are not limited to other people or stuck in another age, but are relevant now to our own lives. As Jesus tells us, “for God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Great expectations gives us hope that he can do more than expected in every situation and that his will will be done, even in spite of difficult circumstances (as read in the quote above from St. Thérèse). 155
  • 156. 2. Bolder in our proclamation. Because we have faith that God is alive and active, we have confidence and boldness to proclaim him.) It inspires us to believe, hope and have great expectations that God will act in people's hearts and lives! This expectation carries the hope that God will accomplish his purpose if we obey and communicate the message entrusted to us. In believing we have the hope of Heaven It is the hope that we will be with him forever in heaven. Without this hope, we will not step out in faith and be his witnesses. 3. More compelling in our witness. How attractive it is to the world to see people who are expecting God to do great things! What a powerful witness it is for the lost to see a Christian fully alive for the glory of God. The world needs us to live with this attitude of great expectations. Expecting great things of God fills us with hope and makes our lives vibrant witnesses of his power. 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 could we avoid this? It might be helpful to offer a definition of the term entitlement. According to Merriam-Webster.com it is the "belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges" We should remember that our great expectations, based on the virtues of hope and faith, do not come from a sense of entitlement. Rather, they are born of humility. Our disposition is one of abandonment and submission to the will of God in our lives. We should see ourselves as servants through whom the master is choosing to work for his glory. Ultimately, we abandon ourselves to his plan. No matter what happens, we believe, hope and trust that “all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Having great expectations does not mean we will always get what we want. Because of our fallen world, things are not always the way we want them to be, nor the way God had planned. There can be suffering, pain, hardship, weakness and failures. Our great expectations do not make us immune to these situations. We must remember, though, that life, goodness, healing and restoration will come even through challenges (as we saw in last week’s lesson). At the core of our great expectations should be the belief that God can be trusted, that he has our good in mind, and that in the end, we have the hope of heaven where all tears will be “wiped away”. 156
  • 157. MC say: Let's now gather in our small groups to discuss this video segment. (10 minutes) 2. How could exercising great expectations influence your faith and the way you share it with others? MC give a one-minute warning to wrap up small group discussions. (Continue to the next section) Indispensable MC 5 minutes + Small Groups 25 minutes MC say: So, what exactly is this "power at work within us" we hear in Ephesians 3:20? What is the source and origin of our great expectations? 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! 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, 10 157
  • 158. 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. MC read it aloud to the group. Leaders: Here is a brief overview of Evangelii Nuntiandi, 75 for your convenience. Pope Paul VI begins by showing the Holy Spirit's action in the life of Jesus. He points out that like Christ, we are guided by the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, we are called and set apart (as Christ was at his Baptism), we are directed and strengthened in suffering (as Christ was in the desert), and we are empowered (as Christ was in his public ministry). The Holy Spirit is given to the apostles, and it is he who sends them out on mission at Pentecost. The Pope goes on to show how, in the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit empowers those who are called to witness. He gives them the gifts and grace to accomplish their mission. 3. 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." 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.[115] 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. 158
  • 159. 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 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. MC say: Let's now gather for some small group discussion. (25 minutes) 4. How does Pope Paul VI describe the action of the Holy Spirit in: a) evangelization In Evangelization: Evangelization is impossible without the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is most active in the Church in her evangelizing mission. He is the principle agent of evangelization; without him, our efforts are in vain. b) the evangelizer For the Evangelizer: The Holy Spirit acts in the evangelizer, impelling and calling him to proclaim the Gospel. The Holy Spirit explains deep spiritual truths to him, leads him, inspires him to speak and gives him the words to say. c) the one being evangelized? For the one being Evangelized: The Holy Spirit prepares him to be open to receive and understand the Good News. Follow up by asking, “Have you witnessed the Holy Spirit's action in these three areas?” 159
