Pitching perfect for Christ

September 26, 2014 at 10:52 am Leave a comment

by Jackie Pau, September 22. 2014

If I had a minute to convince others of the beauty of Christianity and give it a shot, what would I say to convey the joy of the Gospel of Christ’s salvific love?

This is the challenge of Pope Francis’s Evangelii Gaudium (EG). How can I give a powerful elevator pitch that strips down to the essentials why I am a missionary disciple and allures my audience with its irresistible and mystagogical beauty?

The Pope invites every Catholic to be so drunk with the joy of the Gospel that others cannot help but notice and respond positively for they want a piece of the action, too.

He challenges us to be that pithy message for it is only in living and breathing the message that we can speak it with any real conviction and its attendant boldness and wisdom.

How can we forget what Jesus instructed in Matthew 10:16: I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

This call to mission is for every believer of Christ, with no exception, and, it is not about proselytizing but by “attraction”, pointing to a horizon of beauty when we invite others to a delicious banquet that we ourselves are enjoying tremendously. (EG 14)

It is to sing in a missionary key that entices all, believers and non-believers alike, with its lovely melody. And it all begins with an encounter:

THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. EG 1

It is when we keep renewing this encounter with God’s love that it blossoms into an enriching friendship, and we are liberated from our narrowness and self-absorption.

We become fully human when we become more than human, when we let God bring us beyond ourselves in order to attain the fullest truth of our being. Here we find the source and inspiration of all our efforts at evangelization. For if we have received the love which restores meaning to our lives, how can we fail to share that love with others? EG 8

Just as we cultivate an enduring friendship with Jesus in renewed encounter, we are called to do the same with others for: Life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort. (EG 10)

We are called to go forth and preach the Gospel to all: to all places, on all occasions, without hesitation, reluctance or fear. EG 23

This call to being a missionary disciple is to be on call, all the time. I have to be open to encountering Christ, and others, all the time. Not only that, I must make an effort to encounter the poor and the sick, the peripheries of society, and not just park myself in my comfort zone, snug in self-absorbed isolation.

Pope Francis challenges all of us to touch the lives of others so closely that we take on the “smell of the sheep”. It may not be straightforward or immediately rewarding, but, he writes, an evangelizing community (which I belong to) is also supportive, standing by people at every step of the way, no matter how difficult or lengthy this may prove to be. (EG 24)

The only path to such persistence and endurance is if we ourselves are filled with joy and we know how to rejoice: to celebrate every small victory, every step forward in the work of evangelization. (EG 24)

Just as we must be joyful, we must be bold and creative in our communication. Our message has to concentrate on the essentials, on what is most beautiful, most grand, most appealing and at the same time most necessary. The message is simplified, while losing none of its depth and truth, and thus becomes all the more forceful and convincing. EG 35

When all is said and done, there can be no perfect elevator pitch unless we allow the Spirit of God to come alive within us and lead us. This can only come from intimate and direct connection with Jesus, assiduous study of Scripture and an unwavering pursuit of the truth.

I will make mistakes, I will never be fully ready, my words and actions may be misconstrued, the seedlings that I tend may be thin and sickly, choked by weeds, and I will get mucky and exhausted, but I signed up for life and I intend to do my best to be a missionary disciple after Christ’s own heart.

It is a daunting proposition, but with the support of my community of Companions, united as we are in our radical love for Christ, we can radiate this transformational joy of Christ’s redemptive love and pitch it to the ends of the earth. Hold that elevator, please.

NB I just had my Companions community retreat over the weekend where we reflected on EG, reconnected with Jesus, lived as community, played joyously like children and with the children (all four precious little munchkins), and renewed our covenantal promises to God and each other. We all had an unreservedly awesome time.

 

Retrieved from http://kahalableu.blogspot.sg/2014/09/pitching-perfect-for-christ.html

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Entry filed under: Inspiring Faith.

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