I remember when I first heard that all Catholics were called to evangelize. I was on a Cursillo retreat, and the whole concept scared me. While I came from a family where attending Sunday Mass was a given, my parents were quite private about their faith lives. They expected the local Catholic school to impart the riches of the Catholic faith to me, but faith matters were seldom a topic of dinner conversation.
I was quite intimidated by the concept of faith sharing, but I have found a book that takes the intimidation out of the process. Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story by Nancy H.C. Ward is a down-to-earth field manual for evangelization. The author deftly provides concrete ways for you to tell your own conversion or reversion experience.
As Ward wisely states:
We may think we need a degree in theology to evangelize. We are all called to show God’s love and encouragement as we tell of His actions in our lives and the way His love changed us. Through our story, God inspires others to discover their story of His abundant grace working in their lives.
Ward offers a number of tips and tools for crafting our evangelization stories. For instance, she recommends starting with a spiritual journal. She points out that “scientific research finds that journaling can enhance your life in remarkable ways that benefit your mind, emotions, relationships, confidence, creativity, communication, and self-discipline.” By calling on the Holy Spirit, you can enhance your journaling with a “spiritual dimension.”
Ward further recommends composing a timeline of the major faith events in your life; coming up with your own faith biography; writing down your formal witness to the movement of God in your life; and creating an “elevator speech” which outlines the events that occurred prior to, during, and following your unique encounter with Jesus.
But example may be the best teacher, and Ward follows that dictum by providing a number of real-life testimonials. These include everything from an atheist who became a contented Catholic to a Mormon who ended up transforming into a great Catholic convert. These testimonials may be just what you need to bolster your confidence to share your own faith tale.
As written in 1 Peter 3:15, you should “always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story provides the blueprint for building the Kingdom of God, one heartfelt story at a time.
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Copyright 2019 Maria V. Gallagher