Jesus gave His disciples clear instructions before He ascended into heaven – to go into the world and preach the Gospel. But many in our world (and in the Church) have forgotten the truth, beauty, and power of the Gospel. Chris Stefanick is on a mission to remind them.
“There’s something viral about the Gospel message, and people want to share it when they hear it in a way that hits their hearts. It’s as life-changing today as it was 2,000 years ago. We have the best news ever.” – Chris Stefanick
Chris can often be heard on Immaculate Heart Radio during program breaks, and he recently stopped by St. Joseph’s Workshop with Father Matthew Spencer to share why getting back to the basics of the Gospel message is so important. Chris said:
“The basic Gospel message – that God created us with a purpose, that He loves us, that He died for us, that He calls us into relationship with Himself – when that message is received, it awakens the hunger. Until people get that, they’re not hungry for what we’re offering, because they perceive religion, they perceive Catholicism, as a list of rules and regulations, as old rituals that they’re trying to keep alive and they’re not sure why. That’s how they see Catholicism.
It’s kind of like marriage. When you remove the context of relationship and the love, all you’re left with is obligations, and rules, and regulations. A really bad idea is what you’re left with. You put that love story back, that call to relationship, and suddenly all the sacrifices you make within marriage make sense. They might even be perceived as beautiful or attractive.
So I think when we focus on that core relationship that God is calling us to with the Gospel message, keeping things simple, this is supposed to be a relationship we live in our daily lives. Suddenly people become hungry for all the rest you want to throw at them, because when you realize that this is the love you are made for, you can’t get enough of it.
We’re not redeemed because we’re perfect, we’re redeemed because He’s perfect. And because He loves us. Not because of our perfection, but in spite of our imperfection, He loves us.
And it’s very easy as a Church, and as people, to get lost in the headlines, to get lost in every battle the Church can be engaged in. And it’s important to engage in a lot of those culture wars and battles. But there’s nothing more urgent than the message that they are loved by God and called by Him to relationship with Him. If they don’t get that, all the Church’s teachings, from abortion, to marriage, all these things make no sense anyway.
We try to convince people who don’t even realize their life has purpose that they should value the life of a fetus. Someone who hasn’t internalized the Gospel isn’t going to agree with us on pro-life issues because they don’t think their own life has meaning. There’s a more fundamental, more urgent message. Though we do have to engage the culture war on all those other fronts, the more urgent thing that the Church always has to do in the midst of all those culture wars is to just preach the Gospel, to be known as the Church of the Gospel again.”
Listen to the full interview with Chris Stefanick below:
To learn more about Chris’ work, visit Real Life Catholic.
St. Joseph’s Workshop with Fr. Matthew Spencer airs weekdays from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Pacific on Immaculate Heart Radio.