Pope Francis has encouraged us to live out our lives as Catholic Christians by becoming joyful evangelists. It can be an intimidating challenge.
I was recently blessed to visit a parish in another state. I was instantly impressed with the members of the congregation. They had the unique and beautiful ability to welcome a newcomer and reveal their hearts within the first few minutes of an introduction.
I come from a parish that is also filled with the Holy Spirit. I had always thought of myself as evangelistic and welcoming, but after my experience, I came to the stark realization that I thought I was being welcoming, but I was only being polite. There is a difference.
During my travel, I had been to several Masses at the other church, perfectly named Holy Spirit Church. At one Mass my nose itched and I touched it. A woman beside me reached into her purse and handed me a tissue. She anticipated my need before it had even become a need! Another woman introduced herself to me and in just a few minutes shared the story of her conversion of her heart and how it positively impacted her marriage. I was astonished by the openness and evangelistic nature in the way my new friends spoke.
I came home convicted to live my life in a way that better expressed my love of God and my Catholic Faith. I desired to reflect the bright light of Christianity, but where would I start?
The answer came from my daughter, Anya. She reminded me that whenever we have unexpected guests for dinner and I’m concerned about having enough food, we pray a ‘loaves and fishes’ prayer to increase what we have so there will be enough. It has never failed us. My first step in this journey, was to pray for an increase in the grace in my own life, so that the Lord would transform my faith into an abundant faith in a ‘loaves and fishes’ kind of way!
Next, I spent more time frequenting the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist, as well as more time in Adoration, to receive the counsel and grace needed for this new journey.
I also started working on an abridged, concise version of my own testimony. So that I could look for opportunities to share what how God has impacted my life. I began actively looking for chances to share my story and ask others about theirs. In one instance, a few simple questions (to a waitress) inspired an entire conversation about her life and journey.
It is frightening to open your heart and soul to another person, however, we are commissioned to, “Go out and spread the good news!” We must risk fear, embarrassment and even rejection to live out this commission and be the evangelists that the Church and Jesus Christ call us to be. God bless.
Copyright 2015 Mary Lou Rosien.
Image by Benjamin Flux via Freeimages.com.