In evangelism, there are no “I told you so’s”, no bragging rights for being correct. That’s because everything we do, we do in order to glorify Jesus, to set the world on fire, and to bring the gospel at all costs to the world.
I wrote a bit ago about the Ursuline nun who entered into the Italian version of “The Voice. Well, Sr. Cristina Scuccia won Italy’s television show and I could not be more happy. In her months long journey she has endured a media war with her as the central figure, and a lot of Catholic voices curious and sometimes beggared by her choice to enter into the competition. Should we be so surprised that she entered, endured, and eventually won though?
Why should we be? Why is this so rare? Catholics being brave to use the talents given to them? We know in America of several Catholic politicians, athletes, and entertainers who are Catholic in every way but do not allow it to take a form or presence in their public life. Perhaps it is our culture but that’s a lame excuse Pope Francis recently said that half-hearted Catholics really aren’t Catholics at all. I couldn’t agree more. If I wear a cowboy hat, it does not make me a country singer. If I wear a jetpack, it doesn’t make me the Rocketeer. And just cause my dog tags say I’m Catholic, does not make me a Catholic.
Catholicity, the very word, means universality. It of course refers to the universality of the Church, but that same idea applies to our lives. A religion is not a religion if you wear it in the Church and leave it on the coat hanger for the next time you return. A religion is a religion when you wear it always, putting on the full armor of God, sharing that faith, seeking that faith. Sometimes that means living a controversial lifestyle, saying things that shock people, making random acts of kindness, and encouraging others to do the same.
That is the heart of an evangelist. Sr. Cristina is a perfect example of the attractiveness of the Gospel. We don’t all have to enter into a television competition, but it means that we ought to carry on our lives in the world and be Christians first. We have to stop acting like we are at a funeral and starting showing the Joy of the Gospel.
One day we have to realize that this is also evangelization, that Sr. Scuccia did not pierce her nose, dress like Katty Perry, and drop the F-word in her new single. She still rocks the Ursuline habit, that gorgeous crucifix from her neck, and is going back to her convent to pray and learn.
For more on the Church in the world, see Gaudium et Spes Chapters 3 and 4.
Since they have an active role to play in the whole life of the Church, laymen are not only bound to penetrate the world with a Christian spirit, but are also called to be witnesses to Christ in all things in the midst of human society. GS 43