Evangelization and the “Aha Moment”

Evangelization and the “Aha Moment”

EVANGELIZATION: LEADING SOULS TO THAT “AHA MOMENT”

I look at so many evangelization “programs,” and I’m always left wondering how souls, who are disconnected from the “Divine Life,” would ever choose such things. We tell them, “read the Bible (the whole thing?), study the catechism (the whole thing?), pray the Rosary (the whole thing?), go to Mass (every Sunday?), watch these 18 videos (all of them?), go to these small group gatherings (every time?), etc., etc.” We heap, what is received by disconnected souls, “heavy burdens” on them, that very few will be motivated to take up.

My point has always been that the reason so many souls, these days, don’t know God or the Bible or the catechism, etc. is because “they don’t have a desire to know Him or them.” Where there is no love, there is no “hunger for the more.” Nobody can “force feed” God.

Conversely, if we love someone, we are inspired to want to get to know them. Just as, if we love a career choice, we are excited and motivated to study and learn everything about it. We pour our best into it.

I believe there are two very simple first steps that opens hearts to love God and, therefore, want “the more” of Him.

Paradigm Shift – A paradigm shift is an important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way. It can be referred to as an “Aha Moment.” This shift most often occurs when one encounters a “paradigm,” or “an outstandingly clear example.” In the context of evangelization, souls need to encounter other souls who have fallen in love with God. They need to see what that looks like. Jesus puts it quite simply, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

As we know, the world tends toward an egocentrism. Left to our base appetites, we look to our wants and needs, and see others more as potential threats to those desires. As a result, we tend toward keeping others at arms length; a safe and manageable distance.

Early Christianity grew, not by proselytism, but by “attraction.” Souls witnessed the “over-the-top extravagant love” of the early Christians, and they “wanted what they had” … they wanted to know what fueled that burning fire of selfless love. Why? Because they knew their own selfish lives were empty and sad and meaningless. Christians seemed to have discovered the way to all meaning and joy and purpose.

This means, if we have truly become “lit up” by our love for God, we need to get that light out from under the bushel basket and put it oil a lamp stand for all to see!! We must lavish one another with a total selfless love; an extravagant “I’d take a bullet for you” kind of love. THIS is what will “shock” onlookers to say to themselves, “I want – I NEED – that kind of love in my life!!” THIS is when they begin to ask questions, and our answer comes, “I fell head over heels in love with God, and that changed everything!!”

“I love you, God” – If you are like the vast majority of people, you feel awkward to sit around and start repeating scripture passages to others. It can be awkward and, many times, not well received. But, here’s something we are capable of doing, when you find the right moment … Ask someone (usually loved ones) this: “Do you love God?” And, instead of heaping heavy loads by telling them to read the Bible or study the catechism or whatever, just ask them if they’d be willing to just say this to God a dozen or so times throughout the day – “I love you, God.” It’s not like climbing Mt Everest to just do that.

The point is this … if a person consciously says this enough, they need to start believing it themselves, and then the self assessment begins. Do I really love God? I mean, if I really do, why am I still doing this, that and the other thing? … and why am I NOT doing this, that and the other thing? In other words, their conscience needs to let their actions support their words.

In conclusion, Be a bright – even shocking – light of love that inspires people to “seek your Source.” And, ask the souls you love to tell God they love Him, repeatedly throughout the day. These two simple things can go a long way to awaken a soul to discover that “Aha Moment” in love with God!