Meg Herriot shares simple, real-life ideas any lay person can use to share their faith.
An acquaintance of mine was talking with some friends and a priest. He lamented that the priest gets to evangelize, but lay people really don't. He thought that lay people evangelizing meant pointing out to other people how their lives are less than Catholic.
I became rather passionate about his misunderstanding and said, "What? There are so many ways to evangelize! Just living joyfully in this broken world is evangelization in itself."
I tried to explain how I work in a very secular world. I don't even know of any other Catholics at my workplace. I don't shout from the rooftops I'm Catholic, but I don't hide it either. As a matter of fact, most people have probably figured out that I'm Catholic from a silent practice I do.
In the Workplace (and the rest of my life as well)
- Before meals or snacks, whether people are present or not, I make the Sign of the Cross.
- When someone shares a difficulty or obstacle, I ask them if they would mind if I pray for them.
- When people ask me about our adoption journey, and if we are still waiting, I share with them we have been waiting more than 4 years, and that we are open to babies with difficulties, babies with Downs Syndrome, and so on, and that there are SOOO many people waiting that our adoption agency has been closed to new waiting families for more than two years.
In the Real World (because some of us are not lucky enough to live in a monastery)
- I try to request/recommend our library purchase Catholic books. (I recommend them for the online library, so it's just a couple of steps on an app, I'm sure you could do this in-person as well). I may have already read them, but if they purchase them based on my recommendation, others will get an opportunity to read them as well.
- When I'm on the phone, even with customer service people, if an opportunity comes up to discuss prayer or faith, I will. There was one day, where I was in a bit of a hurry and the customer service representative was polite and talkative. One part of me just wanted to say, "Just fill my prescription." Instead, I kept the door open and the woman told me how her mother has been sick. I asked her what her mom's name was so we could include her in our family prayer that night. She sounded like she teared up and was so grateful for the prayers.
- Sometimes, it's just being open to situations that come up and just showing up as your authentic self.
- I sometimes have to remind myself, "I have a pro-life magnet on the back of my car." This reminder makes me more patient as a driver, and more likely to let people merge or behave in a more generous way while driving. If I'm pro-life, the message is going to be received more if I'm selfless.
- Going along with the above, thanks to my pro-life magnet, an old coworker spotted my car and knew it was my car (I had no idea she had actually noticed my magnet, as people don't always notice those things). She came out of the business she was in to find me because she noticed my car (and she disclosed, it was the magnet that confirmed to her it was my car). She then introduced me to someone who presented me with an opportunity. All because I was recognized by the magnet (and make and model) of my car. It made me think of how many more people register silent testaments such as a magnet on your car.
Living an authentic Catholic life is the BEST form of evangelization, I sometimes think. Of course I try to do other Works of Charity and kindness and discipleship. But I really think the most progress I have is just being authentic. I will often randomly have conversations that are pro-life, pro-adoption, pro-napro technology, etc.. My husband wonders how these topics ever come up, but living authentically, I find that they do. I’ve been blessed to be able to learn to be open, present a non-judgmental point of view and share my authentic Catholic values.
What suggestions do you have for evangelizing as laity?
Copyright 2022 Meg Herriot
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