For many years as a Catholic if I heard someone talking about how they witnessed about their faith, specifically about Jesus Christ, I instantly thought they were either a Protestant or Evangelical. I would think, “Catholics are certainly not ‘Holy Rollers’! trying to force their religion onto someone else by claiming they need Jesus Christ!”
Did you once think that as a Catholic? Can you imagine St Paul thinking this! The news headline would read, “The Great Roman Soldier Christian persecutor experiences great conversion in Jesus Christ, but remains silent!”
In this blog post I want to share 5 important aspects when sharing your story.
We all know Saint Paul didn’t remain silent. We also know the impact that he made in the lives of others and Christianity. The foundation to his witness was his conversion encounter with Jesus Christ and how it impacted his life. You too are called to witness about your conversion encounter and ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ. Now I see how important it is for Catholics to share their witness and the impact it can make in parishes today.
Each Catholic is called by God to be ‘missionary’. To carry the Gospel message into other people’s lives. It is the very nature of being a Christian. We only come to realize this through our own personal relationship with Christ.
An important aspect of being ‘missionary’ is to be a witness of your encounter with Christ. And I believe it is easier than most Catholics think, we just need a little guidance. Right now there are so many parishes that need people to share with others their story and embrace ‘mission’. So I am going to briefly mention 5 important aspects I believe can encourage you.
Know Your Story
When speaking, I always like to be clear with Catholics about ‘Knowing Your Story’. I am not talking about telling your ‘Catholic Story’. I love my Grandmother and ‘yes’ she was very instrumental in my Catholic upbringing. I know many of you have a similar story about the influence of your grandmother. I have heard them over and over again….lol
What I mean about ‘Knowing Your Story’ is your own personal journey as you have awakened to the importance of a more personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. That story!
There is a wonderful training from The Catherine of Siena Institute called, “Ananias”. Within this formation you learn how to ‘Trace Your Journey’. You discover who were the people along the way that helped you realize the importance of having a more personal relationship with Christ and the relevant impact on your life. This personal discernment and experience really changed a lot for me. Trace Your Journey focuses on The Thresholds we encounter along our own journey with Christ. To learn more about the thresholds you can click here.
Be genuine and relevant
Knowing your own personal story allows others to genuinely experience how your faith and relationship with Jesus Christ is relevant to your daily life. Today’s society is more interested in your own personal story than a ‘catechetical teaching’ of religion. Even our contemporary popes [Pope Paul VI to Pope Francis] have said in their own ways that people are more willing to listen to ‘witnesses’ than teachers (EN 41).
Personal Encounter with the Gospel
Share your encounters with the Gospel. How has your personal encounter and relationship with Jesus Christ awaken the relevancy of his words and deeds to your life. The Gospels are not only historical accounts of Jesus and those who heard him. The Gospels, ‘The Good News’, are personal interactions between you and Jesus Christ. Share how they have healed you, strengthened you, and led you into a greater sense of joy in your relationship with God.
Ok so maybe your encounter with Jesus Christ wasn’t so powerful that you were thrown from a horse like St Paul. However, what you should reflect on and be able to witness is how your encounter with Jesus has been life changing for you. You can reflect on how his ‘words and deeds’ have changed your heart and how your relationship has brought real joy and peace to your life. This is God’s grace transforming you.
Do you believe the majority of people are searching for Hope?..I do! I believe most people seek hope because they encounter personal challenges and pain in their lives. Simply put the very ‘sinful nature’ of humanity. Christian’s believe God’s salvation plan conquers this through Jesus Christ. So when you witness, have faith that there will be people who will be able to relate to your story. Your witness story generally is the invitation for others to consider how their lives can be different in Christ. Your witness just may be heard at the right moment for someone. Remember the Holy Spirit is at work through us for the good of the other. But if I am asked to share my witness, I always like to add how I am always open to having a more personal conversation over a cup of coffee.
If you would like to share with me some of your own experiences or thoughts please send me a note through the message form below!
Your friend in Christ,