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St. Gregory the Great, Evangelization and You:

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March 6, 2016 by eneubauer

Saint Gregory the Great by José de Ribera

Saint Gregory the Great by José de Ribera

I want to begin this post with a note of gratitude.  It is because of people like you that I am here today, writing this post and sharing my journey towards Christ and the Catholic Church.  I stand here today because faithful Christians saw in me what I couldn’t see in myself – a future.  I like many was a troubled teenager sailing rudderless and without anchor in choppy waters.  Along the way you shared Christ with me, walked with me and prayed for me.  Many of you didn’t see the fruit of your witness nevertheless Christ brought the increase – my salvation.  I am the direct beneficiary of your witness and the grace of Christ working in my life.  Again, for this I am grateful.

I say this because Christ has entrusted much of the work of His Church to regular people like you and me.  However, in my experience as a Christian, pastor, missionary, convert and Director of Pastoral Ministries for a large parish – I have observed that time has a way of distracting us from the purpose of the Christian life.

Recently I was praying through the Liturgy of the Hours and came upon a statement authored by St. Gregory the Great, pope.  This is what he said:

 “If the sacrament of the Lord’s passion is to work its effect in us, we must imitate what we receive and proclaim to mankind what we revere. The cry of the Lord finds a hiding place in us if our lips fail to speak of this, though our hearts believe in it. So that his cry may not lie concealed in us it remains for us all, each in his own measure, to make known to those around us the mystery of our new life in Christ.”

I believe this idea is central to Pope Francis’ pontificate, the imitation and proclamation of the faith we believe.  God has given us a living example in Pope Francis and through Francis He is trying to get our attention.  St. Gregory goes on to make the point that our failure to imitate and proclaim creates a hiding place for Christ.  Translation, by our inaction and silence we actively hide Christ from being reflected in our life and accessed by those actively looking for Him.

Remember what I said earlier, I would not be here today without the Holy Spirit working

Remember, because of you I am here today!

Remember, because of you I am here today!

through Christians, like you, who reflected the love of Christ in various ways.  When I asked what made you different you were honest.  You told me about Jesus Christ and how your faith in Him gave you the strength to live with purpose in the choppy waters of this world.  I had an epiphany.

Finally, St. Gregory the Great ends with a very important statement.

it remains for us alleach in his own measure, to make known to those around us the mystery of our new life in Christ.”

The measure St. Gregory refers to is simply the gifts, talents and abilities Christ gives to each of us enabling us imitate and proclaim the love of Jesus and the Gospel message.  I experienced this when you invited me into your house, over for dinner, to church and bible studies.  I experienced this when you prayed for me, listened to all my questions and then helped me find answers.  I have always said that people, who don’t know Christ or are estranged from the Church, are just waiting for the invitation.  I know I was.

Pope Francis stops to bless this child. Photo provided by the EPA

Pope Francis stops to bless this child. Photo provided by the EPA

The more you and I are open to sharing the hope that lies within the more you will see just how hungry folks are for the endless love and grace of Christ.

#YearofMercy

 

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