To seriously engage in evangelization we have to be provocative. We have to get people to ask why we’re not like everyone else, and then:
“Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.”1 Peter 3:15
Three simple — but not easy — ways to get people to ask why you live differently are to cut out:
- cursing (“cussing”) and swearing
This isn’t just a list of things not to do. It takes a proactive effort to live this way today, and doing so is in itself provocative in a good way.
When you don’t curse or swear, people notice. They start to see that you are all in about being a disciple of Christ. This may draw their attention and lead them to ask questions about why you live this way. Then you can tell them about Jesus.
If there is a conversation where there is gossip, either don’t participate or mention something to honor the person they’re gossiping about, which dissipates the overall gossiping of that person. It also helps others gain trust in you, because they will know you won’t gossip about them either. When they confide in you in this way, it is then much easier to tell them about Jesus.
Not complaining is hard, but it is possible. Complaining is a violence against hope. It’s saying God cannot pull you out of whatever it is you’re complaining about. But:
“We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”Romans 8:28
If you don’t complain, it’s going to be refreshing for the people around you. If you are a small refuge of faith, hope, and light, this will attract people. And they may ask you how you manage to not complain. Then you can tell them about Jesus.
To live as a disciple of Christ means to live differently. These three provocative but gentle ways to be different, Fr. Mark-Mary has found, are incredibly effective ways to evangelize.
Meet Fr. Mark-Mary
Father Mark-Mary was ordained as a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal (CFR) in 2018 and lives at a friary in the Bronx.
The mission of the CFRs is to wholeheartedly embrace Jesus through fidelity to the Church and her Sacraments. Paired with their commitment to prayer, contemplation, and study of Sacred Scripture, the CFRs serve those around them, especially the poor, in the footsteps of Christ.
Discover beautiful music from the CFRs and Fr. Mark-Mary’s book Habits for Holiness: Small Steps for Spiritual Progress, both available from Ascension.