Evangelizing: Mary, Me, and My Family
Before Mary’s month of May ends, I thought I’d better put up at least one post devoted to her. Let’s focus on Mary as an evangelizer, someone who proclaimed the Gospel, the good news of the Savior. Mary was actually the first one evangelized. She was the first to hear the news and from the lips of an angel no less. Then Mary became the first evangelizer. She hurried to her cousin Elizabeth and sang the Magnificat about God’s fulfilling his promise. After Pentecost undoubtedly Mary shared stories about her son with the early Christians. She was instrumental in bringing the faith to the Americas. Columbus prayed before an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe before beginning his voyage and took a replica of the image with him. Then Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego in Mexico City, resulting in eight million Aztecs coming to know Jesus. For good reason Mary’s latest title is Star of Evangelization, an appropriate title in this time when popes are calling for a new evangelization.
A star is someone who is great, who shines at something, like Beyonce and George Clooney. Mary is a star because she was great at bringing Jesus to others. In fact, she brought the Word into the world. A star in the sky shines brightly in the darkness. Mary, the morning star, brings Jesus, the light of the world, into the darkness of sin, sadness, and lack of faith and hope. Stars are also nature’s GPS. They guide travelers, especially sailors. One famous star guided the wise men to Jesus. Mary too leads us to Jesus. She is our model for evangelizing.
We can pray to the Star of Evangelization for help as we undertake our responsibility of sharing the good news with others. Before we can evangelize, we must be evangelized, must deepen our relationship with Jesus. Here are ten ways to evangelize ourselves and our families:
- Talk about God: what was learned in religion class, the Sunday homily.
- Make prayer a usual part of your life. Set up a prayer corner. Bless your children. Hold a weekly family prayer time.
- Send religious Christmas cards. Display a nativity set.
- Celebrate baptismal days and feast days of the saints especially those of patron saints.
- Read the lives of the saints and other religious books. Watch religious movies and listen to Catholic radio stations.
- Play and sing Christian songs.
- Display Christian symbols in your house: crucifixes, statues of Mary and other saints, and the Bible.
- Involve the whole family in the liturgy and parish activities.
- Participate in devotions: the rosary, Benediction, ethnic religious practices.
- Engage in Jesus-like activities as a family: serve in a soup kitchen.
The icon here is the artwork of Brother Claude Lane, OSB, in honor of Mary, Star of Evangelization. In it Mary wears the star-spangled, turquoise-green mantle of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In iconography this is the color of the Holy Spirit, the principle agent of evangelization. Rose is the color of the God the Father. Jesus is present in her womb. The almond shape is a symbol of hope and represents the opening of the visible world to the heart of the invisible. The hill has threefold symbolism. It represents the visitation because Mary “rose and went into the hill country.” It also stands for the Hill of Tepayac, site of the Guadalupe appearances, and Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem.
What is your parish doing to evangelize? What are you doing?
Well, during Bible study we read Ezra 7:10. Learn, do, teach. So simple.
I must compliment you on your teaching, I’ve learned a lot reading your blog.
Now if I can get to the doing.
Thanks for your affirmation. It motivates me to keep going with these weekly posts.
You prompted me look up Ezra 7:10! (“For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to do it, and to teach the statutes and ordinances in Israel.”)
Your comment reminded me of a priest who said, “If I don’t practice what I preach, at least it’s better than preaching what I practice.”
Sadly, I do not believe either my parish or I are doing enough, all we can do.
I do begin and end each day with prayer, observe several devotional practices, display a crucifix in the house, like Mark, I attend Bible study, and try, try, try to get other members of my family to attend Mass regularly with me. I also reach out to those who are alone and want to talk about God. This has helped both me and them because God is my favorite topic of conversation. As a theology major at the Master’s level, I’m always reading religious books, and I usually loved the books I have to read as well as the ones I choose myself. I’m also a Benedictine Oblate, and it’s great when we meet for conversation.
Sounds like you are doing more that most Catholics, Gabrielle. Thank you! Happy Pentecost to you too.