What do I say to share my faith with others?
BY DR. JEFF ANDRINI, OFFICE OF EVANGELIZATION AND DISCIPLESHIP
In a world where people are all too quick to share their perspective and real listening rarely happens, we should not be ashamed that at times we choose to be quiet. In fact, we can be proud of our Catholic way of life that proclaims the Good News of God’s love and care, through the way we serve those in need. It is our actions that speak louder than our words. However, our world needs authentic witnesses in both words and deeds. We must be ready to give witness to the source of our lives.
As disciples of Jesus, we are reminded by St. Peter to “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and respect…” (1 Peter 3:15). Two important points; first, others must see in our lives something that is authentic, and attractive. How are we different than humans that have no faith in God?
Our dependence on God is essential to us living a fully human life. Jesus tells us in John’s Gospel that, “I am the Vine and you are the branches… apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Jesus wants our connection with him to be free flowing, life giving and fruitful. It is through our daily prayer and relationship with God, that we are transformed into people of hope and joy. Even in times of disaster, we receive the grace of God’s presence in a variety of ways that allow us to be rooted in joy. This is a joy that is even more attractive today because of the difficult realities in our world, so let us receive it daily from our God and reflect it to the world.
The second key concept in this scripture is to share our hope with “gentleness and respect.” This involves reflection on our part and openness to the Holy Spirit. We can ask ourselves, what is the disposition of this other person and what do they need in their life right now? We cannot always know exactly, but the Spirit can give us great insight that we can trust. You might consider memorizing the following words of Pope Francis and allowing them to become your own as you seek to share the Gospel with others.
In talking about the basic proclamation of the Good News, Pope Francis proposed the following to share as a non-threatening, open ended way to invite others to come into a relationship with God. He said, “Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life for you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you” (Evangelii Gaudium, 164).
Let us invite Jesus to be Lord of our lives and learn to effectively share our faith with our desperate world. Happy New Year!
Peace in Christ,
Dr. Jeff Andrini is the director of the Office of Evangelization and Discipleship. Please send comments to [email protected].
Originally printed in the January 2022 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.