  • 160. Next we will read a paragraph from Redemptoris Missio which 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 5. What does John Paul II tell us about our missionary efforts?  The Holy Spirit prepares people to hear the kerygma  We are confident that our proclamation is a response of obedience to God's call, and to meet the need of the hearer, to hear the Good News.  We are confident that God is working through us in our witness.  We are confident that the Word of God, and of course the Gospel message itself has intrinsic power. For example as it says in Romans 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes." 6. How does the Holy Spirit allow us to have great expectations in our mission? How does he affect your specific mission to your "Timothys"? If I truly recognize the power of the Holy Spirit and understand that evangelization is impossible without him, then I can expect great things when I depend on him to make my mission fruitful. I can expect him to accomplish great things today, as he has done in the past, in the lives of the apostles and saints. Regarding our mission to our "Timothys", recognizing these truths about the Holy Spirit should give us greater freedom, because see that success does not depend on us. Ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit who will open people's hearts. I can have confidence that if the Holy Spirit has led me to this person, then somehow he has a plan to do something! He is God, after all! Invite everyone to take a 10 minute break. 160
  • 161. Break 15 minutes After 10 minutes, invite everyone back to their seats. Empowerment MC 5 minutes + Small Groups 30 minutes 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 so that we might be strengthened for the ministry to which we are called. We are going to pray for each other in our small groups as you can see below. Continue reading the prayer guidelines below. 1. As a group, pray for the Holy Spirit to be stirred up in your lives.  For openness and docility to the Holy Spirit.  For the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit to be active and effective in our lives.  To invite the Holy Spirit to have his way in the lives of the "Timothys" to whom we feel called to reach.  To invite the Holy Spirit to direct the plans and projects we feel he is leading us to undertake. 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.  At each member's turn, ask them to briefly mention what intentions they have for their "Timothy's", ministries or parish.  Suggested opening 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]  Following the opening prayer, should be a time of spontaneous short intentions prayed out loud by the group. 161
  • 162. I now invite you to make a circle of chairs for your small group prayer time, with one chair in the middle for the person receiving prayer. You will have about 5 minutes per person. I will let you know when you have 5 minutes remaining in the prayer time. Give a 5 minute warning at the 25 minute mark. Invite everyone to finish their small group prayer time. Move into the closing elements of the lesson and any announcements. Closing Elements MC 10 minutes Challenge Live out your deepest identity and be a courageous Catholic and multiplying missionary in the power of the Holy Spirit. Make any announcements at this time.  Announce the online Discovery study video training on the cco.ca website. MC say: We will now wrap up the evening with the summary of our lesson and the closing prayer. 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 737 162
  • 163. 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 courageously and witness to our faith in Jesus Christ. At the end of this final lesson, the Courageous Catholic program 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! Prayer MC say: The following prayer is very significant to Catholic Christian Outreach, as it is the prayer its missionaries pray every year when they are commissioned. The words are rich, profound and important. In light of all you have learned and experienced in the Courageous Catholic program, we feel this prayer would also express the desire of your heart. Please stand and pray with me CCO's Apostle's prayer. Apostles’ Prayer Let us pray: 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 John Paul II’s homily at WYD Toronto on the evening of July 27, 2002. 163
  • 164. 164
  • 165. Appendix 165
  • 166. Personal Opportunities Worksheet 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” and/or ministry opportunity for now. 3. Plan: Discern and map out ideas on this worksheet on how to be intentional with opportunities to share the God's love and the kerygma with your "Timothy" or ministry opportunity. The questions provided are catalysts for your prayerful planning. a) For a “Timothy”:  What are my dreams, hopes and great expectations for my “Timothy”?  How can I show I am willing to love him/her, listen to him/her, and truly communicate God's love and care for him/her in a nonjudgmental way?  Pre-evangelization (if necessary)  How can I build my relationship this person?  How can I connect with him/her?  How can I delight in him/her?  How can I identify with him/her? 166
