Wednesday, September 21, 2016

10 Ways to Share your Catholic Faith!

10 Ways to Share your Catholic Faith!

Talking about your Catholic Faith can be difficult at best. In today's world, not living like everyone else makes you a target for ridicule and ostracism. But many of us desperately want to share our deeply held beliefs with others. How can we do it? Here's a top 10 list:

1) Know your Faith
Not knowing your faith automatically makes people question your beliefs and makes it unlikely they will follow you. As we will discuss later, and as Thomas a Kempis points out in his book "Imitation of Christ", more important than being knowledgeable is being holy. Plus, no one likes a "know-it-all". But you know things you love, so if you love your faith, take time to know it. People will definitely have questions if you present yourself as a Catholic. Try to take statements they make as questions even if that's not how they were intended. And then answer with love and kindness.

2) Be a nice person
No matter how great a message you are sharing, no one will listen unless you are a nice person that people actually like. I've never yet heard someone say "wow, that guy has such compelling information. So much so I am powerless to oppose it despite the fact that I really dislike him as a person. I will follow this person wherever he goes, however unpalatable he may be!" In other words, be a decent human being and people are much more likely to care what you have to say.

3) Be compassionate and empathetic
This is very important. Realize that not everyone is on the same path. Many have veered so far from the path of goodness, you seem like a strange and mysterious being to them. Realize that to many, the things you say are absolutely foreign and possibly ridiculous. You may not get the response you are hoping for. That's why we need a heavy dose of compassion and empathy. Realize that people come from thousands of different backgrounds and situations. They are possibly just as passionate about their beliefs as you are about yours. So give people leeway and be very gentle and understanding.

4) Know your Goal
Realize that your goal isn't to browbeat people into submission. Rather, it is to portray the love of Christ in a way that compels that person to follow him. Your score is not being kept. God only measures how much love you are giving out.

5) It's in God's hands
Related to the last point, don't take the world personally. As Mark Twain pointed out, the world owes you nothing, it was here before you. People are people and you can only do so much. Ultimately everything goes back to God. He is fully in control. Don't give up and despair, don't label the whole world as evil or irredeemable. Redemption is God's job, not yours.

6) Don't be a broken record
You should try as best you can to remain interesting. Don't be that guy who erupts into a predictable speech every time something comes up. People will stop listening. Choose your words wisely and try to be interesting and different.

7) Be Holy
As Thomas a Kempis points out, holiness is more important than any other characteristic. He says there is no point in knowing the contents of every book in the world if you do not have love. This essentially echos the words of St. Paul who says that without love we are like clanging gongs - just lots of noise, even if we are the world's greatest scholar. So always strive for holiness. Plus someone observing a holy person will be much more attracted than observing someone who just talks a lot.

8) Prayer and Fasting
Related to #7, prayer and fasting is essential. This will increase our holiness and closeness to God. We will keep focused on what's important and be able to identify our flaws and need for improvement. We can easily become proud. We can use these opportunities to improve in that regard.

9) Love
Most importantly you must have love. Love for everyone you communicate with. Ultimately if the people you talk to are mere objects to prove to yourself how good and holy you are, then you are doing it wrong. Your main goal is to love the people you encounter. It is with this true love that you will bring them close to Love himself, God.

10) Zeal
This is the opposite of laziness and fear. Zeal is what makes us speak up, to be bold when it is needed, to be strong and to have courage when presenting the Gospel. Jesus wants us to be bold like the apostles were after they encountered the risen Jesus. Don't hide and be afraid. Instead, get out there and be bold!

I hope these 10 suggestions help you on your journey. If you have your own suggestions, please share them below!

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