“But the fruit of the Sprit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
Faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Gal.5:22-23
As we begin a new year with a focus on Evangelization, I offer some thoughts that came to me while I was praying in the sanctuary of our church today.
I was noticing the candle that remains lit above the tabernacle. It is always lit, always reminding us that Christ is truly present – right there – in the consecrated hosts held within. I was reflecting on how much we should be like that continuously – burning – candle always giving off the light of Christ’s love and patience, kindness, gentleness, peace and joy.
“Easier said than done,” you might be thinking, because we go through life having to face situations that are not always lovely, peaceful, joyful or kind. But that is perhaps when evangelization is most powerful. Whatever we are going through, Christ gives us reason – and equipping -- to still live by these words Paul used in describing “the fruit of the Spirit.”
We are not loving, peaceful or joyful because our circumstances and relationships are such. We are loving, peaceful and joyful because of who Christ is. And the more we acknowledge Christ’s authority, power, and pure love ----- the more we dwell on that, rejoice in that, and live our lives very present to Christ’s presence within us, the more effective we will be in our call to evangelization. When people can see the “fruit of the Spirit” truly present in us, especially in times of adversity, they are awakened and renewed to the love Christ is asking us to show them.
We will still feel sorrow at times. We will still “weep with those who weep” and experience our own cause for weeping. But an interior peace that passes understanding is possible and attainable. Christ still ‘reigns in our hearts’ and for that we always have reason to rejoice!
So, like the faithful who have gone before us as shining examples of evangelization, let others see in us that we, too:
Rejoice always, giving thanks in all circumstances. (1 Thess. 5:16, 18)
Rejoice as we forbear trials with kindness. (Phil. 4:4-5)
Rejoice even as we are sorrowful. (2 Cor. 6:10)
When we rejoice, it puts our focus on what God is doing more than the ever-present doubts and fears of this world. Rejoicing in Our Lord may, in fact, be one of our most effective means of evangelization. And it may also be an effective way to keep our hearts aflame with Christ’s presence, like the candle above the tabernacle that I was reflecting upon today.
Blessing in Christ,
Cricket Aull, OFS