SPSE National Director, Steve Dawson, recently joined Chicago’s Humboldt Park team for a lively session of Catholic street evangelization. He reports that the team was able to talk with many people. He found the following conversation especially memorable.
One man, in his early 20s, had grown up fatherless. When he encountered Steve, he was on his way to a funeral—of the man who had stepped in and been like a father to him, his role model.
He had been raised Catholic, he told Steve. But then he admitted that he had not been going to Mass and was not living right. Steve gave his personal testimony of a time when he had not lived right. He told the man of God’s love and mercy, but also emphasized his justice. Steve told him that the consequence of sin is death and everlasting punishment in Hell.
Giving the young man a moment to reflect upon this stark reality, Steve then asked him to consider for a moment on where he thought he would end up if he died right then. The man seriously and somberly told Steve that he knew he would go to Hell.
Steve joyfully explained to him he didn’t have to though! He related the fact that God loves him and is merciful and if he would just repent of his sins and turn back to God with all his heart and strength, he could be with God in heaven forever.
Steve then explained the process of going to confession and becoming right with God in His Church. The man left excited at the prospect of getting right with God and accepted literature on confession and coming back to the Church.
St. Paul Street Evangelization is non-confrontational, but that doesn’t mean that our evangelists shy away from speaking about the hard truths of the Faith such as the existence of an eternal Hell. Like it or not, the reality of Hell is an essential part of the Gospel message – Christ Himself spoke openly about hell. Sometimes the most loving and effective thing to tell a person is the truth, even if it can be a little bit uncomfortable.
Pray for this man that he turns his life to God and is brought to everlasting life.