You have heard of the New Evangelization but do you know what the New Evangelization really is? I didn’t, until I read “The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid” by Greg Willits.
“The New Evangelization and You” (TNE) builds a framework from the ground up by which to understand the concept of the New Evangelization. Once this foundation is established the book offers plenty of practical, often simple ways to implement the New Evangelization into your faith and into your everyday life.
The book offers plenty of quotations from other sources that will enlighten you on the Church’s understanding of the New Evangelization. I came away from this book with a list of Church Documents and Papal Encyclicals that I am really excited to go read – something I don’t usually do. Greg makes the topic come alive and presents it in an exciting way that will leave you encouraged to study further.
TNE encourages us to take part in the New Evangelization by knowing, living, and sharing our faith. Greg encourages us to take “small sips” from the fire hose that is the wisdom and history of the Catholic faith instead of trying to take it all in at once. He reminds us that though it would be nice to bring that hardened, militant atheist co-worker into the Church there are others who are practically ready to “jump in the boat” but just need a little bit of encouragement, and that should be our primary focus.
The best part of this book is Chapter 10, which lists out 52 practical ways to know your faith, live your faith, and share your faith. This isn’t just a throw-away list used to fill space in the book. It is well thought-out, creative, and thought provoking. My favorites from each category:
Know Your Faith
-“Look up the Holy Father’s Wednesday audience online (at www.vatican.va), and read his statement for the week.”
Live Your Faith
-“Move into the middle of the pew at Mass, so that when people show up at the last minute they can find seats.”
Share Your Faith
-“Invite some friends over for a beer and serve them Trappist beer, made by monks.”
None of these suggestions sound too tough or time-consuming to implement into your life, do they?
I encourage you to pick this book up and give it a read. It would make for a fantastic reflection piece during a retreat, or as great free-time reading at home. It is only 160 pages in paperback (118 pages on my iPad) so it will not overwhelm you.
Check out Greg Willits’ other work, too. He and his wife wrote a book together called “The Catholics Next Door: Adventures in Imperfect Living” and they currently produce one of my favorite podcasts, called “The Catholics Next Door.” Also check out the archives of their old podcast, the “Rosary Army Podcast” and go to their website, www.NewEvangelizers.com.
You can connect with Greg on twitter @GregWillits.