Msgr Charles Pope recently offered a wonderful post on the New Evangelization. It included this insightful mini-examen regarding our relationship with Jesus:
Critical though it is, all the apologetics in the world may founder if we cannot authentically and authoritatively answer the question “How do I know it’s true?” by saying, authentically:
“Look at me. ” In other words to be able to say, “This word, this teaching, is true, because in the laboratory of my own life, I have tested it, and found it to be true, and here’s how. And Jesus is real, because I have met him and here’s when, and here is how. And here is how I’m experiencing him today in my life. Yes, when I pray, I am heard. The Lord speaks in the depths of my heart, sometimes in wordless contemplation, at other times vividly through his proclaimed word, and in my mind, and in the experiences and interactions of my day. I see him, I know him, and I experience his presence, and this is changing my life.”
- Can you authentically speak like this?
- Have you met the Lord,?
- How, when?
- Do you know him?
- And how is your relationship with him changing your life?
- What has your walk with him done?
- Have you encountered him in his word, and in the sacraments celebrated?
- How, when, and what has this liturgical experience of the Lord done for you?
- How is it changing you?
These are essential questions and truths to ponder to be able to answer briefly and articulately if we are going to personally evangelize others today.
Ask the Holy Spirit to anoint you to know the answers to these sorts of questions, and to be able to access the memories of how the Lord is living, working and relating with you in your life. Ask God the Holy Spirit to help you form a testimony, so as to become a first-hand witness to the power of the Lord in your life!
It would be a good exercise for us to answer the questions he poses. If we struggle to provide answers to these questions, perhaps we are assuming more of a relationship with Jesus than we really have with Him. If the answers we provide are weak, perhaps we need to strengthen our efforts to seek the Lord and implore His grace. If our personal attempts to evangelize have been not been fruitful, it could be because the foundation of our efforts – our personal relationship with Jesus – needs to be fortified.
In a follow-up post, Msgr Pope shares his personal testimony.