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Evangelizing the Catholic Faith: Knowing When to Say When

Part Five of series by Chris Wira

We are each on a journey of Love and knowledge in Truth.  As Catholics, we have each embraced the Faith in a personal and unique way.  Many have received it from their parents, while others have converted later in life.  For each of us, there has been a moment when we individually said, “Yes” to God and the Catholic Church.  In that moment we lovingly chose, with the help of God’s Grace, to commit ourselves to the Church.  As such, our Faith came fully to life and our Love found the fulfilling nourishment that we always desired.  Trusting in God, we have continued striving to say that “Yes” evermore richly.

When discussing the Faith with others, a natural flow between will and intellect, of love and knowledge, can occur.  Even at our peak, where the Holy Spirit has fully utilized our heart, mind, soul and will, there comes a limiting point.  There is only so much, even the brightest or most interested people can digest at a time.  For one person, it might be a single, powerful sentence, such as, “Love is never alone” or “Talk to Jesus and Mary, they’re listening.”  While these words often result in pause and reflection, others may be interested in longer discussions.  For them, several hours of enjoyable conversation may be just perfect.  No matter how much you and I desire to share, I have often found it better to risk not saying quite enough than to say too much at one time.  After all, even for the thirstiest of people, it takes time to absorb the Catholic faith, and just as with each of us, it takes time to reach the moment where a person finally says “Yes”.

After conversing with someone about the Faith, I make sure to say hello to the person the next time I see him or her.  It can be that they feel shy, somewhat embarrassed, or maybe even a bit ashamed because of what they shared. Encouragement by means of kindness and friendship can go a great distance in alleviating their stress, which will then allow them to focus on what was shared about Catholicism.  I relate to these moments because they are the same feelings I once had about sharing my faith, and it was timely encouragement that always kept me open.

Also, do not feel as though you must discuss more about God right away.  Trust that there will be opportunities for follow up.  Until such moments, building a friendship is an essential part of sharing our faith.  Usually, the other person will let you know when they are ready for more conversation, but if an unexpected opportunity arises, jump right back in with joy and courage.

Conversely, sometimes people may need to take a step or two back after realizing so much.  It’s quite natural to have the instinct to flee, even when what is presented is so good.  It’s never easy to face God’s Love the first time, and it can be even more daunting to face God’s Truth.  While love and knowledge are profoundly wonderful and desirable, it does not mean that embracing them is easy.  When this occurs, allow your daily actions, grounded in the Faith, to be your communication.  Contemplative prayer is not only a way to recognize and communicate with God; it is a way to live.  By this, our actions also reveal our Faith, and good will continue to result.

I have found that while many people vocally express their hope to change and follow God, their greatest struggle is leaving behind the actions that hinder their relationship with God.  Many often fear that they will loose who they are. Sadly, they have come to define themselves by their sin, rather than the loving person God has made them to be.  It’s important to let them know that they won’t loose themselves, but actually, will finally become the happy, loving person they want to be.  That in God, they will be themselves.  As this new self-knowledge emerges in God’s light, they will finally find the joy and happiness for which they have longed.

Remember to trust God humbly knowing that He will eventually bring to completion what He has begun.  If part of this work is having us share His kind and loving words that result in contemplation and repentance, then we, through our love of others, have grown closer to God as well.

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.

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