There’s something that most of us adults have in common: We’ve got a talent for pointing out what’s wrong with the world.
We write newspaper articles about it. We broadcast our grievances across the globe – on TV, radio, and the Internet. We stand around at parties and bemoan the politics of the day. We gather in groups and gossip about the problems and flaws of others. You can fill in examples from your life, too, right?
Remember when we were kids, and the world was absolutely amazing? Remember when we had grand aspirations to grow up and do big things? If we saw one hungry person, we’d ask, “Why are they hungry? Where’s their mom? Can I help them?” Many of us wanted to grow up and be superheroes!
Then we grew older, and dismissed the delusions of youth. Was it because we realized that the world “just doesn’t work that way”?
Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.
This is one of St. Catherine of Siena’s most famous quotes. She truly believed that every single person could change the world for the better. Was she delusional?
You might respond, “Well, maybe she wasn’t crazy, but she was special! She was a saint. I’m not on that level; most people aren’t.”
Catherine believed that an inestimable Fire could change the world. Her words call to mind Jesus’ own words in the Gospel: I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! (Luke 12:49)
In prayer, Catherine encountered the inestimable Fire—the triune God, who is Love.
Her famous quote means that you and I are meant to be that fire; the living image of God. You see, Christians profess a belief that is unfathomable by other faiths: when we are baptized, God actually comes to live within us.
It Just Isn’t Right!
In the New Testament, we learn that John the Baptist was baptizing people for the forgiveness of their sins.
When Jesus asked John to baptize him, John protested, thinking: I am not even worthy to unfasten your sandal strap! You want ME to baptize YOU?
At John’s response, God—who had humbled himself to become human, to be born in a stable, to be vulnerable and weak—looked him in the eyes and acknowledged that John was right.
Jesus answered him, Allow it now. (cf. Matthew 3:13-15).
Jesus the God-Man, had the divine vision to see beyond a human—or more accurately, a fallen—concept of justice.
In our eyes, none of this makes sense: God is perfectly just, and yet he humbled himself to be baptized by a human being. God is Almighty, and yet, he chose to submit himself to human beings. Yet, God cannot act unjustly; so true justice must somehow be beyond our comprehension.
What if we saw with God’s eyes?
When most of us “grew up” and decided that being a superhero was no longer possible, it was because we had allowed our concept of what is possible to be shaped and limited by a world that suffers from sin. We had each lived through disappointments, wounds, struggles, and those all had consequences. In the face of pain, it’s natural to shift our focus onto what’s wrong with things.
But what if, instead, we turn our focus to God? What if we remain open to the marvels possible through Love?
You and I may look at Jesus and protest, “This is not right.” We may approach him, carrying all our burdens, and say, “I am not worthy, Lord.”
But Jesus will tell us, “Allow it now.”
Man is made to live in communion with God in whom he finds happiness. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 45)
Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire. Allow the unfathomable God to live within you. You will be the fullest version of “you” that you were ever meant to be. You will set an inestimable Fire into view for each person who encounters you, and Love will renew the face of the earth.
Will we dare to believe the unfathomable?
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.
Angela Sealana is Media Coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope, having served at the apostolate for nearly 10 years. She also serves on the PCH Speaker Team.
The young medical assistant saw my olive wood carved, hand-size crucifix lying by my hospital bed. He picked it up with enthusiasm and asked if I would teach him to pray with the Cross.
After a recent accidental fall, I was hospitalized to surgically mend a fractured ankle. The crucifix, from Jerusalem, became a visible sign of hope for me. Jesus died on the Cross for us; it was a reminder of his love and mercy.
He Did Not Know
As the young man picked up the crucifix, he shared with me his observations of Christians who would venerate the Crucifix and wondered why it meant so much to them.
The other medical assistant with him commented, “He is Moslem!”
Nevertheless, he was so interested to learn “the prayer of the Cross,” as he expressed it. I thought, how am I to explain the Sign of the Cross, a prayer passed on from the 4th century to one who isn’t Christian? At the same time, I was so impressed this young man felt comfortable asking me about the Crucifix. After seeing the expression on his face—eager to learn something sacred, I was encouraged to show him.
Sharing My Faith
As I held the Crucifix in my hand, I held it in front of me. Looking upward, I began:
“God, the Father in Heaven—Allah, who is Great, sent his son Jesus to show us his love. Jesus died on the Cross for us; and sent his Holy Spirit, to be with us always.”
As I continued, I placed the crucifix on my forehead, moved it to my heart, and then left to right; finishing with an Amen as I kissed the Cross. I added, “It is a sign of hope! A sign of God’s love!” Again, I repeated the prayer of the Cross: “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen!”
