The Hardest Part

… is often the most simple.

Let me be frank. I love Jesus. I love being a part of His Catholic Church. And sometimes the only thing that I really care about is whether or not people are Catholic Christians living in relationship with God. I just want to run around the world making lots of Catholics! I am a missionary for crying out loud, haha. But God reminded me of something very important this week.

I was leading one of my bible studies and a new guy was there who I met recently, so I was pretty excited to get to know him. I knew that he wasn’t Catholic going into it, and that made me even more excited because this way I can not only share Jesus with him but I am hoping that one day I can actually share His Church with him too! Doubleplusgood!

The group of us had a great study and were just chilling talking about semi-related topics after I basically gave them a Gospel presentation when this guy said something that was simultaneously a great compliment and a revelation. “You know, Chris, you’re probably the first Catholic that I’ve ever met that actually loves Jesus and lives like a Christian.”

Oh.

He went on as I walked him over to our Newman Center on campus, sharing how he’s encountered a bunch of Catholics and even attended a Catholic college for a couple of years, but they all didn’t actually practice the faith and were always becoming agnostics and atheists. I have a hunch he was telling me all this to convince me that because many Catholics are not faithful, I should leave the Church and become a Presbyterian like him. But I took his point a different way: he wasn’t worried about theology as much. The reason why he wasn’t even remotely interested in becoming Catholic is because he’s never seen Catholics act like Christians. He’s never seen Catholic saints!

Ohhhhhh!!!

Thank you God for this minor yet ridiculously simple revelation. You don’t convert the average Joe to Christianity (or specifically Catholicism) through your theology. You convert them by demonstrating how through your faith your heart has been converted to Jesus. Often this is not what we want to hear: we want to hear how we can change people’s lives without actually changing our own, by some sort of formula or logic. No. Give Jesus saints and He WILL change the world.

You know, half or more of this blog is apologetics. I’ve got a scientific, rational mind. I feel very comfortable arguing for the existence of God, the reality of Jesus, and the authenticity of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church. But what this blog, argumentation, logic, and mere words cannot ever do is replace a life lived completely for Jesus. Bl. Mother Teresa has probably converted more people through less words than anyone else in this past century. She did not draw people to Jesus through her fancy speeches at the United Nations or Harvard but by her entire life lived in complete surrender to God. People are curious what it is about Jesus that made her give up everything for Him, so they look into Jesus more. People nowadays can’t see, hear, or touch Jesus (besides the Holy Eucharist you nerds), but they sure as heck can see, hear, or touch you and I as members of the Body of Christ!

Pope Francis and all these wonderful popes in recent memory have been working to make the Church as beautiful as she should be for Jesus, and of course the Holy Spirit is doing all of the heavy lifting, but you and I need to answer this call! We need to wholeheartedly embrace the Gospel. Preaching it is good, but if it isn’t lived, it is not effective. People nowadays don’t listen well anyways, but maybe they’ll notice a witness.

“The new evangelization will show its authenticity and unleash all its missionary force when it is carried out through the gift, not only of the word proclaimed, but by the word lived.” – Bl. Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor

“We shouldn’t just wait for the wounded to come to us; we go out and reach for them.” – Pope Francis

Mother Teresa in Calcutta

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10 thoughts on “The Hardest Part

  1. Very valid point! I had someone say almost the same thing to me this summer – “I’ve never met a real, practicing Catholic!” Let’s change that. 😀 I’d also like to leave the powerful words that Pope Paul VI said:

    “‘Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if it does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.’ … It is primarily by her conduct and by her life that the Church will evangelize the world, in other words’ by her living witness of fidelity to the Lord Jesus — the witness of poverty and detachment, of freedom in the face of the powers of this world, in short, the witness of sanctity”

  2. Chris,

    Your blog is awesome, and this post is so true. A big thing that turned me off for so many years was the Catholics I had met — they didn’t seem to truly follow Christ or live for Him, unlike my Protestant friends and churches. Meeting Catholics on fire for Christ for the firs time in college, their love for Him and desire for everyone (unsaved and Protestants) to enter His Catholic Church was what initially caused me to research Catholicism 3 years ago as a lifelong Presbyterian Protestant. I entered full communion a few months ago; my blog about it is here (www.seekingtofindhim.wordpress.com), if you’re interested. Keep loving the Lord and letting Him use you, all for His glory! I’ll be praying for your Presbyterian friend, that God opens his heart and mind to objectively consider the claims of the Church.

    God Bless,

    Christie

  3. I recently was invited to our local Newman House on Campus and had a wonderful experience with devout university Catholics. It was a fantastic experience. Sometimes, sitting down with other Catholics makes a world of difference!

    Happy Advent! (even though I’m a day early). God bless Chris.

      • I (have been) and am, going through a serious time of reflection and discernment since entering the RCIA to come into full communion with the Church. In doing so, I felt it appropriate to withdraw some of my prior writings that I could no longer consciously continue to endorse.

        Cheers! and God bless Chris!

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