Evangelize the Easy Way -
with Icons by Msgr. Anthony La
Problem : Closed Mindedness – Biggest Obstacle
The less someone knows about God the more
content they tend to be with their own spiritual knowledge and
development. However, none of us should be satisfied with our progress
in those areas until we are in heaven. For them, happiness is defined
by worldly pleasures. See
Peter Kreeft’s article on Happiness.
They will tend to view the study of the things
of God more as a burden and as an obstacle to their path to happiness.
And so, they tend to be very closed minded to conversing about and
studying the things of God. And this closed mindedness is often their
biggest natural obstacle in learning more about true happiness and the
perfect love that God has for them. The largest supernatural obstacle
is Satan. The largest spiritual obstacle is our own personal sin.
Everyone here on earth needs to grow closer to
God. And yet, most of us do not think we need ongoing evangelization.
Further, most people place God on one side and “fun” on the other side
as if they are mutually exclusive. It can be difficult to talk about
God even at Christmas parties amongst Christians. You find that most
people will have an attitude of, “Hey, I am here to have fun. I don’t
want to talk about God.” Yet, the Bible warns us against wasting our
time or other people’s time with idle or careless words.
“Avoid profane, idle talk, for such people will become more and
more godless …” NAB
“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak,
they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy
words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be
So, how can one break through this closed
Answer : Msgr. La Femina’s Icon T Shirts
Many paintings, as an example the Last Supper
painting by Leonardo da Vinci, portray what you presumably would have
seen with the human eye if you had been there and had taken a picture.
However, icons are like pictures taken through
the camera of God’s eye. These icons present spiritual truths
that the human eye does not normally perceive. They can teach just by
These shirts are great for turning a casual
conversation into one that really matters. They are great for reaching
the following groups.
- Catholics who love their
These icons are so spiritually rich they contain and convey so many
beautiful truths of our faith. We all are somewhat closed minded as
we all are inherently inclined to not to want to die to ourselves.
- Cultural Catholics
Even at Catholic social events some
people take a negative view of someone abruptly bring up Catholic
spirituality. Religion is viewed as “burdensome obligations that
keep you from fun and happiness.” It can be hard to encourage other
Catholics to follow the moral teachings of the Church without
sounding preachy, or at least without them thinking you are being
preachy. The effects of original sin (concupiscence, weakened will,
and especially darkened intellect) make them vulnerable to this
misinterpretation. However, these shirts make the transition of the
conversation from small talk to spiritual topics natural and smooth.
For example, see
Love. You can then speak about the spiritual messages that
are implied by the holy faithful priest, Monsignor Anthony La
Femina. It might help to point out that the Catholic Church
does not force anyone to obey her moral teachings or to believe her
doctrines, just as God does not force anyone to go to heaven.
God and His Church invite us to believe and to follow the One and
only Savior Jesus Christ. This way your friend will not think
of you as being preachy because you are just explaining what the
Icon is about.
- Fallen Away Catholics.
These shirts enable the evangelist to bring
up truths of the faith in non-threatening ways. For example,
when you are talking with someone who left the Catholic Church after
25 years it is difficult to begin a discussion with them on how they
really didn’t understand the Mass or Catholicism. Many people in
this category lack the spiritual awareness or the humility to make
the distinction between their experience which they do know, and
their knowledge of the Catholic faith which is usually lacking.
They could be easily offended if you tell them they don’t know the
Catholic faith. However, by explaining what the image on the shirt
symbolizes you can explain and teach the faith in a way that is not
demeaning. Regardless of whether or not he agrees with these
aspects of the faith, he cannot deny that the painter intended for
the image to represent these truths of the Catholic faith and
specifically the Mass. If you only have the image on a
card you cannot shove the card into their hand in an easy and polite
manner to get them to look at the image. Whereas, they cannot help
but look at image on the shirt as you talk to them.
Most evangelistic material is made for those who are willing to
consider the Catholic position. It is generally assumed by some
that you should not bring up the subject of religion unless you are
ridiculing it. These shirts make it possible to begin a
conversation in a natural and smooth manner with those who would not
otherwise consider conversing with a Catholic about Catholic
spirituality. You can begin with the subject of God’s love, and
then move to a variety of subjects, such as a scripture verse that
can only fulfilled with the theological significance of the holy
sacrifice of the Mass.
the Conversation -
Through Closed Mindedness
List of Ice breakers to begin the conversation.
You can begin by saying :
- Did you know that this icon is also
available on a Christmas card?
- This icon represents how Jesus said Mass on
the night of the Last Supper. or
- This icon represents how Jesus changed the
bread and wine into His Body and Blood on the night of the Last
- Society is becoming more and more
polarized. And groups of people are becoming more and more isolated
from each other. Isolation from God leads to violence, destruction,
and death. Would you like to hear more about God’s plan to save us
from sin ?
- What is the biggest lie that has ever been
told ? See
- What is the first thing you see when
looking at this Icon ?
Ok, what is the most
important thing you see when looking at this Icon ? See
- Or, my favorite
: I wore this shirt to this party because it is the perfect
representation of Joy. Don't you think this Icon of the Last Supper is the perfect image
for explaining what (Christmas) Joy is all about ? Their
puzzled or startled look will be an invitation to explain yourself.
See section on the song, “Joy
to the World.”
You will probably get one of three types of
hot, lukewarm, or cold.
A hot response
would be as follows:
“Wow ! That sounds like a great idea. Because
I am honest I have seen my need to be humble and to always grow and
learn more. So, I have cultivated humble heart and a teachable spirit.
Please teach how this is true.” (Well. Okay, I can dream that someone
will respond in this manner. Lol.)
A lukewarm response
would be something like the following :
“Yes. That is a good icon for Christmas. In
fact, I get 20 or 30 Christmas cards like that every year with a similar
picture on each of them. There is nothing new about that. There is
nothing more to be said about something so common as that, so let me
change the subject of conversation as I begin to talk about .... x, y,
I would also classify a “No response” as a
Lukewarm responses just make me want to spit.
They leave me nothing with which to work. Much more conducive would be
the following :
A Cold Response :
“John, You idiot. Christmas is nine months after
the Annunciation. How can you possibly think that it is appropriate for
a Christmas card?
“John, You idiot. We celebrate Good Friday three
months after Christmas in the liturgical year. Christmas is about the
season of joy. How can you possibly think this icon with a crucifix
represents anything about joy, or is in any way appropriate for
This opens the door for some effective
evangelization. First, begin with explaining how the icon is appropriate
for Christmas and (or) explain what true Joy is really about. Second,
explain one of the more profound and deeply
important topics. There are many options, so always pray that
you will be open to the Holy Spirit and his guidance. It is impossible
to evangelize without the aid of God’s grace.
See More on
Annunciation Icon : Pro-Life or
Icons on T-Shirts : Main Page