Christian Stewardship, The New Evangelization
There is a natural and integral relationship between Christian Stewardship and The New Evangelization.
In their pastoral letter, the U.S. Bishops describe The New Evangelization as a journey in which all Roman Catholic Christians are called to participate. This "journey or pilgrimage includes moments for a deepening of our faith, increasing our participation in the sacramental life of the Church and leads finally to our destination of being Christian witnesses." The bishops say this journey is something we must embark upon as a faith community. Our evangelization journey must have three core principles:
• Faith: Inviting Catholics to a deeper relationship with Christ, and a deeper understanding of and relationship with his Church and knowledge of the faith.
• Worship: Inspiring confidence in the Gospel and the teachings of the faith expressed in a vibrant community and sacramental life.
• Witness: Strengthening of our understanding of the Christian vocation lived through a public witness to Jesus Christ."
That third aspect — lived witness — is where I see a ready-made opportunity for CS.
CS has three attributes that are needed to demonstrate our life in Christ: CS has no boundaries, it is readily observable and it is intelligible to almost everyone.
This is how our Christian witness must be — not contained by the walls of the church, limited to the hours in which Mass is celebrated or practiced only during times when we feel particularly religious. It needs to break out into our lives and touch us wherever we are.
If CS is lived faithfully and with integrity, anyone who spends time with us is bound to notice our commitment. Others must be able to detect it. This allows them to see the power of Christ in our lives — and, when they see it, they will know it is real.
CS communicates our values in a way that everyone can understand. When someone sees how we treat others, observes our faithfulness to Holy Days of Obligation and observes our commitment to resource conservation, it becomes clear that the values we profess are manifested in our lives. This is a lived witness — our beliefs in action. This is the evangelization opportunity available through our practice of CS.
(Walt Sears, formerly of the Oakland diocese, is director of faith formation and evangelization at Blessed Sacrament Church, Seattle.)
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