From Chapter 4 of The Joy of the Gospel
To evangelize is to make the kingdom of God present in our lives.
To believe that the Holy Spirit is at work in everyone means realizing that he seeks to penetrate every human situation and all social bonds: “The Holy Spirit can be said to possess an infinite creativity, proper to the divine mind, which knows how to loosen the knots of human affairs, even the most complex and inscrutable.”
Early on in my seminary career in Houston I had to travel from St. Mary’s Seminary to the University of St. Thomas to take my 30 hours of philosophy. Often my classmates and I would run into some of the Dominican Sisters who were also working on their theology and education classes. One day one of these sisters asked me, “how are you?” and I answered candidly: “I am a bit lonely these days.” Her reply was immediate and on the spot: “Why are you lonely? You don’t have to be lonely, we have God! He is always with us.”
I already had a masters in theology by this point, so I knew in my head the theological truth of her statement. But it took a human encounter with someone else in God’s kingdom to remind me that, indeed, God is always present to me. Sister did her part to “evangelize me” that day.
As we work in witness for Christ, do we believe that his spirit is always with us, that he communicates his loving mercy to us constantly? And we are open to being ministers of reconciliation, to invite others to trust in God’s constant, loving presence? My situation that day with Sister was not terribly complex, yet she reminded me of the truth of what Pope Francis says: that the Spirit knows how to loosen the knots of human affairs. Her words moved me along in my journey with God. What story of faith has God given you to share? Pope Francis invites us to be a people who go forth and engage others with our story. I have shared part of my story, can you do the same for others?
– Fr. Tim Nolt, YCP Austin Chaplain