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Evangelization and the Interior Life

Evangelization and the Interior Life


The Avila Institute offers courses in spiritual formation for the faithful from all sorts of different backgrounds. We aim to instruct the faithful in the rich mystical tradition of the Church so that they may grow closer to Jesus Christ, the source of their salvation, and share Him with others. A course on evangelization and the interior life is one of many courses we offer that investigate the richness of the mystical tradition. We think of our mission as our answer to Christ’s command to Peter, “If you love me, feed my sheep.” 

What does the interior life have to do with evangelization? In short, everything. However, this truth is often missed by the faithful in the modern world. In today's world focused on productivity and technology, it can be easy to believe that the active life is more important than the contemplative life. The world, especially in American culture, tells us that time spent not being productive is time wasted. From an economic point of view, leisure is good, but it is good only because it allows us to rest so that we may be productive again. In the eyes of the world, prayer is seen as unproductive. From a strictly economic viewpoint, it should only be something we do in order to rest from our productive activities. However, our faith tells us that the spiritual life is what we were created for, and thus our prayer lives become primary to anything else we do.

The culture of productivity can spill over into our spiritual lives. Sometimes we think that the spiritual life is about the service we do for Christ and His Church. We can get so caught up in the work of our apostolates that we forget about the necessity of the interior life. When we do this, we fall prey to forgetting about the person who is the basis of all our prayer and work: Jesus Christ. Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard, in his book The Soul of the Apostolate, borrows from Cardinal Mermillod, who calls this line of thinking “the heresy of good works”. Chautard states that the heresy of good works is, practically speaking, a reliance on oneself over the grace of God.

The importance of the interior life is a major theme of Chautard’s book. He introduces the topic saying:

“May these humble pages go out to the soldiers of Christ, who, consumed as they are with zeal and ardor for their noble mission, might be exposed, because of the very activity they display, to the danger of not being, above all, men of interior life.”

He goes on to say that those apostles who do not remain men of interior life are subject to the danger of serious spiritual collapse. The interior life, says Chautard, is essential for an apostolate to bear fruit. If you were to ask any Doctor of the Church or other expert on the spiritual life, they would say the same thing.

If you want to serve the Church and win souls for Christ, you must first and foremost develop a rich interior life. It is from this rich interior life that the entire active life springs forth. It is from a rich interior life that we achieve organic unity in our active and contemplative lives and incorporate Christ into all that we think, say, and do. Evangelization and the interior life cannot be separated from each other.

We strive to live this out at the Avila Foundation where employees are expected to pray daily for the mission of the apostolate. The Avila Institute teaches the faithful to put the interior life first in their daily priorities. We cannot tell others about Christ if we do not truly know Him, and to truly know Him, we must spend time with Him. If we want to have a successful apostolate, we must put our prayer lives first.

In order to help the faithful grow in their understanding of the role of the interior life in evangelization, the Avila Institute also addresses this. To see a full list of upcoming courses click here. If you have any questions about the school or the admissions process, you can contact us at


Art for this post on evangelization and the interior life: Avila Institute logo, used with permission, all rights reserved.

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About Dylan Jedlovec

Dylan Jedlovec was formerly an Operations Administrative Assistant at the Avila Foundation, parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and Divine Intimacy Radio. Finishing up an undergraduate degree in Marketing and Economics from Samford University, Dylan is first and foremost a disciple of Christ and a son of the Church. Dylan has a heart for evangelization on college campuses, and has worked closely with FOCUS as a student missionary and served as President of the Catholic Student Association at Samford. As a member of the University Fellows Program at Samford, Dylan developed a love for the writings of the Saints, particularly the Doctors of the Church, through his studies of the core texts of the Western Intellectual Tradition. This love for the rich intellectual tradition of the faith brought him to the Avila Foundation, where he seeks to further the kingdom through feeding Christ’s sheep. In his free time, Dylan enjoys watching baseball, reading, hiking, running, and lifting weights (although you can’t really tell).

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