companions on the journey

Evangelizing Our Companions on the Lenten Journey

If you’re of a certain age, you probably had to read some of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in high school or college. (Don’t worry; there won’t be a quiz.) Chaucer’s work follows a very colorful cast of characters on a pilgrimage.

As we make our spiritual pilgrimage, we have our own host of colorful characters. The thing is, we often don’t get to choose who will journey with us. We don’t pick our co-workers or most of our family members. And while our pilgrimage often makes perfect sense to us, it may not seem so obvious to those around us.

Every Catholic has a duty to evangelize. This can be scary: “What, me, preach? I’m not a theologian or a priest. I don’t know what to say.” Well, part of that duty to evangelize means that we have to know our own Faith.

But evangelization doesn’t have to be scary. Most of the time, it’s just sharing our Faith journey with others. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has some great ideas on how we can do this. For instance, maybe one of your co-workers doesn’t understand the whole “no meat on Fridays” thing:

You love pepperoni pizza. You eat it all the time. Suddenly, you can’t have it on Fridays?! What could possibly be going on? It must be that Catholic thing, again. Absolutely! On Fridays during Lent, we particularly remember the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. In memory of this great sacrifice, we continue the tradition of penance and sacrifice – abstaining from meat on Fridays is an outward manifestation of an interior reality: the conversion of our hearts. As Pope John Paul II has said, “In fact, the external aspects of fasting, though important, do not convey the full measure of the practice. Joined to the practice should be a sincere desire for inner purification, readiness to obey the divine will and thoughtful solidarity with our brothers and sisters, especially the very poor.” Christ himself fasted and prayed in the desert. Through fasting and praying, we unite ourselves with the sacrifice of Christ and offer him reparation for our sins and failings. It’s a little thing to give him in the face of his ultimate sacrifice, but what a grace that our God accepts and loves little gifts!

You can read more ideas for evangelization from the USCCB here.