It’s all about Surrender
In last month’s article, we began reflecting on what evangelization is in a Catholic context. We saw that although it definitely has a horizontal aspect wherein we are called to go out of ourselves in order to bring the Good News to the other, this impulse always flows from the vertical component; an encounter with the Risen Lord.
So this encounter with God, this deepening of our relationship with Jesus Christ in the heart of his Church must be our first priority. It is only once we have had this encounter and have nurtured this relationship that our witness of life becomes believable and the words we use to proclaim the Word of Life, authentic.
How does one go about deepening their relationship with God? First, it is important to remind ourselves that we don’t ever really initiate anything with God. God is forever the instigator. Anything that we can offer God is always a response to the action of God in our lives. The Apostle John is referring to this mystery when he wrote, “ We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19). God is constantly pursuing us and although we have been bestowed the dignity of being able to freely respond to his love, before God, we are primarily receivers. This is an important distinction to make because often times, in everything we are “doing” to draw close to God, we can forget that God has already drawn close to us. In fact, God cannot be any closer to us!
In our baptism, God in his Trinitarian fullness came to dwell in our very souls. Just think about that for a moment. Analogously to the mystery we celebrate in the Holy Mass wherein the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord comes to reside in a piece of bread; in baptism the creator of heaven and earth comes to reside in our souls. Although this should fill us with wonder and awe, our human condition prevents us from seeing that which is only visible with the eyes of faith. In some ways, our whole journey with God can be summarized by pulling back this illusory veil of separation between God and ourselves to realize the primordial fact that we have never been alone.
Therefore, the first and arguably most important step to deepening our relationship with God is surrender. Surrender to the God who created you and holds you in existence by an overflow of his love. It is to realize that even though you didn’t know it, you have never been alone. It is to choose, consciously and intentionally to give your life to this God manifested in the person of Jesus Christ.
And, as absurd as it sounds that we would speak of whether or not to give that which already belongs to our creator, love demands freedom or it is not true love. In creating us with this freedom, God created the possibility of a relationship with us – an exchange of persons. In our discussion of how to become effective evangelists, this is where it begins. Let us praise the Lord, and give him thanks!