  • 167.  Evangelization  What would be a good venue/opportunity to share the kerygma with him/her?  How can I communicate the Good News and God's love to him/her in a way that takes into account his/her situation?  Do I need practice or tools to help me communicate the kerygma clearly, simply, confidently, comfortably?  Strategy to help him/her growing in their faith  How can I encourage continued spiritual growth?  How can I help him/her get to the sacraments (Eucharist, Reconciliation)? 167
  • 168. b) For a ministry or group:  What is my dream for how this ministry or group could be revitalized though a greater focus on Jesus?  What relationships do I need to build and invest in so as to strengthen the missionary spirit of this group?  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.)?  How can I move forward in the best way possible?  Goal-based planning: How can I make the Gospel message central in this ministry or group?  Planning: timeline, strategy for implementing change one step at a time, etc.  Support: a core group of likeminded people, “buy-in” from others, advice from others who have done similar things, prayer support.  Logistics: materials, location; are we creating conflicts with other groups in our use of space or competing with their mandate? 168
  • 169. 4. Pray/intercede: Take time to pray and intercede together to ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and wisdom. Lay hands on the person and pray for a stirring of the Holy Spirit in his/her life, to empower him/her. This is very important. Jesus told his disciples not to go out on mission until they received the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:48). 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 the program). 169
  • 170. Preparing a Personal Testimony A 3 minute testimony is approximately one single-spaced, typed page. Your testimony should include the following three aspects: 1) What did your life look like prior to knowing Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour? 2) What was the turning point? How did you make the decision to live for Jesus? 3) How has your life changed since you have invited Jesus to be at the center of your life? Since you have recognized Him as your Saviour? Let’s take a look at a testimony written by a missionary with Catholic Christian Outreach, broken into the three sections listed above: 1. Life before knowing Jesus as Saviour: In university, I was well on my way to ‘success’ - I was a promising student, I was popular and everything was in place for a ‘successful’ career. I had much of what many students strive for, but I was living a life that, although seemingly successful and good, was empty and exhausting. My friend Michael, however, was on a different path. He had encountered Christ in a personal way and actively practiced his faith. He asked me if I'd be interested in doing a CCO Discovery faith study with him, and somehow I agreed without thinking about it. This was strange for me as no one in my family was Catholic, and I was living a life far outside of anything remotely religious. Through the faith study, I heard that I was created to be in a relationship with God and that my sin separated myself from Him; that Jesus reconciled me with God through his death and resurrection; and how all of this is offered to me as a gift. All I have to do is choose. This truth, which is the foundation of the Catholic Church, was beyond anything I could comprehend! It opened a chamber of questions within my mind — "Why am I here? Why was I created? What is the point of ME?" 2. Making the decision, recognizing Jesus as Saviour and accepting Him more fully in my life: These questions led me to pray for the first time: “Jesus, if you’re real… show me,” “Jesus, who are you?” These were simple prayers just trying to talk to Jesus as a real person. Soon after my experience with the faith study, I began attending Mass. Through many encounters with Jesus in Eucharistic adoration, I knew he was real, that he loved me and that he had created me to be in relationship with him, that he died on the cross for me to give me freedom and life. Not only was my heart touched but my mind, and I was drawn to the truth proclaimed in the Catholic Church. These experiences of freedom and truth lead me to a major decision. I became Catholic at the Easter vigil in 2003. I was baptized, confirmed and received Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time. Obviously, words cannot express how awesome that experience was, but looking at my non-Catholic parents crying in the front row, I knew that God was somehow working through me. 3. My life since understanding Jesus as my Saviour. Immense changes in my life came quickly. My idea of success and fulfillment was radically altered. Suddenly my motivation for my commerce studies diminished as I realized corporate success was not my calling, nor did it utilize the gifts that God had given me. At the same time, I saw God presenting opportunities to use my life experiences to introduce others to him and his Church: co-workers, friends, and family were having conversions and joining the Catholic Church. One of the greatest joys in my life was seeing my mom come to encounter Christ, and join the 170
