I often daydream of being an evangelist just like Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Actually, sometimes, I kind of want to be Archbishop Sheen. He captured the attention of Catholics and non-Catholics alike, evangelizing with perspicuity and brilliance.
As a lover of Catholicism and communication, Archbishop Sheen is my gold standard for sharing the Good News. When I think about the Heavenly Father greeting the newest saints entering heaven with the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant," I imagine him saying instead to Archbishop Sheen, "Well said, good and faithful servant!"
How cool would that be, if that could be me?
But it isn’t. I don’t spend my days luminously articulating the faith over the TV waves or through handfuls of masterfully written books (though both activities sound divine).
Instead, God has called me — right here, right now — to evangelize where the world isn’t watching, where the world can’t see.
He has called me to evangelize, first and foremost, in my domestic church.
Recently, my husband and I welcomed our baby boy into the world. Without question, marriage and motherhood are the hardest and most rewarding work I have ever done. Speaking, writing and working for apostolates — I love that stuff.
But it’s in building up the domestic church that I have come to realize that I have — that everyone has — the greatest power to change the world.
In well-known lines from Evangelii Nuntiandi, Pope Paul VI writes, "Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize" (14).
It is easy to overlook the fact that the same can be said of the domestic church. We — the family — exist in order to evangelize. Evangelization is part of our deepest identity.
The home is truly the epicenter of the New Evangelization. When so many families today are broken and faithless, we as Catholic evangelists have the opportunity to build whole, joyful, faithful families.
In Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World), Pope St. John Paul II offers a powerful directive: "Each family finds within itself a summons that cannot be ignored and that specifies both its dignity and its responsibility: Family, become what you are" (17).
Family, become what you are — a unit of hope that practices authentic love, service, patience, self-sacrifice and faith.
This is evangelization, and don’t sell yourself short, because this evangelization is anything but easy.
There are two activities you can do right now to help you build up your domestic church: intentional loving and intentional discipling.
Every day, focus on a way you can better intentionally love your spouse and disciple your kids. Create a "love list," a list of things that answer the question, "It makes me feel loved when you …" Strive to do at least one thing on your spouse’s love list every day.
Then, pray with your kids each day — and not just Hail Marys and Our Fathers.
Do pray those, but also pray spontaneously with your children.
Spontaneous, from-the-heart prayer teaches your children how to talk to God as a Father and as a friend.
God is love, and when you better love your spouse and kids, you become more like God and a better home evangelist.
These simple strategies help address the pivotal question: "How am I helping my family become what God made us to be?"
The answer to that summons is the measure of a truly heroic evangelist. Remember, home life and family evangelization is not publicized and may not always be glamorous, but it’s the place where saints are made.
Katie Warner writes from
California. Her website is CatholicKatie.com.