How do you evangelize? asks one ChicagoNow blogger, a convert to Catholicism. Should you talk doctrine and cite Biblical passages? She thinks not. The best way, she says, (if I understand her) of delivering the Good News is to model it. I couldn't agree more.
I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. And I got a good Catholic education too. From Franciscan nuns, Christian brothers, Vincentian priests. What I once perfunctorily accepted, I have in time embraced in mind and heart. But both my mind and heart have always remained open and free.
I remember back in high school a Religion class called Apologetics. It was a crash course in dealing with Non-Catholics. They were out there in the world waiting to test our faith. And we had to be prepared. I was 16 and propaganda---I mean it in a good sense---had to scrub my thinking of the toxins of heresy in all its forms.
Yet I never was comfortable with the idea of aggressive proselytizing. After all I was born a Catholic in America. The Land of the free. And that meant freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of religion. So faith, I figured, was a deeply personal thing. That someone, like myself, is born and raised in. And not something lightly to be disowned and repudiated. I decided in those formative years that morals are , if not more important, at least, more reflective of a good person.
So, my fellow blogger, how do you evangelize? Well, if you ask me, I agree with Mother Angelica. Act in the mold of Jesus. He set the pattern of virtue. Words are fine, but conduct will convince.
And Ben Franklin would agree with the good sister too. In his advice for living a good life , Ben exhorted everyone to 'Imitate Jesus'. But he added 'Imitate Socrates'.
Want to evangelize? Love thy neighbor. Know thyself.