“Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” You’ve probably heard this quote often mis-attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. That’s right, historians find no evidence to point to him actually saying it. On the contrary, many think it is very un-Francis: i.e. he preached with words all the time!
But, I think we can reframe this quote to bring it into focus for us.
What it boils down to is: loving others then explaining to them why. (Not when necessary, but afterward.) We commit acts of love, then we share the source of that love. That’s what we’re talking about here.
Helping the poor, caring for the sick – then explaining the why. This is what the greatest missionaries in our history have done. They love, and then explain why.
In today’s world, we are faced with the same challenge of evangelization. And, we don’t have to go across the globe to do it. It starts with loving. And then, sharing the reason for our love. It’s that simple.