  • 171. Catholic Church the year after I did; I was privileged to be her sponsor! Seeing my mom come into the Church and seeing the joy it brought her awoke my passion both for proclaiming the Gospel and a desire to be a missionary. I chose to become a full-time missionary with Catholic Christian Outreach. St. Paul exclaims “All that matters is that Christ be proclaimed, that is what brings me joy!” [Philippians 1:18]. My burning desire, why I have given my life as a full-time missionary, is to reach out to those who have wandered from the Church and invite them back to experience the love and freedom of Jesus and his Catholic Church – that same love which I encountered 8 years ago and continue to encounter today. There is no greater gift I can think to offer than the service of myself in drawing others to Christ. Now it’s your turn. A few key things to keep in mind to share an engaging testimony. Conversion moment: In lesson 4 of Courageous Catholic you examined your journey of faith, and identified at least one key moment/season/circumstance where you chose to follow Christ, or where you experienced his love/mercy/forgiveness and responded to it. This exercise lays a great foundation upon which you can build your three-minute testimony. Theme: Is there a theme that sticks out to you from your reflections on faith journey? Is there a common emotion or circumstance that other people might identify with? Some examples might include personal pride, searching for happiness, experiencing pain and suffering, lack of purpose, etc. Write down the common thread(s) that you see. This will then become the framework for your testimony. Remember Your Audience: your testimony is meant to be shared so that “others might hear it and also believe.” Try to use language that will be understood by anyone no matter where they are at in their faith. Avoid religious jargon, if there is an otherwise clearer way to say it. Eg. Not "prayed a sinner's prayer" rather, "I prayed and spoke to God honestly, that I needed his forgiveness and I wanted to know and follow him from now on." Simple and Clear: When opening or giving details ask yourself, “If I didn’t say this, would it change my message at all?” Try to think of it from the listener’s perspective. Many details that are added into testimonies mean nothing to the listener, nor do they aid in understanding. This is most common when describing people or events. Remember, it probably doesn’t matter to your listeners that “my brother John had a roommate, Dan, who later joined the Army. Dan was a nice guy. He went to St. Patrick’s Basilica. Well, one day he and I were talking....” It can be just as effective to say “My brother’s friend, Dan, encouraged me to look deeper into the claims of Jesus”. Repeatable: When describing your turning point make sure that it is clear and repeatable. After you’ve shared, the listener should be able to clearly articulate what it was that affected the turning point in your life, so that they could, in their own way, repeat what you have done and respond to Christ. Have An Ending: Be sure to have a definite ending so that if you are sharing in a more public setting (at your parish or a group meeting, etc.) you can finish on time with a clear resolution. 171
  • 172. Leading Your Own Discovery Group Getting Started See www.leadingdiscovery.ca for online Discovery training. Here are some practical pointers to getting started with your Discovery faith study. 1) Impact List  Develop a list of people to invite to the study (take some time to write down the names of a few people you could potentially invite to the study)   Choose the best date and time Invite them (personally call them, put an announcement in the bulletin, etc.) 2) Commitment to Personal Growth Allows us to maintain our closeness to Jesus (we cannot give what we do not have), to set an example for our Timothys (that the journey never ends).    Have a daily, consistent personal prayer life Be reading scripture on a daily basis Frequent participation in the sacraments (Eucharist & Confession) 3) Commitment to Intercession  Intercede specifically for each participant  Pray for the participants specific spiritual needs  Prayer for the Holy Spirit to open the hearts and minds of the participants—to convict them of their need for Jesus 4) Preparation  Review the study before gathering with your people  Be sure to understand the main goal and focus of the lesson  Research any tricky parts 5) Leaving a Spiritual Legacy As we’ve heard in previous lessons, the message is only part of what we are sharing – we must be on the lookout for people we can also share the mission with. If we do not share the mission as well as the message, our legacy stops with us.    Our task is not to make converts or even disciples…our task is to form apostles: committed, multiplying disciples Ask yourself: who will lead a faith study from this group? Commission & encourage 172
