In order to become good evangelizers moulded according to Jesus’ s heart, it is essential that we become an authentic, coherent and persuasive presence amid the others; a presence able to stir up questions and transfer values; a presence able to “show” the Truth, which is Jesus. As we already told, we can communicate Jesus more in actual fact and with the strength of a suitable life behaviour (which may show that Jesus Himself is living in the witness) than making “demo” attempts. “Exemplar lives” (those of the Saints, God’s friends) have always had a huge educational value, which cannot be replaced by any told doctrine. A lived life, more than words, can express what is inexpressible. “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15) and “You are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24,48) agree. Personal testimony is the key to an effective evangelization: a direct testimony, when we communicate in simplicity and gratefulness what God did for us (and not what we did for Him!) and an indirect testimony, made up with faithfulness to taken engagements, coherence in work, correctness in language, transparence…even when nobody can see us…, even when just “little things” are the subject of the question (…all in all, what do you think that that may be?). Really, we are never allowed to waste Grace, which we shall not be able to give to people, in our turn, afterwards.
Testimony has got a great value for us. Thus we shall let this charism grow in us. Testimony shall be joyful and made because of love. Joy does not consist in the fact that we have no problem (personally I do not know anybody who has none) but in facing them with the Spirit’s strength. Once the Lord gave us this word during our personal prayer: “Your brothers who hate you and exclude you because of my name, have said: Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy” (Isaiah 66:5). We cannot be announcers of the Gospel if we are stuck to a still sadness, if we do not open ourselves to hope.
Testimony shall be focused on Christ. It shall be short, essential, without human exaggerations the Lord does not need. It shall be supported by the other evangelizers’ prayer. It shall be made showing our limits as well, sometimes even our sins, so that our brother may really hope. So he or she will think: “If the Lord has done that for him and for her, who serve Him like that now, He will do the same for me”. Of course whenever our testimony may become very intimate in some points or involve other protagonists of our story, we shall ask the Spirit for a bit of wisdom and discernment in order to understand if it is right to go on talking about those details and how far we may arrive. And that is for our good and the others’.
We shall not be afraid to show our contradictions that still remain in us, though being continuously offered to the Lord.
Neither we shall be afraid of the judgement of those who say that our way of announcing the Gospel is “exaggerated”, since “we put God everywhere”, since our manners are blatant… But Jesus did not say: “Go and whisper the Gospel”, rather: “Proclaim it upon the housetops…”. Then He called us the salt of the earth, the light of the world, the leaven in the dough…all strong things which give flavour, light and make grow. Jesus Himself was exaggerated and the same were all the great Saints and all those who took Him in earnest.
On the contrary, it is when the others will not say to us that we are exaggerating that we have to be worried. The world and so many dear people around us as well for the most want to listen to only what suit them best. And, in our turn, every day we are tempted to play roles which do not fuss others, nor can we be fussed playing them That is a “standard” which allows us not to be noticed, as we were a tile in the floor, perfectly inserted and well-ranged among all the other ones. Though the Lord has exhorted us to be “hindering stones” so that the others, even if “fussed” on their way on, may question themselves and us as well, thus having the opportunity to change their lives.
And it is not enough for us to be “exaggerated”, either. According to an effective present expression, we are called “to give the show of holiness to the world”, not being alone but like a Community (a portion of Church), where we are able to embody this wonderful and unique vocation: a vocation to holiness, that is to the full Communion with the One Who is Holy, and to mission.
We are used to a sort of sin which is made more and more as a show: a sin which is shown, exalted and proposed as life style. Acting together (and not “in communion”) men can transform the worst trends of human soul into habits, custom, fashion … On the contrary our life style shall be an unconditioned praise to God, a sincere and passionate search of good, a missionary impulse towards all men and women on the earth. Just praying and evangelizing, a united and solid Community becomes “a show” to the world’s eyes. So the world itself is compelled to stop and revise.
A lay people Community, living communion inside and service to the world in the same way, becomes an extraordinary tool to announce again and to revive the wait of Jesus, thus making it a more explicit and conscious action, allowing mankind of our times to meet God in the world and to decide to follow Him.
A.Alberta Avòli and Roberto Ricci –“They lived together”
“Guidelines Collection”, No. 5, The Risen Jesus Community Editions- Pages 80-82