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How to Evangelize Without Saying a Word

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How to Evangelize Without Saying a Word

The Catholic Church preaches the good news of Jesus Christ 24/7. Members of the Church preach in and outside of Church buildings. Every Catholic is engaged in "preaching." We, in fact, are a great body of preachers, of evangelizers, and we spread the Gospel as good news in many different ways.

Most probably we associate preaching with the homily “preached” by the priest at Mass. Pope Francis, however, views preaching much more dynamically. Pope Francis, in The Joy of the Gospel, describes how the faith becomes embodied in a culture and is constantly passed on. We see the simple yet beautiful ways the Gospel is brought to life in the mother at a child's bedside quietly saying her rosary or just talking to God about her fears, in the father who is worried about the outcome of a court case asking for prayers on a website, in the teenager walking down the street boasting a message from the Gospel on his shirt, or a young adult quietly reading the Bible on her phone on the subway. Pope Francis calls this "popular spirituality" or "the people's mysticism." It is a spirituality incarnated in the culture of the people, a spirituality that discovers and expresses content through symbols and is a way of feeling part of the Church. This “people's mysticism” has missionary power and everyone can spread the Gospel in this way.

I remember there was a lot of religious symbolism in my home as I was growing up. A beautiful image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help always hung in our living room with a small candle before it. It was a favorite devotion of my mother, and even now when I return home, it is standing before Our Lady's image for just a moment that assures me I truly am home. We often said the rosary together. Every time my mother dropped us off at school, she would say, "God bless you. God love you. God keep you." And we would respond with the same blessing to her. Most of the time, I must admit, we rattled it off quickly, but the consistent use of that salutation quietly had its effect on our young hearts. Little things, really, and yet powerful ways of "being missionaries," according to Pope Francis. He calls them "evangelizing gestures."

"Let us not stifle or presume to control this missionary power!" (n. 123-124).

This preaching is the daily responsibility of all of us. Preaching becomes in the family, among friends, and with colleagues, a lifestyle of loving others enough to inject the Gospel into their world. It is the "informal preaching which takes place in the middle of a conversation...constantly ready to bring the love of Jesus to others, and this can happen unexpectedly and in any place: on the street, in a city square, during work, on a journey" (no. 127). 

by Sr. Kathryn James Hermes, FSP

Here’s a Check List for creating evangelizing symbols and gestures in your life. Some of these might work for you: 

  • Place a picture, statue, icon, or symbolic image in your room or home. 
  • Keep a discreet symbol of belief in your workspace. 
  • We can bless others even silently. Develop your own words and wishes of blessing which you can offer others in your heart when you meet them. 
  • Promise prayers when people share with you their problems and needs. 
  • Make a pilgrimage to a shrine near you or in the area where you are vacationing. 
  • Choose wallpapers for your computers and Facebook Timeline Covers that reflect your trust in a loving God. 
  • Post status updates that share the joy you have found in the Gospel.
  • Use mugs, wear sweat shirts, decorate with plaques or posters that have inspirational messages. 
  • Drop an inspirational message into your children’s lunch box or backpack. 
  • Let your kids see you praying. Share with them how you turn to God when you have problems. 

What would you add to this list? 


| Categories: Inspiration, Pope Francis School of Life, Living the Faith Today | Tags: reading the scriptures, living ones faith, knowledge of ones faith | View Count: (25758) | Return


