on evangelization: start with that guy in the mirror

mirrormanFr. Sergio isn’t the only PIME priest traveling these days.

Our North American Regional Superior, Fr. Ken, has taken trips to Mexico and St. Louis in the last month, and currently he is attending a conference in Italy. There, along with PIME priests from all over the world, Fr. Ken is participating in a Plenary Council.

From Fr. Ken today: (I just love the internet!)

Italia − Plenary Council Bulletin

Today we finished the first week of work of the PIME Plenary Council, 2009, at the PIME House in Ducenta, Italy, with the approval of a group of proposals in six different areas: Evangelization, Life in the Circumscriptions, Initial Formation, Continuing Formation and Health, Collaboration with the Laity in Evangelization and Means of Social Communication.

Fr. Ken goes on to describe the work of the council, which relates directly to the mission of our priests. This portion struck a chord with me:

The work of Evangelization…is a way of looking deeply into one’s personal ministry and that of the community according to the charism of PIME, and of the local Church.

Of course these comments are intended for the missionary priests and brothers of PIME, but there’s a “take-away” for each of us. “The work of evangelization is a way of looking deeply into one’s personal ministry and that of the community….”

Is that how we think of “evangelization?”

When I hear that word, I think of conversion, of telling people the Good News and expecting some kind of change in them. I don’t relate it with any kind of introspection on my part. And I don’t give a whole lot of thought to the “community” I’m evangelizing, either. I often figure that I’ve got the message they need to hear, and they should listen to me. I don’t often consider that perhaps I should consider my audience, to “meet them where they are.” (And I call myself a communications professional!)

Even dictionary.com has only this meager definition:
evangelize: 1. to preach the gospel to.
2. to convert to Christianity.

I think the PIME Missionaries have even more in mind than that.

If we want to preach the Gospel, we might consider getting better at living it. If we hope for conversion, we should start with ourselves.

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