  • 173. Components of a Faith Study • Casual Sharing • Opening Prayer (keep it simple so that it’s imitate-able, rote prayers help them participate in prayer: “Lord, bless our bible study and our discussion, Glory be to the Father…) • Recap Last Faith Study (should be about 2 sentences) • Overview of Current study (should be about 2 sentences) • Faith Study • Closing Comments (ensure that everyone can do the challenge, maybe share a brief story of your own that relates, etc.) • Closing Prayer (again keep it simple: “Thank you for this time together & help us fulfill our challenge this week. Hail Mary…) • Announcements (any parish or diocesan events that may help to get participants connected to the broader Church community) Key Points The points below are meant to help you have the greatest success in leading your faith study. Feel free to add further suggestions from your own experiences of leading small groups as you read through the material. Set the tone:  Be on time, greet each member by name.  Come prepared having read through the study to understand the material. Facilitate the discussion:. • Ask questions, don’t lecture. • Give people time to think after you have asked a question. Relax. Don’t fear silence. Never answer your own questions. Direct the question to someone if no one volunteers. • Don’t stop with one person sharing. Ask if there are other thoughts. • Don’t struggle to get exactly what you think is the right answer. Better to let a few questionable responses go by than to discourage people from sharing. However, if it is really a matter of basic truth or the answer is wide of your aim, say something like “That’s an interesting point of view. Does anyone else have a thought about this?” Avoid leaving an impression of confusion by summing up briefly, “I appreciate your sharing. I guess my thoughts are…because…” • If someone talks too much, a comment that can be helpful is “Let’s hear from someone who hasn’t had a chance to comment yet.” Or if someone doesn’t talk it would be o.k. once and a while to direct a question directly to them. Pace the study within the time limit  Give ample time to the main point of the passage. Don’t get bogged down in unimportant details; keep the discussion moving. Be prepared and sensitive enough to depart from your study and deal with real problems in individual’s lives. “People are more important than the study.” 173
  • 174. Bond with your group members  Become a small community. Do things together like going for lunch, events, conferences, somewhere in the middle to the end of the Faith study. Also try to plan a supper/evening get together or pair up with another study and do something social. Lesson Summaries You are proclaiming Jesus and introducing Him to your friends – something will happen! As you learn the material today think about what might be happening in the lives of the people you will be sharing this message with. Do not become overwhelmed but rather remember that it is the power of the Gospel and the working of the Holy Spirit that effects conversion. Lesson 1: God's Love Goal: that participants would come to know God’s unconditional love and that they would realise that He desires a personal relationship with them.       Many people conceptualize God's love in a vague and distant way. This lesson shows that God loves us personally. This is the first point about God's love that we look at in the Discovery study (God’s love is personal, proven, merciful and offered). God’s love is also secure; it is a refuge for us. We can love God back in a personal way, relating to him as a friend. It is important for leaders to be inviting, warm and non-judgmental. This first meeting is vital for making participants feel welcomed and comfortable. Really encourage them to do this challenge as it has been quite eye-opening for many. Key Verse: Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope.” Knowing that God’s love is personal affect the way people see God and themselves. God is no longer a cosmic being but has an intimate, personal presence in their lives. He is real. Our lives matter to Him! They will start treating God more as a friend, than some impersonal creator. They will begin to realize that Jesus is present in every aspect of their lives. This first lesson is an opportunity to see where people are at and open their eyes to what could be with God. They may have misconceptions in regards to God’s character and action in their lives. This lesson is the starting point that will help them begin to reach out to God as He reaches out to them. It may be the very first time that they take a step towards knowing God as a real presence in their lives. 174
  • 175. Lesson 2: Love’s Initiative Goal: that participants would come to the realization that our sin has separated us from God, but that the Father takes the initiative to reconcile our relationship with him.      We see that God gave human beings free will. Participants review the story of the fall of Adam and Eve. They look at what sin is as well as the attitudes behind it and its consequences. It is important to understand the “bad news” of sin and death in order to grasp and appreciate the Good News offered by Jesus. The story of the prodigal son emphasizes that God's love is merciful, proven and offered. Prepare this section well so that you can draw participants into this picture of the Father's love. The challenge sets up a wonderful opportunity for you to invite group members to go to Mass with you. Begin by asking if anyone does not know where to go to Mass/Mass times. Suggest going to Mass together and then out for coffee/breakfast. Key Verse: Romans 5:8 “But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Knowing that God loves us even in our sin affects our understanding of God and ourselves. Before having this knowledge, someone might see God as judgemental – they might believe that God loves them but be afraid that they could lose that love at any point. This news shows them God’s mercy and hope begins to stir that we may also have a second chance with God. You may want to ask the question: “Have you ever had someone forgive you for something that you thought was unforgivable or even just awful? How did it make you feel when you were forgiven? How might it feel?" It is likely that in experiencing forgiveness we experience the same feelings the prodigal son did: freedom, greater love, respect and fidelity towards the other, a compulsion to do the same for others, great joy. 175
