In her widely-read work Forming Intentional Disciples, Sherry Weddell notes that Catholics, for the most part, have embraced a culture of “don’t ask, don’t tell” when it comes to any talk of the personal, interior journey. She does note, however, that the Church places much emphasis on sacramental formation and calling for active participation (in liturgies, the community, etc.).
Yet there is a problem here. In order for the New Evangelization – the proclamation of the Gospel message with new ardor, new expressions, and new methods to non-practicing baptized Catholics – to take root, in order for the Gospel to be proclaimed, disciples are necessary. Disciples are those who have given their lives (and who continue to give more and more) to Jesus Christ through the Church, so that He might be Lord of their lives. One has to have something in order to hand anything on. Discipleship is the means, ever ancient, ever new, for that education/handing on of faith. It is intensely personal and transformative.
As such, an essential part of the New Evangelization, is the personal testimony. Pope Paul VI reminded the Church many years ago that nowadays people are more inclined to listen to witnesses, than to teachers. Plenty of people talk about ideas, but few share personally about riveting experiences that awaken faith, hope, and love. Few people testify to the encounter with Christ and what that encounter means for the whole of one’s life.
In order to break this “cone of silence,” and to build up the faith of our community, why not step out and take the Testimony Challenge? Write a testimony describing an encounter with Christ, a decision for Christ, etc. that brought about a change in your life. Remember, that a testimony testifies to what God has done in your life. The challenge is this…in the com-box, using 200 words or less, write your testimony. Include first names only. Go!