“Preach always, and when necessary, use words.” – St. Francis (attributed)
Why do we hesitate to share our faith? After all, we have been sent out into the world to do just that. When this question is asked in surveys the answers usually fall into one of two general responses; either people do not think they are qualified or they do not think it right to impose their beliefs on others.
I think we overcomplicate the issue.
According to the book “Life of Francis d’Assisi,” Francis once invited a young monk to join him on a trip to town to preach. Honored to be given the invitation, the monk readily accepted. All day long he and Francis walked through the streets, byways, and alleys, and even into the suburbs. They rubbed shoulders with hundreds of people. At day’s end, the two headed back home. Not even once had Francis addressed a crowd, nor had he talked to anyone about the gospel. Greatly disappointed, his young companion said, “I thought we were going into town to preach.”
Francis responded, “My son, we have preached. We were preaching while we were walking. We were seen by many and our behavior was closely watched. It is of no use to walk anywhere to preach unless we preach everywhere as we walk!
Preach always, and when necessary, use words.
The Work of Apostles
This is the great commission given to us by Christ, spread the Good News to all nations, and Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Before He ascends to the Father, Jesus breathes on His Apostles and imparts to them the Holy Spirit. Then just before His Ascension He tells them to wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon them. Are they receiving the Spirit twice?
Not exactly, at Pentecost the Apostles receive the fullness of the Spirit. This empowers the Apostles with the gifts of the Holy Spirit to enable them to take up the work of the Church, reuniting mankind and bringing the human family back to God.
Through God’s grace, the Apostles are able to speak to all people regardless of their nationality or their native tongue. Whereas before, the apostles cowered in a darkened room for fear of arrest, now they are emboldened to openly preach the teachings of Christ.
We experience our own Pentecost in the Sacrament of Confirmation. At Baptism we receive the Holy Spirit, but our faith is immature and still needs to be formed. At Confirmation we receive the fullness of the Spirit. We are empowered with gifts for the work of mission in the world and the task of becoming mature in Christ.
Confirmation is the Sacrament of maturity and sending. We “leave the nursery” so to speak, and go into the world as adults, speaking of the friendship of God. The grace imparted to us in the sacrament, allows us to take up our part in reuniting the Father with His children.
This is the work of the Church, to which we are all called.
The Solemnity of Pentecost
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© Lawrence Klimecki
Deacon Lawrence draws on ancient Christian tradition to create new contemporary art that seeks to connect the physical and the spiritual.. For more information on original art, prints and commissions, Please visit www.DeaconLawrence.org
Lawrence Klimecki, MSA, is a deacon in the Diocese of Sacramento. He is a public speaker, writer, and artist, reflecting on the intersection of art and faith and the spiritual “hero’s journey” that is part of every person’s life. He can be reached at Lawrence@deaconlawrence.com.