  • 176. Lesson 3: Jesus Christ – Our Lord Goal: that participants would come to see, through Scripture, that Jesus is God.    The central point of this lesson is that Jesus is God. This fact is absolutely central if the Christian message is to have any grounding. Unfortunately, as CCO questionnaires on campus indicate, many Catholics do not understand that Jesus is, in fact, God. It is extremely important that we communicate this truth to participants. This may be the first time they hear a clear explanation of Christ’s divinity. We will study a number of Scripture selections in which Jesus identifies himself as God. We also see in these narratives that the people listening to Jesus understood what he was saying. Some like to add to this lesson a discussion of the logic behind Jesus’ claim to be God with the "Trilemma" argument originating with C.S. Lewis and further extrapolated by Peter Kreeft with the "Quadrilemma". Key Verse: John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Knowing that Jesus is not simply a good moral teacher, but God, should change the way one perceives him. If Jesus is Lord and God then His actions on earth were more than just good moral teachings. He is the way, the truth and the life. We must then choose whether or not we will allow Him to be Lord of our life. This also makes all the difference in comparison with other religions. The Christian faith is unique because it emphasizes more than just moral teachings and a way of life, and it hinges on the very identity of its founder and the truth of his life, death, and resurrection. Knowing that Jesus is our Lord and our God is the key to believing that Jesus is actually able to bridge the gap in lesson 4. If Jesus is not God then the Christian faith is meaningless. We need to believe that Jesus has the power and authority to work and move in our lives if we are to trust and follow him as our Lord. 176
  • 177. Lesson 4: Jesus Christ – Our Saviour Goal: for participants to realise that Jesus saves them from their sins through his passion, death and resurrection.       The goal of this lesson is to help participants see that Jesus’ purpose on earth was to suffer, die for our sins and rise, in order to restore our broken relationship with God. The bridge illustration from St. Catherine of Siena is central to this lesson. It is important that you practice explaining it (drawing it and asking the questions). Participants do not have the diagram in their student guides, the leader draws it for them to copy. We do not want this lesson to seem trite or simplistic. It is thus important that the bridge analogy be shared with appropriate passion and conviction. Do not rush through your explanation of the bad news (the results of sin, death and separation). This helps us appreciate our need for Christ's sacrifice. It is important to understand the theological explanation of Jesus’ identity to properly answer question 8. Read the leader notes very carefully. These notes explain that Jesus is fully God and fully man. As a human being, Jesus could die on our behalf. As God, his sacrifice has infinite value. Practice explaining the “Feather Pillow” and "Lifeguard" analogies. Key Verse: Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” It is truly important that participants understand the total hopelessness of the situation sin causes. We cannot conquer sin, death, and separation on our own. We need to recognize our need for help. Knowing our need for a Saviour adds urgency to our relationship with him and in seeking him out. Being a good person and going to church is no longer good enough. We begin to recognize that our relationship with Jesus is fundamental to our salvation and in fact, we cannot experience eternal life apart from his passion, death and resurrection. 177
  • 178. Lesson 5: The Universal Call – Personally Yours Goal: that the participants would be invited to receive the gift of salvation and live a new relationship with God          This lesson is the culmination of the study. In this lesson, participants are given an opportunity to invite Jesus to be at the centre of their lives. It is important to prepare the material well and to intercede for your participants. Many lives have been changed through the sharing of this lesson. This lesson emphasizes that God’s incredible love is offered. In this lesson, we will revisit the bridge illustration and discuss how to cross to God’s side of the river. The bridge illustration emphasizes that salvation is a gift. God invites us to accept the love he offers. Our faith is not meant to be private and