Part one of Series by Chris Wira
I used to think that if we go to church, confess our sins, and live a good life, we had it made. As it turned out, there is a bit more. We are also called to reach out to others in evangelizing our Faith. In the past, I felt that doing so would be a little embarrassing. What I have come to realize is that discussing our Faith is actually very enjoyable and satisfying. It is also truly amazing to see the relief it can bring to others.
A key gift by which we share our Faith is God’s Love. As Catholics, we have received a wonderful gift from God. It is as if God has placed us upon Heaven’s doorstep. Whenever we go to church, we take part in an earthly view of the Kingdom. God strengthens us against temptation, frees us from the confinement of sin, and lifts us to a new capacity to love beyond all our previous concepts. To be effective in evangelizing others, we must be led by this Love to share our heart. “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.” (John 4:10)
Also, humility is a key disposition which gives rise to patience and listening. Before even speaking about Jesus or our Faith by which we know Him, we must first be patient. More than the patience required for situations such as being cut off in traffic where we resist road rage, you and I need to be patient in the face of every personal insult hurled against “me” and God. Think of someone taking your favorite childhood toy, smashing it on the ground, and then stomping on the broken pieces. This requires a patience that can only be found by trusting God and allowing the Holy Spirit to build and intensify an amazing, burning love–God’s Love–within “my” heart. Without this patience born of humility with the help of God’s Love, it is easy to become resentful. Without this patience, the resulting anger is usually the quickest path to failure.
Of course, by patience we are able to really listen and hear what the other is saying with true care, regardless of how strange or hurtful it may be. You may even find that the other person does most of the talking. Don’t feel as if you have to win each point or prove your powers of reason. You must honestly and lovingly demonstrate your care and concern for the person with whom you are speaking. Once folks realize that you are truly listening to them and empathetically grasping what they are actually saying, they will be more willing to listen to you.
A large part of evangelizing is simply being there for someone else, helping folks fill that void in their hearts with God’s compassionate Love. When this happens, you will find that most people are very thirsty and looking for a relationship with God. They want to talk about eternal life, God’s impact on the world, and what Catholics actually believe.
Finally, be mindful that you are not alone in this discussion. Jesus is with you, inspiring you in word and heart so that you may help another child of His hear Him. While He knocks on the door to everyone’s heart, He also has His family members speak. Trust God.
Chris Wira grew up in Hanover, New Hampshire within St Denis Parish, earned an Economics Degree from the University of New Hampshire, and then moved to Los Angeles as a musician. After recording seven albums, both classical and rock n’ roll, he has returned to the upper valley. For a sample of a song of his about God’s love see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iwsqpup3buQ&feature=channel&list=UL