Evangelizing through art

“If a pagan asks you to show him your faith, take him into church and show him the icons and explain the series of religious paintings to him.”
(St. John of Damascus)

How can we proclaim the Good news to those who are far from God? Often in recognized places of worship, where we offer a “service of the Word”, those who are far from the Gospel are absent. On the other hand in those places where we meet the far away, the Gospel is “implicit”. So where can we find nonbelievers who are ready to listen to an explicit proclamation of the Word? A surprising answer because of its simplicity is: in Church; precisely in our churches. We think that nonbelievers “cannot be reached”, but in reality they are already in the house of God and the numbers are going up. We think we are to look for them in a thousand different ways but actually they are the ones who have been looking for us for some time. Those who are “far away” came looking for us at our house and they did not find us.

The goal of the Ignatian youth groups called Living Stones is to facilitate this encounter. However Living Stones have a dual goal approach:

1. to enjoy the visit as a proclamation of faith to those who are far from God;

2. to do it as a Christian community based on prayer that invites people to pray. Thus the tourist sees for himself what the stones of the building really represent and the monument, the “artistic place” is transformed into a welcoming centre, into a listening, therapy and mystagogy centre; into a place of encounter.