Groupings of plants or animals (or even bacteria) very often form “micro-environments” that assist each individual organism. For instance, in the case of plants, a cluster of foliage creates a shelter that protects the ground from scorching sun, helps retain moisture, and provides physical support in times of stormy weather.
Human cultures act the same way. People grow together in micro-environments called families, parishes and communities. We share each others’ burdens and bounties, and protect each other from harm. A community can absorb injury to its members when survivors respond with acts of corporeal or spiritual charity—when we respond with love.
Within the church, we ennoble each other’s existence by sharing the Truth that has been revealed to us by God himself. From generation to generation, we pass on sacred Scripture and tradition. But we are called to do so not only for subsequent generations; we must bring the Gospel to those around us here and now.
Again, this sharing of the Gospel to our neighbors should not be a surprise, since the very foundation of all existence and life is the Triune God, who is love and relationship. Hence, the great Christian truth that the Word of God became flesh and made its dwelling among us confirms for humanity that the true enemy of civilization (and marriages and families) is not hate, war or disease, but isolation and apathy. Ignoring our neighbors comes at our peril.
A similar day—filled with amazing stories of encounters—took place at
Not everyone who helps at such door-to-door campaigns needs to be on the front lines; men and women are needed to help tally records, prepare meals for volunteers, and, most especially, to join in prayer. Like any good ecosystem, everyone has something they need to contribute.
And so it is important to remember that what took place at these two parishes—and what will be taking place at two other parishes in Rhode Island that are planning similar days this spring—is really nothing other than the ecology of evangelization. It is the interaction of living beings for the betterment of the species and the salvation of souls. Most importantly, this work is the simple response to our Lord’s command to “Go” and make disciples—and in doing so, wage war with a culture of death by offering our neighbors the great gift of finding the way to eternal life.