Because the Church Says So

Church

On each of the next few Tuesdays, I’ll be sharing a guest post by my good friend Michael Marchand. They’re excerpted from his book, The E Word, which is a clear, concise, practical guide to the New Evangelization. Michael is now hosting live events and retreats based on the book. Find out more through his website.
 
 
Did you ever ask your dad for permission to do something only to get shot down? Most of us respond to such defeat by changing our target: we ask Mom. It only took a “Yes” from one or the other for us to feel justified in doing whatever it was we were hoping to do. But when both parents came back with the same response and the same instructions even when they were asked separately, we knew there was no chance of appeal.

Jesus very clearly tells us we’re supposed to evangelize, and his bride, the Church, tells us the exact same thing. She even uses stronger words than Him:

“The task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church.⦆ It is a task and mission which the vast and profound changes of present-day society make all the more urgent. Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize.” (Pope Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi)

Don’t miss that last sentence: the Church exists to evangelize.

It’s not just one the things that the Church should do, it is THE thing she MUST do. If she exists to evangelize, if that is her deepest identity, then if she’s not evangelizing, there is no reason for the Church to exist.

If we are the Church, the body of Christ, then the mission of the Church is our mission. If the Church exists in order to evangelize, then that should be the very reason for our existence as well.

No excuses.

“No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.” (Pope John Paul II, Repemtoris Missio)

Far too often we look at evangelization as optional. We tell ourselves: “Those people who are good at evangelization should do that, that’s not really my gift, so God can’t expect me to do something that I’m not good at. He can’t really want me to do something I don’t like doing. Right?”

Wrong:

“All the Christian faithful…are bound by the general obligation…to work so that the divine message of salvation is made known and accepted by all persons everywhere in the world.” (Code of Canon Law, 225)

Did you catch that? Canon Law says “All the Christian faithful…”, not “those who are good at sharing their faith” or “people who love to evangelize”. No, the same obligation to preach the Gospel that was imposed on Paul (1 Corinthians 9:16), has been imposed on all of us.

The Church doesn’t mince words. If we believe in Christ, evangelization is our duty, our obligation. It should be the reason for our existence.
 
 
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Michael Marchand is the author of The E Word a fantastic resource on Catholic evangelization. The response to the book has been so positive, that Michael now also runs evangelization retreats based on it’s content at parishes and schools around the country. (Portions of this article were taken from The E Word.)

Michael is one the co-creators of ProjectYM, a Catholic Youth Ministry resource and popular collaborative blog. He’s also the guy behind ParishDesigner.com, PopeTweets, and ReigniteUganda.
 
 
(Image credit: TM01001)

Because Jesus Said So

Great Commission

On each of the next few Tuesdays, I’ll be sharing a guest post by my good friend Michael Marchand. They’re excerpted from his book, The E Word, which is a clear, concise, practical guide to the New Evangelization. Michael is now hosting live events and retreats based on the book. Find out more through his website.
 
 
God is not big on suggestions. When you’re the Creator of the Universe, you don’t give recommendations or advice. God gives commands — not for His sake, but for our good.

God did not command Adam and Eve to avoid that tree because of some divine love of rules, but because He was trying to protect them. When God commanded Abraham to pack up and move, it was for Abraham’s benefit. The Ten Commandments were not given because God desired restrictions. They were given because the people of God were lost and needed guidance.

EWordThe Apostles knew the stories of Adam and Eve, Abraham and Moses. They knew that when God spoke, it was in their best interest to follow His commands.

And so, the book of Acts opens on the Apostles waiting. Why? Because Jesus told them to.

After Jesus rises from the dead, He spends 40 days hanging out with His Apostles, His friends. He spends 40 days “speaking about the kingdom of God” and the “promise of the Father” (Acts 1:3,4), and on the last day He gives them this command:

“I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)

Jesus promises them “power from on high” (aka “the Holy Spirit”), but instructs them to stay and wait until they receive the Spirit.

So the Apostles wait.

To be fair, they did more than just wait around: they prayed. Gathered together in an upper room, the earliest leaders of the Church spent their time, day and night, in prayer. They were preparing for what God was going to do through them.

Then it happens.

“And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit…” (Acts 2:2-4)

The story doesn’t end there. The Spirit filled each one of them for a very specific purpose. It was more than just an extraordinary gift. This gift came with another command.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Power? Yeah, I’ll take that.

Holy Spirit? Sure!

Witnesses to the ends of the earth? Sounds like a job for someone else, right?

Wrong. The gift and command Jesus gave to the Apostles, He gives to us. We have each been given the power of the Holy Spirit (even if a “strong driving wind” has never filled your house), and we have each been called – no, commanded – to be Christ’s witness “to the ends of the earth”.

Why do we evangelize? Because Jesus says so. Not just in Acts, but throughout the Gospels (Mt 28:18-20, Mk 16:15-18, Lk 24:46-49, Jn 20:21-23).

And when God speaks, it’s in our best interest to listen.
 
 
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Michael Marchand is the author of The E Word a fantastic resource on Catholic evangelization. The response to the book has been so positive, that Michael now also runs evangelization retreats based on it’s content at parishes and schools around the country. (Portions of this article were taken from The E Word.)

Michael is one the co-creators of ProjectYM, a Catholic Youth Ministry resource and popular collaborative blog. He’s also the guy behind ParishDesigner.com, PopeTweets, and ReigniteUganda.
 
 
(Image credit: The Gospel Coalition)

“The Urgency of the New Evangelization” Book Giveaway!

“Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.” – St. Augustine

Since I’ve built up a large collection of extra books and resources, every week I give some away absolutely free, no strings attached.

Each giveaway lasts seven days with a new one beginning every Friday. You can enter any time during the week. Check out my past giveaways here.


 
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Thanks to Our Sunday Visitor, today I’m giving away TEN copies of Ralph Martin’s new book, The Urgency of the New Evangelization: Answering the Call. (If you missed it, be sure to check out my interview with Ralph about this book.)
 

The Urgency of the New Evangelization: Answering the Call

by Ralph Martin

Our Sunday Visitor, 128 pages, paperback
Released on October 2, 2013

Urgency of the New Evangelization“No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.” — Blessed John Paul II

With the encouragement of Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, discover a renewed urgency and growing enthusiasm for sharing the Gospel with those in your life, both non-believers and those who are no longer practicing their faith.

In The Urgency of the New Evangelization: Answering the Call, Ralph Martin explains:

  • It’s not just a churchy buzzword
  • It’s not just for priests and missionaries to carry out
  • YOU and every individual Catholic play a role
  • It is literally a matter of life or death for everyone in your life
  • And…it’s not as hard as you think

 


 

I’m using Rafflecopter to help with the giveaway, which is great because it gives you multiple entries for commenting, posting on Facebook, sharing on Twitter, etc. Click below to enter:


(If you’re reading this through email or RSS and don’t see the giveaway widget, click here.)
 


 
The winner(s) will be randomly selected next Friday and the books will be sent out, free of charge, shortly thereafter.

In the future I’ll be giving away more books and resources, sometimes multiple items per giveaway! So subscribe via feed reader or email to ensure you never miss your chance to win.

(Since I’m covering the shipping costs, only residents within the continental United States are eligible to win.)