July 30, 2013
"Go out and spread your faith to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent. The Church needs you, your enthusiasm, your creativity, and the joy that is so characteristic of you."  (Pope Francis, WWD 2013)

Those can sound like scary words. I try to picture myself a street preacher, or going to a ravaged inner city, and I feel very, very anxious. I protest that I cannot do such things, I'm not made for such work. Could God really be calling me so far out of my comfort zone? On Copacabana Beach, our Holy Father spoke a message of getting messy and shaking things up; simplifying and going back to basics. The last bit I can do; the first bit makes me nervous.

But Pope Frances also told us to have courage.  "Follow the Lord with courage right to the end. You are never alone!" he told the gathered millions during the Way of the Cross.

Do not be afraid.  How to answer this call of going and spreading the faith will be different for each of us, but we each of us can - and must - do so. We each have gifts the world so urgently needs. We each of us is a beautiful and unique reflection of God's love and we must share it with the world.

Do not be afraid. Pray. Pray for the courage to be bold, and pray for the wisdom to know how to make use of your gifts for the good of souls.

First, you must encounter Christ personally. You cannot share what you do not have. Meet Him on the Cross. It is our crucified Lord who is with the poor, the hungry, the persecuted, the disillusioned. It is your crucified Lord who is with you in your moments of pain and doubt and loneliness.

Go and share Christ. Wherever you are in life, there are people who need the gift of faith. Sharing Christ with the family is vital, as the family is where faith is formed. We all have family - children, cousins, nieces and nephews, step-brothers and sisters, in-laws, great-aunts and uncles, God parents.

Whether we leave our homes to go to work or run errands, we encounter people every day for whom you may be the only source of light. Not the slums of Rio, but still a soul deserving to know its dignity.

The Gospel: relevant to all peoples

Approach people with a spirit of openness, without prejudice. Be willing to hear what that person has to tell you. But when it comes to the point, do not be afraid to offend with the Truth. Compromise in matters of faith and morals - in matters of sin - is not love.

Bringing someone to an encounter with Christ needn't be dramatic. If we are true to ourselves, courageous in faith, and generous with our gifts, it will happen naturally, and probably without our being aware of it.  The most important thing is that we be willing to place our hands and feet at the service of God as He wills.



  1. Thank you, Elena.
    Watching WYD from afar was very inspiring.

  2. I once was told not evangelize at work that it wasn't the place to do this. This advice was not from the company I work for but by my former parish priest. I was stunned to say the least. No, I don't get in anyones face about my faith. As a matter of fact I don't actually say anything about my faith unless someone is having a conversation with me at work and they say something that I disagree with. That is the opening I look for. They offered their opinion and now it gives me the right to offer my own and why I think as I do. NO one has ever said that I was pushing my faith on them. My work is really the only place where I encounter people and having a one on one discussion is possible. I work long hours so I don't have much free time to socialize otherwise so I make the best of it; I evangelize at work. Sometimes there are no conversations so I use my actions towards others as my way of communicating.

    People are so afraid of offending others with their faith. Why?? Because we have been conditioned over the years to think that no religion is superior to another, that what is right for you may not be right for someone else and anything less than acceptance of anothers beliefs, faith or opinions is judgemental. It is hard to get over this fear of being offensive, yet we have no choice but to speak the truth and if the truth offends someone there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. We cannot control another's reactions to the truth.

    My mother told me last week that her best friend had a big problem with Pope Francis and she fears that she may leave the Church continue to say uncharitable things about him. I asked her if she tried speaking to her, asking what it was she disliked about the Pope etc. She replied, no, she just let's her talk and doesn't say a word. I told my mother that it was her responsibility and her duty to help her friend as a Catholic. We are called to instruct the ignorant. Others, like my mother are so afraid of possibly being contentious that they clam up when it comes to speaking the Truth or instructing those that are confused about their faith. As Catholics, we have no choice but to go out and 'teach all nations'. Being silent about our faith is not an option, no matter how difficult it is, and difficult it can be.

    As was said in your article Tess, we don't have to be bombastic about spreading the Truth, but neither should we fear being ridiculed or persecuted as stand up for our faith. Ridicule, threats and persecution is part and parcel of being a Catholic and today we are seeing this in all its glory. Great post Tess!

  3. Dear Ordinary Catholic, you are a real soldier for the Kingdom. God bless your great love for God and sharing His truth with all. Thank you for the encouragement you give others to not be afraid, and to speak the Truth in love. May the good you do, that you do not even know about, be multiplied and lead many souls to Christ. And thank you, too, for sharing your thoughts and encouragement here with us. God bless you!



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