In this time of Advent, the gospels invite us to reflect on the person of John the Baptist. He, as “forerunner,” prepares the way for Christ in the preparation of his disciples. John, though exalted in this role, knows he is not the Messiah or the most important man for his disciples to follow. He prepares them for Christ but ultimately he sends his followers to Jesus. They themselves must encounter the Christ and must become followers not only of John but more importantly of Jesus.
In this way, John the Baptist serves as an example for us of evangelization. First John must come to recognize Jesus as the Christ. He does this early in his life, while still in his mother’s womb! We too must come to personally know Jesus as the Lord who loves us individually. Once we experience this love, we seek to share it! John leapt in Elizabeth’s womb and shared his recognition of the Messiah with her. He continued to point his disciples to the Lamb of God who he sought to increase as John decreased. So it is with us. When we experience the profundity of Christ’s love, we cannot keep it hidden from others. Love seeks to share, to expand, for the other to experience this Love. Just as John did, we tell others of Christ and bring them to Him so they too might know the Lamb of God.
While this call to evangelization exists for every baptized Christian, it reality is evident in our daily life as Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration. Our day begins in prayer and solitude with the Lord. It is here, in the experience of His personal profound love, that we are called forth to share His love. Thus we experience the impetus to go forth, just as we are commanded at the closing of every mass (“go forth and proclaim the gospel”), and share this love with others. This is done in our apostolate. As we go forth from our encounter with the Lord, we go to schools, hospitals, our daily work to bring Christ to all those that we encounter and to direct them to Him. It is from our Eucharistic Adoration that we are sent and desire to go forth and preach His love through our words and actions. This going forth is not solely a command but truly a desire of the heart that has known His love.
As we go forth from the Eucharistic Lord to evangelize to His love, we must thus return. In this way, evangelization is a continually going forth and returning to our Eucharistic Love. In our returning, we bring (physically and/or spiritually) those with whom we seek to share His love. In Adoration, we offer to Jesus all those whom He has entrusted to us and are again called forth to them that they and we may continue to be drawn deeper into His Sacred and Eucharistic Heart.