November Meeting Summary: Meg Kilmer and New Evangelization
In the early years of the church, an evangelist was usually a traveling priest who proclaimed the Gospel to all he could find, preaching and converting his way across the country. Over the course of thousands of years, the “seeds” of the faith have been sown across the globe, however, it has not been fully internalized or heeded by all. It is for this reason that church has declared the idea of New Evangelization, the “re-proposing” of the Gospel to lapsed Catholics and non-believers alike. For our November meeting, SMYPP members had the pleasure of hearing from Meg Kilmer, a Catholic speaker and blogger, on the concept of New Evangelization and how we can utilize it in our daily lives.
Today, evangelization is a requirement of both religious and laypeople alike. The Pope has said that it is our supreme duty to “proclaim Christ,” yet how we carry out this calling is different for everyone. For instance, for the past 6 months, Meg has become a self-proclaimed “nomad,” traveling from state to state to speak with different groups on a variety of Catholic topics. While New Evangelization can take on a variety of forms, regardless of the path you take, it’s something that you should seriously consider. That is why, according to Meg, the first step is to re-evangelize yourself through fasting, prayer, confession, and attending mass. “The stakes have to be internal,” Meg explained. “You need to know Christ, or else, why bother?” In accordance with Pope Benedict XVI’s declaration of a “Year of Faith,” Catholics should also try to deepen their understanding of the catechism and the Bible. “We are so blessed to have scripture as a way to encounter Christ,” said Meg.
After this period of learning and self-reflection, you are then ready for “step 2”: evangelizing! One way that we can accomplish this is through the use of social media. This can be anything from tweeting a summary of the homily every Sunday (#todaysmass) to sharing an article about a saint on Facebook. You can also start following other people and pages that have a religious leaning. “Facebook makes me a holier person, because all the people in my newsfeed are passionate about Christ,” said Meg. Keep in mind, though, that your social media presence doesn’t have to be overtly “all Jesus, all the time,” Meg explained. “If you’re the type of person that Christ shines through, your actions will show that.” While evangelizing online can be rewarding, be prepared to potentially lose friends and followers, and definitely be prepared for snarky remarks from “Trolls.” As for how to deal with this latter group of people, Meg reminded us that when Jesus was harassed by his enemies, he responded with silence. “People need love, not a good argument,” she said.
Perhaps the most difficult method of evangelization is actually talking with others face-to-face. There is no one, full-proof way to do this, for it greatly depends on both the person you are talking to and the situation that you are in. If the person is your boss or a complete stranger, it may not be appropriate to broach the subject. If it is someone close to you, use your knowledge of that person and the type of relationship you have with them to find the right tone and context for your conversation. Although the fear of losing a friendship is a strong deterrent, remember that being silent out of self-interest doesn’t help anyone. “You need to ask yourself, ‘What is best for this soul?” said Meg. “What is best for this relationship?” Most importantly, when you are engaged in these conversations, remember that your motivation shouldn’t be focused on “winning” or casting judgment upon another person. “It’s not about ‘I’m right, you’re wrong,”said Meg. “Your motivation should be love for the souls and people we encounter…I want everyone to know God because he matters so much to me.”
To view more photos from our November meeting, visit our Flickr page here.