Go! Proclaim to the People of St Peter's

I had the incredible opportunity to attend a mission school in Rome for 9 months.  A regular part of the program was Street Evangelisation in which we would share the gospel to the people in Peter’s Square.

I spent 3 months doing this week in and week out when I eventually reached breaking point and just lost all motivation to evangelise.  I said, “I don’t feel like doing it, it’s pointless and I can’t be bothered.”  I stealthily avoided the task by volunteering to do jobs like hold the cross, play guitar and sing while praying – not that these jobs were not important for the cause but my motivation was negative – it was for the purpose to not do what I was meant to be doing: evangelise.

When I reflected upon it, for those 3 months I had been speaking to people out of dutiful submission not out of desire.  So eventually evangelisation became a weekly chore and a struggle.  I seemed to speak to people about every topic except Jesus and felt like a clashing symbol.  Yet I knew as Catholics we are called to share the gospel, so should this not be a task joyfully undertaken?  And why am I called to the share the gospel anyway?  So I said to God, “If this is so important, show me why!”

One afternoon, I once again volunteered myself to a position to avoid street talk.  When I watched everyone on St Peter’s Square, especially the interaction during evangelisation, I saw a beautiful portrait of human communion and happiness.  Everyone was smiling, everyone was at peace with each other and there was a sense that nothing could destroy the joy among them.  

My immediate thought was, “This is exactly what heaven will be like.” And an instant later, I realised why I needed to evangelise – because there are souls out there who I will never see in heaven and that’s devastating!  As I looked at the people we were outreaching to, even though I did not know them personally, I knew that I loved them, that they were my brothers and sisters.  I also experienced a great sadness in the possibility that I may not see them in heaven.  When I found the answer to the question, I received the desire to evangelise. I also challenged myself, “When I encountered Christ, he changed my life for the better.  If this is the best encounter I have ever had, who am I to hold this back from others?”  

Since then, the more I have gone out onto the street to evangelise the more joy I have received.  There is nothing more joyful than seeing a person encounter Christ.  And even if they are not open to the gospel, I know that even a small witness plants seeds.  Many times I do not see any fruit but that does not discourage me.  I know that the Holy Spirit is working all the time through all things.  I evangelise I love my neighbour.  The most loving thing I can do is introduce people to Jesus Christ.  

So now when I go out to evangelise I do not do it just out of duty, I do it out of Love.

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