We've all heard the Priest encourage us to share our faith with others but sometimes we're just not sure where to start. It can feel daunting to think; today I’m telling someone about Jesus, or you might be Catholic but you don’t support the football (controversial)! People may know your Catholic but that’s it, you don’t really go into it and they don’t really ask.
But God has given all of us this mission in whatever circumstance we find ourselves and has given us many tools to help. From the role model and prayers the Saints provide, the intercession of Our Lady, to the wonderful resources we now find online, not to mention the Holy Spirit active in this world. There is help available and so in this short article I want to share 3 things that I have found to be of most help when sharing my faith.
If you want to share your faith, pray. Prayer opens up our minds to other priorities and makes us more intentional about bringing God into our everyday. Ask God every day for an opportunity to share your faith.
Up until last year I worked as a Prison Officer. Prison Officers are not known for their piety, and yet, amongst the ‘banter’ surrounding my faith I had some really deep and meaningful conversations about God and the Church. Best of all, and in fact mostly, I barely ever started the conversation! If I can talk about the proof of Gods existence on a nightshift in a Prison, what can you do?
2. Be Open
Simplest way to start a conversation about being Catholic is when someone asks you what you did at the weekend? If you where at Mass say so, it is a part of your life and defines you as a Person. Why wouldn’t you tell someone? There are lots of Catholics out there who go only to Christmas or Easter Masses, even if that, but will still say when asked about faith; ‘Oh I’m Catholic or I was brought up Catholic’. This means that lots of Catholic and non may well just assume you are like that. By saying you went to Mass, and on an ordinary Sunday of all things, you’re making a statement. Your saying your faith is a serious part of your life.
People tell you all sorts of stuff about what they did or are doing – don’t be afraid to share what you are doing. Are you involved in Confirmation Classes? Pass-Keeper? Eucharistic Minister? Tell people. This has acted as a good jumping off point into deeper conversations i've been able to have with people on matters of faith. By the way – most people won’t criticise you or laugh at you for believing.
3. You don’t have to be St Thomas Aquinas
One of the biggest fears we can have when thinking about sharing our faith is getting asked a difficult question. I have to be honest with you – you will ALWAYS be thrown a difficult question that you WON’T know the answer to. But that is okay, chill out. In my experience the vast bulk of people who have asked me a difficult question are not necessarily waiting on a detailed answer with accompanying PowerPoint. They were in fact, not asking me anything, but reeling off statements of common objections to the faith, which in truth they have barely thought about. With this sort of person, you give what answer you can and pray God opens their heart to get down to what they really want answered. This may take months or years – but they have a question, everyone has a question, it is just showing someone that only God can answer it. In the meantime, love them and be an example of someone who follows God.
The smaller number of people who I met with genuine questions and wanted to know the answer will be fine with you if you say you don’t know. Just say; ‘I’ll get back to you, in the meantime look at this resource – it may help’. If they really want to know they will respect you for that.
That is just 3 simple things you can do to begin sharing your faith. There are a lot of resources out there to help you grow in your own faith knowledge and to give you tips on sharing the gospel. Why not then make personal evangelism the new normaI? I would also just like to plug one new resource, that may be of help; The 5Minute Ambo - brought to us from the St John Ogilvie Centre in Elgin. There is an array of Priests, Religious and Lay people who give a five minute explainer on each topic in the Catechism. It is followed up by more in depth information which not only is it ideal for existing Catholics, it is also a good resource for non-Catholics. Take a look.
Eric Hanna | Editor of St Moluag's Coracle