What a concept...
We are going to offer Catholicism in all its beauty and with all its challenges. There is no watering it down or offering a modified version that is easier to swallow. The truth is the truth. But what we can do is bring people in to the Church one small bite at a time. They may not be ready to chow down on the teachings about marriage, sexuality, an all male priesthood, the veneration of Mary, and the intercession of the saints. But a beautiful liturgy might draw them in to sample a little bit of the Church.
You probably know a fallen away Catholic who hasn’t been to Mass in years. He is a lost soul waiting to be found. Maybe inviting him to Mass is too big of a bite. Invite him to vespers or a holy hour instead. Why don’t you ask him to volunteer with you at a Catholic charity? Let him see the loving side of the Church. Don’t be afraid to let him know that you said a Rosary for him or asked the intercession of a saint for his intention. The Divine Mercy Chaplet can be comforting to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Our Catholic prayers are wonderful tools of evangelization.
The first paragraph of this chapter states extraordinarily simple, yet profound truth with regard to evangelization:
“One result of the liturgy’s vital relationship with the Sacred Scriptures is that the liturgy is a primary source of the Christian faith; it contains and expresses the most constitutive elements of that faith. If the church believes what it prays, then every liturgy is a profession of faith. In particular, every Eucharistic celebration is the highest profession of faith. The faith of a Christian is expressed in a fundamental way in the Eucharistic prayer. There is, then, an indissoluble link between the liturgy and the transmission of faith. We can say, in fact, that the celebration of the liturgy is the most important act of evangelization.” (pg. 209, The Spiritual Meaning of the Liturgy)In citing the “vital relationship” between the scriptures and the liturgy, we gain a greater understanding of the role of sacred music. As the mass is a sung prayer, and scripture the foundation of the liturgy, then it is the scripture that we primarily sing. This is simple, profound, and revolutionary.
In any parish setting, it is incontrovertibly the liturgy that is the front-line of engagement and drawing in the faithful. One generally becomes more involved in a parish after being drawn in by the liturgy. It is a sort of “ministry of first impressions” that matter.