by Kendra Chisolm
Last may, my friend updated her Facebook status, expressing her frustration towards a law regarding contraception and religious convictions. I immediately, and passionately, typed a lengthy paragraph addressing the issue in a way that I thought was logical, in hopes that she would see truth in what I said. Instead, however, my words sparked a hate-filled debate where I was ridiculed for my “crazy beliefs”. I chose not to further the conversation, but already two of my close friends, women who I’ve been praying for, had disagreed with me as well. I’d let myself get carried away, and I worried that, as a result, my friends would turn even further away from Christ.
The Holy spirit was quick to remind me not to dwell on my mistakes; however, it was evident that He wanted me to learn and grow from this situation. It is inevitable, when we choose to live a Christ-centred life, that we will face “issues”. It’s almost as if you become a magnet that attracts opportunities to have conversations about the most controversial rules, laws, teachings, and practices that relate to the faith.
I know that before I chose to have a personal relationship with Jesus, I turned a blind eye to nearly any topic that would cause conflict. As I grew in my love for Him, it became impossible to remain quiet or indifferent when He or His Church was being terribly misunderstood. After all, since we are missionary by nature, it is the natural desire of our hearts to bring others to know the Truth. Trouble arises when we forget that the Truth is a person. He is the only one who is capable of healing wounds, changing hearts, and satisfying our thirst for love.
We find ourselves discouraged when we fail to “win people over” with our knowledge, our experience, or our gifts, but the reason that our efforts fall short is that we are losing sight of our main goal in evangelization. we must be focused, first and foremost, on introducing those who are lost to the person of Jesus Christ. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, eloquently expressed what we should be constantly aware of in our hearts:
“Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction” – Deus Caritas Est
When the person who you want to share Jesus with encounters His personal love for them, and when he/she chooses open their heart to Him, He will convince them of and reveal to them what is true. But on our own, we can do nothing.
There is no way to completely avoid “issues”, and it is certainly not our call as Catholics to silently slip out of sight when we encounter questions or comments about the more provocative beliefs we hold. what is important is that we don’t enter into conversations with others, looking to prove them wrong or prove ourselves right. We should receive the souls in which God entrusts to us with gentle and contrite hearts, and ask Him to help us be docile so that we may do or say whatever He needs us to, in order that they may know Jesus. In the beautiful words of Saint Edith stein, “If anyone comes to me, I want to lead them to Him.