The young man asked for the Crucifix, and repeated the prayer as he repeated the movements himself.
Shortly after, another medical assistant entered the hospital room and the young man told the other assistant, “I just learned to pray with the Cross!” and made the Sign of the Cross over the assistant with the prayers he had just learned!
I did see this young man again during my hospital stay, he remembered the prayer!
A Sign of Hope
I was delighted for this young man.
The olive wood crucifix is one I hold each day when I pray. It is a sign of consolation and hope, reminding me that whatever cross I am experiencing, I can gaze upon the One who laid down his life for me, and remember that I can be united with Him in all things!
Do we have signs of our faith in Christ displayed in our lives? Whether it be at home, workplace, or wearing a crucifix? Would we be ready to give an explanation for our sign of faith?
Think about having one you can hold and pray; a reminder of his mercy, his presence.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 386) in his Catechetical Lectures stated,
Let us then not be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Be the cross our seal, made with boldness by our fingers on our brow and in everything; over the bread we eat and the cups we drink, in our comings and in our goings out; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we awake; when we are traveling, and when we are at rest (Catecheses, 13).
Mary Jane Fox, D.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with her husband, Deacon Tom Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Mary Jane is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Dame of the Holy Sepulchre.
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.
Welcome to Journeys of Hope, a new radio program on GRN – your spiritual passport to pilgrim destinations around the world!
Come on an intimate tour of Pilgrim Center of Hope (PCH), led by your hosts Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox, Co-Founders and Co-Directors of this evangelization ministry. You’ll hear all about this special place located in northwest San Antonio on consecrated land, formerly a convent for Teresian nuns.
Now in its 25th anniversary year, PCH offers peace and hope to all who visit. The 7 acre site features Stations of the Cross nestled under large cypress and oak trees. The inside is adorned with sacred art, much of it from the Holy Land; carvings, mosaics, statuary, paintings and photos. Hear about the reliquary which contains First and Second Class relics of the saints. Experience Gethsemane Chapel; the Tabernacle with the Blessed Sacrament, Stations of the Cross with stones from the sites of the Passion of Christ, and the life-size bronze sculpture based on a study of the Shroud of Turin.
The Foxes will also share some stories about how visitors to PCH have experienced peace, healing, and conversion, be it through moments of sacred silence in the chapel or as the result of spiritual refreshment received at a Day & Evening of Hope, Socials with the Saints, or at an Evening with Mary.
Jewel for the Journey
Ask Jesus what He wants from you and be brave! – Pope Francis
Why do Catholics use, wear, and display crucifixes if Jesus has resurrected from the dead? Listen in as Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox discuss this popular question.
Catholicism Live! was a weekly series connecting issues of the faith and Church teachings to daily life produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope from 2000-2019.
Did you know that there are many active young adult Catholics? Young adult Catholics today are seeking the truth about God and the Church.
Jessica Rendon welcomes guests, Mario Moreno, President of Young Catholic Professionals’ San Antonio Chapter, and DJ Bernal, founder of Modern Teen Ministries and inspirational Catholic speaker, to discuss the state of young adults in the Church today.
Watch this week’s episode below!
Connect with DJ Bernal, Catholic Christian evangelist & speaker
Archdiocese of San Antonio Young Adult Groups – not all current ministries are listed here; please contact Ademola for further inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org Archdiocese of S.A. Young Adult Ministry FB Page
Do you want to share what God has done in your life? Do you have a conversion story, but aren’t sure how to tell it? Catholic evangelists Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox discuss helpful tips on sharing your story.
Pilgrim Center of Hope considers this document central to our work. Each of our staff members reads it!
Readers of Pope Francis’ writings have observed his frequent references to Evangelii Nuntiandi, Venerable Paul VI’s 1975 apostolic exhortation on evangelization. Pope Francis has cited it at least 31 times on at least 11 different occasions, including 13 times in his new apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. Evangelii Nuntiandi is an important part of the soil from which the teaching of Evangelii Gaudium has sprung; to use another image, they are akin to two plates of a diptych.
On May 17, Pope Francis said that Evangelii Nuntiandi included words that “are as timely as if they had been written yesterday”; on June 13, he called it “a very full text that has lost nothing of its timeliness”; and on July 27, as he spoke about evangelization, he called the document “that basic point of reference which remains relevant.” On June 22, he went so far as to describe it as “to my mind the greatest pastoral document that has ever been written to this day”.
While much has changed since 1975, several Catholics recognized for their expertise in evangelization agree wholeheartedly with Pope Francis’s assessment of the importance and continued relevance of Evangelii Nuntiandi.
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7680 Joe Newton
San Antonio, TX 78251-1409