The secret to a true and efficacious evangelization is in the search for holiness. The Church and the world need credible witnesses of love for God and a life of holiness. It is in the contemplation of Christ's face that we are filled with an irrepressible passion to preach Him and give Him to others and recognize Him in the face of the poor and suffering. Only if one is led by the Spirit, can he truly experience the depth of Christ's love, the source of the fruitfulness of the mission and testimony that should fill the Church and the world with the aroma of Christ (cf. 2 Cor 2:14-15). Prayer, contemplation, and imitation of Christ are the soul of every apostolic activity, which lead the apostle – as I wrote in the Encyclical Deus caritas est – to drink “from the original source, which is Jesus Christ, from whose pierced heart flows the love of God” (no. 7). This is the timeless methodology of missionary activity. Every Christian is called to be a credible witness to this love of God, to reveal the attractiveness of the Gospel, to make the Church known and loved, and to contribute to the expansion of God's Kingdom. The real missionary is the saint and the world needs saintly missionaries.
The task of announcing Christ to all peoples is certainly an immense one, one that surpasses human strengths. However, we know that those who evangelize are Christ and His Spirit. We are only their collaborators, aware of the fact that we will only be effective preachers to the degree in which we learn to bend our knees in prayer and lift our hands towards heaven: in a word, if we allows ourselves to be permeated by God's love “poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Rm 5:5).
May 6, 2009