A New Year's Resolution to Share the Faith
December 28, 2007
"In the gym, at the computer, during the workout ..."
But I’d still like to suggest a New Year’s resolution for all of us. The best part is that it doesn’t mean we have to push away too soon from the dinner table or get on the treadmill.
Remember the story I shared during my installation about the man who sat next to me on the plane, the man who left the church to become a Buddhist? Several days before Thanksgiving he connected with me via letter. This contact reminded me of what our earlier conversation ignited within me — a deeper desire to get excited about my faith, a deeper desire to challenge you to get excited about your faith.
Here’s what I should like to suggest again and as a New Year’s resolution for 2008: let’s get more excited about our faith.
Connect with someone
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Holy See issued an instruction in mid-December on “Aspects of Evangelization.” In it, the Holy See reminded us that every Christian is called “to proclaim Jesus Christ by one’s words and actions.” In other words, be so excited about our faith that we are willing to share it on a daily basis — at home, at work, in school, on the cell phone, at the mall, in the car, on the parkway, in the neighborhood, in the gym, at the computer, during the workout, at the check-in counter — EVERYWHERE!
I know. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do. We can be excited about our faith, but proving that excitement by letting the whole world know about it seems more than a small challenge.
Sometimes we are afraid to show excitement about our faith because we worry that we’ll make a mistake, give a wrong answer, not express something just right. BUT sharing our excitement about faith isn’t a quiz in a classroom. It’s a connection — with someone else. Through us God is connecting with someone else. The excitement we can convey to another is more important than the precision of our answer.
(Truth be told: it can be hard to convey excitement about the faith if we aren’t clear on it. Maybe we should add a resolution about reading the “U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults” and the “Catechism of the Catholic Church.” Both available at your local bookstore, Catholic and otherwise.)
An act of love
The Holy See in the recent instruction addresses a few other issues that might hold us back from showing everyone how excited we are about our faith in Jesus. We might be worried that any attempt to present our faith to others might be offensive to their beliefs. BUT when we share excitement about our faith with another, we are responding to their right to hear about Jesus and our responsibility to share Jesus. Sharing is neither coercion nor intrusion. We are letting others know what gets us excited.
We can lose our excitement about sharing the faith by being indifferent, when we let society tell us it doesn’t really matter what people believe. BUT sharing our faith with those who do not know Christ is an act of love, sharing what has made all the difference in our lives. Deciding that we won’t share our faith contradicts all that Jesus expects us to do — shout him in our words and in our deeds, and in our plans!
2008 is just around the corner — a time to get excited about our faith, so excited that we can’t help sharing it with others.
If we lose a little weight or read a good book because of our New Year’s resolutions, that’s a pretty good thing. But if each and every one of us can keep our resolution to be excited about our faith, it’s not just a good thing. It can change the world!
How excited are you, how excited am I, how excited are we about our faith?