Friday, November 29, 2013
One for you and one to evangelise with
I haven't finished reading Evangelii gaudium, I must admit, I found the Pope Emeritus easier to read, some bits of the Exhortation I find incomprehensible, the stuff on 'not spheres' 'but polyhedrons' seems as arcane as Pythagoras, what does it mean? Then other bits and pieces seem to be a rehash of twentieth century speculative theology, like the bit about atheist salvation. I am sure at the end there will be a bit on Mary the Evangelist, maybe I am being Promethean.
Here, at 7pm on 7th December, next Saturday, we are having our annual -we did it last year- procession in honour of the Immaculate Conception, we are going from the Church to the Clocktower in the centre of town, there we are going to say Pope Francis' prayer for the Consecration of the World.
Last year we had just under a hundred people, this year I am sure Our Lady will increase the numbers. What was so noticeable last year was the degree of enthusiasm with which the procession was met, Chinese and Pakistani waiters left their restaurants just to watch the procession pass, a few Spanish students joined the procession. Last year we handed out those cheap plastic Rosaries along with how say the Rosary cards, this year it is Miraculous Medals and a thing the Copts Orthodox here in Brighton do, so 'people will remember the sweetness of Christ' we are going to hand out sweets. Evangelisation should be about 'sweetness', I hate those sour 'marches for Jesus'.
We got hold of a thousand Miraculous Medals, I gave out about 300 hundred at Mass last week, on the basis of 'one for you and one to evangelise with' I could have given out lots more, people wanted them, not just for themselves but yes, to evangelise with.
The Church's sacramentals are a good thing to be generous with, I like to encourage people take palms and blessed candles home for the sick or lapsed, every year I keep meaning to get hundreds of little plastic bottles for Paschal Water for the same purpose and I have looked at getting quantities of bambini for distribution at Christmas, I haven't yet found a cheap supply. Books and pamphlets are useful but 'things' I suspect are a more useful way for people to begin a conversation about faith or prayer and their experience of the mercy of Jesus.
In the great days of Catholic evangelism the 'model' was invariably a Marian, one of simply showing Jesus, in Gospels it happens in the Visitation, with the Shepherds, with the Wise Men. The great shrines of Lourdes and Fatima are also great centres of evangelisation, she introduces people to the mystery of Christ.
Having just peeked at the end of E.G. the Pope doesn't exactly say that, but it works.
Mary is always lavish in her giving!
Posted by Fr Ray Blake