A phrase I hear too often is "I don't feel comfortable evangelizing."
This expresses a significant challenge in the world today: excessive desire for comfort and convenience. Christianity often is not comfortable. A relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church can be difficult. Being Christian means being willing to practice fasting and mortification, and proclaiming the news of salvation through words and actions — whether we feel like it or not. The cross is the most perfect sign of the Christian life because it shows us how we will rise. There is no running from the cross.
But there are ways for Catholics to grow as evangelists and missionary disciples.
First, reflect on what baptism calls you to do and be.
Second, establish a daily prayer routine. This takes many different forms depending on your state in life. A person should be able to give the Lord at least 20 minutes a day for prayer, a family Rosary, meditation on the Scriptures, or daily Mass. Only when we have been spiritually fed can our work for the kingdom bear fruit.
Third, consider the people you find yourself with daily — at work, school or home. Seize these opportunities to comfort another through kind words, radical hospitality and assurance of your prayers.
Finally, constantly educate yourself in the faith through good Catholic books and media. The radio show Catholic Answers Live is to be a great way to learn the answers to common questions about our faith.
Rooting ourselves in the four pillars of our calling, our prayer life, our daily opportunities and our ongoing Catholic education empowers us to be effective witnesses of Jesus Christ. The deep boldness, conviction and joy we receive from the Holy Spirit through these pillars will help us set world on fire with faith, one person at a time. As Jesus taught us in the parable of the talents, we're not to hide our gifts or the goodness that is within us. We're called to share them in humble confidence and remember that we can always be better and more holy. When we grow in relationship with the Lord, and know what our mission is in this life, then we can change the world and lead souls to Christ who are yearning for Him.
Horn is evangelization coordinator for the Archdiocese of St. Louis and attended the Convocation of Catholic Leaders: Living the Joy of the Gospel in America in July.