Baltimore, MD. Evangelization is most appropriately carried out within what we might call “authentic human encounters.” What is an “authentic human encounter”? At the least, it is a human encounter where the freedom and dignity of the other is respected. Why is this the case? Each person comes from a particular family and education, and a particular life experience and set of choices, and in order to reach maturity in Christ must go through a process of growth from where they currently are to where they are destined to be in Him. This process cannot be forced, but must be traversed in freedom. All this is demanded by the nature of the human person as a being created in the image and likeness of God. Evangelization, then, must respect these requirements, and an “authentic human encounter” always takes place when these requirements are respected, with all regard for truth. No one is to be coerced. No one is to be forced. No one is to be pressured. The demands made on the person must be the demands of the truth as it speaks to their conscience.
It is for this reason that the evangelist is content with “planting seeds” – that is, sowing the Word, speaking the truth, and letting it grow where it will, without judgment. In a recent outing in Baltimore, Maryland, SPSE teams met and conversed with a man doing “street percussion,” and built a warm relationship with him. The evangelists spoke to him for quite some time, learning that, among many other things, his father was preacher, with whom he was not very close, and that he grew up with strong relationship to the Lord.
The man was grateful for the rosary and miraculous medal they gave him, and listened with openness to their invitations to and reasons to consider the claims of the Catholic Church. And they all promised to pray for one another.
Quite often, our evangelists get complimented for the respectful attitude with which they carry on their apostolate of evangelization. This is a testament to the seriousness with which they take the demands of truth and human dignity. If they did not care for the truth, and the salvation of others, they would not go out on the streets to evangelize, or if they did, they would not be bold enough to proclaim the Gospel of salvation in Christ alone through his Church. If they did not care for human dignity, they would use methods that apply undue pressure. We strive to follow the example of Christ in his preaching to the crowds and encounters with individual sinners. Will you join us in this effort?