  • It can be perfect time for you to make some plans for the future and it's a chance to be happy. I have check this out post and in case I could I desire to suggest you few interesting things or suggestions. Maybe you could write next articles discussing this article. I prefer to read more things about it!
    6/4/2016 5:30:38 PM Reply
  • I just started to read how to live Evangelize with out saying a word and then started to read the comments from all the wonderful people who write to you it helped me to wear my San Damiano Cross to be a sign to others I see at work on the train etc and people do look at it I see there eyes looking at as I walk on busy streets I pray that the Lord touches there hearts to want to know about him. Also the comment about dressing respectfully especially in church I really find it sad seeing ladies wearing such short skirts etc they may think I am old fashion but Our Lady did say in Fatima that ladies clothing in our time will be offensive to our Lord. Blessings to all Anthony .
    2/17/2016 5:13:17 PM Reply
  • I end every email with Blessings on your day,
    1/22/2016 9:20:17 PM Reply
  • Thank you all for your ideas, I already practise a few of them like wearing a veil to church, making the sign of the cross when passing a church, bowing my head for the name "Jesus". I would like to add that when we were kids, my mother never allowed us to wear pants for church so even till today I still wear skirts or dresses for church especially for Sunday Masses. In our home my husband put up a small holy water font ever since we were married and we bless ourselves everytime before we go to bed and when we leave our home. We also encouraged our kids to do the same from the time they were born. Once a month and on feast days my husband blesses our home with incense and occasionally I bless our home with holy water.
    3/22/2014 9:18:38 PM Reply
  • I always bless my children & grandchildren & husband too, with a small cross on their foreheads with " God Be With You" when they leave my house or I theirs. I have been doing this for 40 years. If I look like I'm going to forget or I am too slow for them, they start to say it to me first. Now I'm getting the blessings back! Praise The Lord!
    3/3/2014 3:00:38 PM Reply
  • Whenever I see a penny on the ground (before I used to think it too lowly to stoop to pick it up) I pick it up and say to myself (or someone nearby) "This penny is a reminder of me. I am really nothing, God is everything". I hold the penny up to God, thank Him, and put it in my pocket, knowing I am totally dependent on God for everything. If the penny is old and faded I say--Lord this penny is like me--old and worn and faded. If it is new I say Lord let me shine like this newly minted penny!
    2/18/2014 2:49:31 PM Reply
    • @Dave Sutton: Our daughter has had the habit for a lifetime of picking up coins and has been very blessed to find many. I will share your thoughts and it will give her habit a whole new meaning in the Lord. Thanks and God bless you. JMJ
      6/5/2015 4:29:40 PM Reply
  • Whenever I see a penny on the ground (before I used to think it too lowly to stoop to pick it up) I pick it up and say to myself (or someone nearby) "This penny is a reminder of me. I am really nothing, God is everything". I hold the penny up to God, thank Him, and put it in my pocket, knowing I am totally dependent on God for everything. If the penny is old and faded I say--Lord this penny is like me--old and worn and faded. If it is new I say Lord let me shine like this newly minted penny!
    2/18/2014 2:48:23 PM Reply
  • Absolutely beautifully true. I wear a 2" silver crucifix outside my clothing with a large Miraculous Medal attached to it. Everyone notices Jesus and Mary and it also makes me realize that if I am an ambassador of Jesus and Mary my countenance must reflect my Faith. When I fail in Christian Charity I try to mend it as fast as I can so as not to appear hypocritical. God Bless all of you, Church Militant!!!! Heaven is worth the war of LOVE. Julie Butt
    2/16/2014 5:55:37 AM Reply
  • Say grace in public. Bless yourself with the sign of the cross before your meal.
    2/15/2014 11:48:45 PM Reply
  • Ladies, Wear pretty skirts. Not short ones. To work. To Holy Mass. They are so feminine, and in our world where women and girls are considered objects, it really makes a difference in how others look at us. Wear a crucifix or holy medal. In plain sight. Not screaming in your face, but visible. And, try a veil at Mass. Really. It's so pretty. And so Catholic. I've had nothing but smiles from women and men when I do that. The men treat you like a lady when they see you looking like a Catholic lady, too.
    2/15/2014 11:17:25 PM Reply
  • Great article. My way as an artist is to make wire angels that I give to strangers on public transportation or on the street. Also I hang them in trees as well as encouraging phrases in wire. Some have lasted for years.
    2/15/2014 9:10:47 PM Reply
  • Lindsey's baptismal cross draws a lot of conversation. Lindsey is always ready to explain the meaning of the cross when asked.
    2/15/2014 2:55:17 PM Reply
  • Practice Chant! Practice singing Credo Modus III to yourself while walking, shopping etc. while meditating upon the words and its translation. That way, when someone inevitably comments: "Oooh pretty, what does it say" you have the opportunity to explain the Creed. And if no one is there to hear you, even better because you studied it that much more. God does not waste effort!
    2/15/2014 2:32:03 PM Reply
  • Our family sings the Happy Birthday song. The third and best verse is "May the Good Lord Bless You ! "
    2/15/2014 9:20:30 AM Reply
  • Great idea, to read the Bible on a smart phone on the subway - never thought of it!
    2/15/2014 7:02:32 AM Reply
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