We are the Fishers of Men, sons of Mary, proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, for the glory of God the Father.
“As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” – Matthew 4: 18-20
Following in the footsteps of Peter and Andrew, we drop our nets and follow Him; setting aside our own agenda and having pure trust in His providential guidance. As the disciples were simple, ordinary men, so are we simple, ordinary men whom the Lord has called to build his kingdom. We, as Fishers of Men for Jesus, feel called to evangelize as a result of the transforming presence of the Eucharist, Mary and the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Evangelization! “The task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church.”
Since we, the lay faithful, are the Church, it is our mission to evangelize to all peoples. However, in order to evangelize, one must first understand what evangelizing is, as defined by the Church herself:
“Evangelizing means bringing the good news of Jesus into every human situation and seeking to convert individuals and society by the divine power of the gospel itself.”
“Evangelization is the announcing of Christ by a living testimony as well as by the spoken word…and is carried out in the ordinary surroundings of the world.”
“Lay people must be ready to proclaim the message through their words, and witness to it in what they do.”
Therefore, evangelization is spreading the gospel, not only in word but also in deed, “to one’s neighbor with limitless zeal.” By our witness, it will give people a desire to have what we have. Through our witness, it will “stir up irresistible questions in the hearts of those who see how [we] live.” One must put a stress on being a living witness; if we don’t practice what we preach, no one will listen to us because “people today put more trust in witnesses than in teachers, in experience than in teaching, and in life and action than in theories.”
One must also remember that this duty of the Church, evangelization, is not an option because “no believer in Christ can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.”
One must also remember that “all people” means ALL PEOPLE, including our fellow Christian brothers and sisters. “There is an intermediate situation, particularly in countries with ancient Christian roots, and occasionally in the younger Churches as well, where entire groups of the baptized have lost a living sense of faith…In this case what is needed is a ‘new evangelization’ or a ‘re-evangelization.’”
These people, our fellow Christian brothers and sisters, “need to hear the proclamation of the, ‘mighty works of God.’” We must, therefore, be reminded of the words of St. Paul and say along with him: “For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” Christ himself, even, commands all people, not only the disciples, to “preach the gospel to the whole creation,” and to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations.”
I. The Eucharist
We believe, along with the Magisterium, that the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ who has given us “the words of eternal life.” In order to evangelize, we need God’s strength and love in us; without him, we are nothing. “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” We must constantly be reminded that if Evangelization is done without love we gain nothing because, “if I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” Because “love is the fulfillment of the law,” whenever we evangelize in and through love we are fulfilling Christ’s law and setting a place for us in heaven. We need to, therefore, receive that purest form of love, in the Eucharist, so that with HIS love, not ours, we might go into the world and “love one another as I have loved you.” We must have a yearning love for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and a devotion to proclaiming Jesus Christ without reservation or turning back.
As broken, simple men, we cannot do this alone, but with God all things are possible. We, in order to fulfill our mission to evangelize, must devote ourselves to Christ in the Eucharist because, “The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life.” For “in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ Himself.”
Mary is our mother, given to us by her Son, Jesus Christ on the cross. “When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.” Just as John, the most beloved disciple of Jesus, welcomed Mary into his home, so must we welcome Mary into our home, our heart, if we are to become other beloved disciples of Jesus.
Mary is our intercessor, bringing our prayers to her son and sending His graces to us. “It is more perfect, because it is more humble, not to approach God of ourselves without taking a mediator.” Just as Mary was the mediator between Christ and man at the wedding feast at Cana, so must she be the mediator between Christ and us as we evangelize to others. In our day-to-day lives, “may she lead us to imitate her discipleship, her turning to Jesus, her love for God and for all.” In order to become true men of Christ, “we must examine and meditate on the great virtues which she practiced during her life.”
Mary is our defender against all that is evil. “This good mother and powerful princess of the Heavens would rather dispatch battalions of millions of Angels to assist one of her servants, than that it should ever be said that a faithful servant of Mary, who trusted in her, had had to succumb to the malice, the number and the vehemence of his enemies.” We can, thus, be courageous in our evangelization, knowing that if we stay devoted to Mary, the enemy will not and can not prevail against all of Heaven.
Mary is our Queen, whom we venerate by preaching the good news of her Son. She points and directs us towards Christ, in whose name we proclaim the gospel. “We may therefore, following the sentiments of the saints and of many great men, call ourselves and make ourselves the loving slaves of the Most Holy Virgin, in order to be, by that very means, the more perfectly the slaves of Jesus Christ.”
Mary is our unification with the Holy Spirit. “Wherever Mary is, the Holy Spirit will come in His fullness.” Therefore, we must prepare a place in our hearts for Mary if we are to have the Holy Spirit reside there as well. “When the Holy Ghost, her spouse, has found Mary in a soul, he flies there. He enters there in his fullness; He communicates himself to that soul abundantly. Nay, one of the greatest reasons why the Holy Ghost does not now do starling wonders in our souls is because he does not find there a sufficiently great union with his faithful and inseparable spouse.”
III. The Holy Spirit
“It must be said that the Holy Spirit is the principle agent of Evangelization; it is He who impels each individual to proclaim the gospel, and it is He who in the depths of consciences causes the word of salvation to be accepted and understood.” Evangelization simply cannot occur without the Holy Spirit. “The spirit brings about evangelization in the life of the Church and in the Church’s sharing of the gospel with others.” The Holy Spirit continues to give us, just as on Pentecost, the ability to preach the good news and “cut to the heart” of those whom the Spirit directs us. “Techniques of evangelization are good, but even the most advanced ones could not replace the gentle action of the Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit the most convincing dialectic has no power over the heart of man.” This points to the fact that even the greatest orator of rhetoric is nothing when contrasted with the simplest and most uneducated man who speaks with the power of the Holy Spirit.
We, the Fishers of Men, are prepared to take a mad leap of faith in a God who calls us to love.
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And fear came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.”
With burning love in our hearts, we proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, who is risen, Alleluia! With the intercession of Mary and the strength of the Eucharist, we are ready to jump out of the boat and run to our Lord. And when we reach the end of our journey, we hope to hear the words of our God ring out like the rolling thunder: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”