The Cardinal-Archbishop of Boston issued a pastoral letter to the Archdiocese on sharing the good news of Jesus Christ: salvation is offered to all. While some of the the pastoral letter, “A New Pentecost: Inviting All to Follow Jesus” is oriented toward the situation of his local church, Seán Patrick Cardinal O’Malley says a number of things that all of us ought to study and incorporate in our situation since by Baptism we are all called to be missionaries of the Gospel. The section of the pastoral given below speaks to our need to work on our own conversion first….
You can read the entire pastoral letter here: A New Pentecost, Cardinal O’Malley.pdf
We can only
share what we have received. In preparing to evangelize, we are called to
conversion, which means continually to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ
individually and as a Church. The Good News nurtures us, makes us grow,
and renews us in holiness as God’s people.
Conversion is ongoing in the hearts of believers and it consists in knowing not just about Jesus, but in actually knowing Jesus. It comes about through the power of the Holy Spirit who gives us the grace to invite Jesus into our lives, to put on the mind of Christ by rejecting sin, and to accept the call to be ever more faithful disciples of Christ in the Church. It is a fruit that comes from prayerful dialogue with Christ our Redeemer. Unless we undergo such a conversion, we have not truly accepted the Gospel.
We know that people experience conversion in many ways. Some experience a “sudden, shattering insight that brings rapid transformation. Some experience a gradual growth over many years. Others undergo conversion as they take part in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults — the usual way adults become members of the Church today. Many experience conversion through the ordinary relationships of family and friends. Others have experienced it through the formation received from Catholic schools and religious education programs. Still others have experienced ongoing conversion in renewals, ecumenical encounters, retreats, parish missions, or through some of the great spiritual movements that have blessed Church life today.”
Personal conversion for each of us will involve different steps depending on our relationship to Jesus and his Church. “For those who practice and live our Catholic faith, it is a call to ongoing growth and renewed conversion. For those who have accepted it only in name, it is a call to re-evangelization. For those who have stopped practicing our faith, it is a call to reconciliation. For children, it is a call to be formed into disciples through the family’s faith life and religious education. For other Christians, it is an invitation to know the fullness of our message. For those who have no faith, it is an invitation to know Christ Jesus and thus experience a change to new life with Christ and his Church.”
One college student who entered the Church this Easter gave a beautiful testimony of her own conversion. “I have grown to recognize God’s presence in all people and all things, and I consistently find myself joyfully surprised by the action of His grace in my life and in the larger world. God’s light has infused and informed my perspective so deeply that I cannot fathom a life without it, and through my entrance into the Catholic Church, I hope to live my life as one unbroken gaze upon the face of God, and respond to our universal call to holiness.” This young woman’s encounter with the Gospel left her with a different vision of what life is and a new paradigm for how to live it. Her faith, well-nurtured, lively and deep, will make her a great witness to the truth of the Gospel. By her testimony she is already a great evangelizer!