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"Evangelize boldly" by Colleen Mallette (CatholicMom.com) Image credit: Pixabay.com (2015), CC0/PD[/caption] At my Catholic women’s Bible study class recently, we discussed how Catholics in general are not very good at sharing the Gospel like our Protestant counterparts. Most of us were raised to consider religion as a private matter and that we weren’t authorized to read the Bible ourselves. Most prayers are rote or written for us; and spontaneous prayer, especially spoken in front of other people, is not something we are comfortable doing. Non-Catholic Christians are also determined to make sure every person knows and proclaims devotion to Jesus so that they are “saved.” They feel it is their duty to bring up salvation in conversation so they can ensure the other person’s eternal glory. They even have a 4-step process to go through when someone says they are ready to give their lives over to Jesus. Why can’t Catholics be like this? Why do we keep our faith to ourselves and feel embarrassed or uncomfortable talking about it or praying aloud with others?  Are we any less worried about the eternal destination of those around us? I don’t think so. I believe times are changing and spirituality is a growing need in our country. I believe Catholics are getting braver and more outspoken. I am grateful that, unlike the generations before me, I own a well-worn and read Bible that I learn from daily, and that is OK with my priest. Even in this tumultuous, divided political arena in America I am glad when spirituality can be incorporated in discussions. Talk of bringing God back into the schools to correct the deterioration of family and values is so important to me. So how can we learn from our non-Catholic evangelizers?
  • Pray. When someone tells you they’d appreciate your prayers for a situation they are struggling with, take their hand and ask if you could pray for them right then either silently or aloud. Then just say what is on your heart and what you would say in the privacy of your own home, or ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words. If you don’t feel ready for this, promise to pray for them and make sure you follow through by praying and then asking about them in the upcoming days. Also, be brave and pray grace in public restaurants before meals. Pray spontaneously more frequently on your own to get more comfortable with it.
  • Talk about faith. Whether with family, friends or strangers, be willing to talk about God and what blessings He has brought into your life. Have faith-filled topics at the ready to discuss (book you are currently reading, movie you have seen recently, homily that touched you). Use the word “blessing” instead of luck or fate in discussions.
  • Be bold. Talk about the importance of church attendance, prayer in schools and sports, the grace of the sacraments our church offers, godly values needed in our government, and the importance of respect for marriage and life.
  • Study the Scriptures. Take a class if you aren’t comfortable but it is valuable to know your way around the Bible, to memorize favorite verses for sharing, to use it to grow in knowledge of Christ and the history of salvation. Learn about the St. Ignatius method of reading Scripture (by placing yourself into the story or using your senses to really involve yourself in it). Meditate after reading verses and try to apply what you learn to your life.
  • Be proud of our Catholic Church. Even with the abuse issues the Church is dealing with, we have so much history and Tradition and good priests to uphold the strength of our faith. Jesus started our Church and there are so many rich treasures in our sacraments and Holy Eucharist. We have a vibrant Pope leading us to be like Christ and he is influencing people all around the globe in a positive way.
  • Discuss with your children the differences between Catholic and Christian denominations so they understand and can uphold their faith. Pray aloud with them, read a children’s Bible with them, and be part of their sacramental preparations.
Be brave and be proud of your Catholic faith. Be accepting of all people but willing to stand up for our beliefs.
Since we have such hope, we act very boldly. (2 Cor. 3:12)

Copyright 2020 Colleen Mallette