Written by Sherry
Thursday, 22 October 2009 15:25
I love these anecdotes from Paulist Fr. Tom Holahan, Vice Rector of the Church of St. Susanna in Rome.
He wrote today about Rome as an "evangelization machine."
"Rome, in its way, is a 500-year-old evangelization machine. The buildings and art created as a response to the Protestant critique still call to people who are searching and create a mood of reflection. Just before I arrived in Rome, I met an industrial psychologist who was a Christian but now follows a Native American practice. He told me that, when he went to the Vatican, sunbeams from the dome of the church hit Michelangelo’s Pieta and brought tears to his eyes.
A week ago I heard from two nuns, dressed in habits, who were stopped on the street by a Japanese tourist. She wanted to know, could they possibly spare a few moments to explain Christianity to her? Yesterday a Syrian found his way to our English-speaking church (he knew no Italian) asking the same question. He told me he had no particular faith, but he had been impressed with the Syrian Orthodox while in his own country and now, before he had to leave the country because of a document problem, he wanted to find out more. He asked his questions urgently, “And, so, Jesus was the Son of God?” “He promised eternal life?”
Searching Americans approach the faith issue differently. One recently told me he “gave up on God” when the Supreme Being did not cure his depression and taking a little pill did. I said there may come a time when something can’t be fixed, then what?"
Amazing conversations! Exactly the sort of thing we train those who go through Making Disciples to invite and respond to appropriately.
Rome. What a place to just be available to listen to and respond to people's spiritual questions and concerns.
But everywhere is Rome if we have the eyes to see it. The holidays are coming. Advent and Christmas and the whole Catholics Come Home TV campaign in places like Colorado Springs, Omaha, Chicago, and Seattle. Life is an "evangelizing machine." Especially during the holidays.
I'll be blogging more on that later but lets start praying right now to be available for those "divine appointment", to respond when the Holy Spirit whispers to us "Ask the question."
Where is God in your life? What has your relationship with God been like to this point?
And then listen to understand what their journey with God has been so far.
Not to catechize at first. Or correct. Or fix. Or judge. First, to understand.
We've had people make significant spiritual progress just through telling the story of their relationship with God - probably for the first time in their life - to someone who cared enough to ask and then really listen to them.