hidden. It will be an important act of faith for your participants to bear witness to their beliefs publicly when they decide to commit (or recommit) themselves to Jesus. It is important to practice explaining “the relationships diagram.” The appendix of this study includes reference material on typical stumbling blocks people encounter when introduced to “the relationships diagram.” At the end of the lesson, invite participants to meet with you for the Discovery Follow-Up. This will give you an opportunity to talk to each person about his/her relationship with God. You should also be prepared to help participants find an opportunity to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. Key Verse: Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, (then) I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.” Making a decision for Christ is an important and necessary step. This decision allows us to choose, as adults, the gift of salvation Jesus offers (and that we may have initially received at our Baptism). For some this might be the first time that they understand so clearly what it means to be in a relationship with God. A decision like this can be likened to "planting a flag", a firm decision by which we orient our lives from here on in. In clearly understanding this decision and how Jesus is their Lord and Saviour, they will consequently have greater ownership of their faith and involvement in the life of the Church. For those who may be making this decision for the first time, this event is not to be taken lightly. It is important that we celebrate and support each person as they make this decision. Scriptures tell us that “there is more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over the 99 righteous persons” This is a big deal! We need to rejoice in their decision. Keep in mind that often, after having made the decision to invite Christ at the centre of their life, they will feel confused or doubt the power of that commitment. It is important that we are ready to follow-up, support, and encourage them as they begin this new journey with God. 178
  • 179. Lesson 6: Going From Here Goal: that participants would know that a relationship with God is not an achievement of perfection. It is rather the context in which we receive God’s help and mercy in our daily lives.        This lesson relies heavily on explanations given by the leader. You will need to prepare yourself well for this lesson. The “Relationships Diagram” is explored more deeply. We will also look at common misunderstandings about the diagram. Common misunderstandings may include: people feel it sounds more humble to say you are in the second kind of relationship, or some people think that being in the third kind of relationship means we are perfectly following God. Prepare yourself well to address these two points in the section called “Understanding Our Relationship with God." Notes on these points can be found in the appendix. The lesson wraps up with a brief introduction to growth in the Christian life. It first highlights how the Holy Spirit helps us to live as Christians. We will also look at practical ways to grow in our relationship with God: prayer, reading the Bible, going to Mass, going to Confession, fellowship, sharing our faith, serving others. Be prepared to share the things that helped you grow in your faith, especially in the early days following your conversion. Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 5:15 “He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” It is important that people understand that the “Relationships Diagram” is about types of commitment and not levels of perfection. We want people to understand that inviting Jesus at the centre of our lives is not about measuring up, it’s about living out a personal relationship with God and allowing him to influence the decisions and aspects of our lives. We want people to know the freedom they can experience by giving their lives to Christ. The Discovery Follow-Up (found in its appendix) is designed to provide an opportunity to discuss each participant's personal relationship with God, and how they each responded to invitation to put Christ at the centre of their life. The oneon-one context allows for deeply authentic and significant conversation to happen. The follow-up also allows for discussion on growing in their relationship with God especially in beginning a regular prayer time. At this time one could also touch on topics such as integrating into a parish, receiving the Sacraments, and if they are not baptized we can helping them to do so, and other areas related to growing in their faith. 179
  • 180. 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: Please contact me about more CCO studies, events or newsletters.  I do not wish to be contacted about more CCO studies, events or newsletters.  Faith study just completed or completing:  Discovery  Source  Commission  Growth  Obedience Study Leader's Name: Campus/Parish: 180
  • 181. Your Feedback How has the program influenced you? What concrete steps will you take to pass the message and the mission? Suggestions? Comments? Please return by mail or fax to: CCO Faith Studies 1247 Kilborn Place Ottawa, ON K1H 6K9 hq@cco.ca Fax: (613) 736-1800 181
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