Speaking with Jose Prado Flores, guest speaker of the next installment in a series of WYD spiritual preparatory meetings under the theme “For us and the whole world,” about evangelization, works of mercy and about how to discover God's plan is Zofia Świerczyńska.
Zofia Świerczyńska: What do works of mercy have to do with evangelization?
Jose Prado Flores: The starting point for me is something I heard personally from Pope John Paul II, who said that the greatest work of mercy is evangelization. And only now can we do a comparison between the specific works of mercy and evangelization. For example, to feed the hungry – evangelization is to give the bread of life. To give drink to the thirsty – i.e. to give the living water of the Holy Spirit. To clothe the naked – i.e. to cover with the robe of Jesus Christ. To comfort the afflicted – this is a beautiful thing, we read about it in the Gospel of St. Luke 4: 18 – where he writes about the release of those who are oppressed, sad. To give them the joy of the spirit.
How can young people evangelize others? Not from a pulpit, not in church, but every day?
They must focus on what is most important, which is the Word of God. Evangelizing through the Word of God more than through any other form of piety. We need to know, to love the word in order to then share the word with others, because the word has power. It is effective, it has Spirit. This is the most important thing in evangelization – the Word of God. And the second thing – with joy. Young people are particularly sensitive to joy, because young people often live in such a sinusoid, joy-loneliness-joy-abandonment-joy... That is why there is so much alcohol and drugs, because young people are looking for any means to get out of sadness. But we should show the joy of the spirit. It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. So when we evangelize, we should get to this point. I do it like this, e.g. when I meet someone on an airplane. I present Jesus, knock at the door of your heart, if you open it I will come and dine with you (Revelation 3:20). My motivation is – open your heart to Jesus, who is knocking at the door of your heart. And people ask "how?" And I answer – with prayer. And at this point I must say a bold prayer for the person, so that the person will accept Jesus in their heart, that they will declare Jesus as their personal Savior, and Lord for one hundred percent of their life. This is the most important thing to me. I say this because oftentimes we do a lot of things that do not bear fruit. Going to church, even to Mass and to confession, wearing religious things... This is not enough if there is no relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ, who is standing before you. You want to open your heart and accept Jesus Christ, then miracles happen. E.g. freedom from drug addiction. Once a person who was very close to suicide accepted Jesus into their heart, she said: "Jesus is my life, so I cannot cut short this life."
Can WYD be an opportunity to get to know God better?
This is the most beautiful thing that can be! I will confess to you something. When I talked with Bishop Grzegorz Ryś, I told him about how one cannot evangelize without preparing evangelizers. I offer my time to prepare evangelizers in this sense – so that evangelizers who will go, will knock on hearts, will help to open hearts so that these people will accept Jesus into their heart as their Lord and Savior. And in this way they will feel the Holy Spirit. This is an amazing event!
Why should people participate in spiritual preparations for WYD, in "For us and the whole world" meetings?
Because this is an opportunity to learn more about God's plan. That’s why. What I want to emphasize is this – God's plan. Pope Francis speaks of God’s dream, which is your happiness. God wants your happiness. Every young person is seeking this. I think this will be such a joyful presentation of this plan.
José Prado Flores – born in Mexico, Catholic theologian, scholar, leader and founder of the international network of St. Andrew’s Schools of Evangelization, author of many books and articles on pastoral theology and Catholic spirituality, as well as kerygma and the New Evangelization.
Before us is the 6th meeting part of the official retreats preparing us for World Youth Day. This time, in the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy – we will be hosting a charismatic leader from Mexico!
“Decide to do what is impossible in your life! Not what is possible. What is possible, you can do without Christ, without grace, without mercy. Christianity is based on you doing impossible things!” stated Bp Grzegorz Ryś on April 2, on the Sunday of Divine Mercy. During the 5th spiritual retreat we heard about the works of mercy, the message that Saint John Paul II has left us, and – the witness of the Merciful Jesus, who brings us real peace.
In May, the spiritual retreats will be on the topic of the next works of mercy, this time – comfort the afflicted and clothe the naked, and also – the Saints of Krakow – St. Kinga and St. John Cantius. The guest of this meeting will be an evangelizer known throughout the whole world, charismatic and author of many books – José Prado Flores. He will deliver a conference, answer the questions of our leaders and will lead a prayer of adoration.
ATTENTION! During the recollections in the Sanctuary there will be thesymbols of WYD:the Cross and the Icon of Our Lady Salus Populi Romani, since on May 20 – the pilgrimage of the symbols around the Archdiocese of Krakow will begin, which will last until July 25.
We invite you! Be with us to call together for Divine Mercy!
Let it SPARK!!!
The event will be broadcasted on our YouTube channel (Live Event) in English, Polish, Italian, and Spanish.