Blog & Pastor Letters

Be My Witnesses

05-21-2023Weekly ReflectionAllison Gingras

For my 40th birthday, I wished only for a fancy pedicure — a real indulgent one complete with a massage where I could relax and escape the stress of life. On my way to the appointment, I stopped for a coffee and, while in line, this nudge to be open to sharing my faith if the opportunity arose stirred in my heart. Only moments into my birthday treat pedicure — reclined, eyes closed and prepared for an hour of quiet, I hear, "Oh, you wear a crucifix, you must be Catholic. I left for a church that follows the Bible." Opening one eye and peering toward heaven, I smirked with a wry acknowledgment of recognizing the day's earlier prompting to be open to being a witness of faith. While I wouldn't say I liked the timing, I obediently sat up and offered my attention to engaging in a friendly dialog about my faith.

The nail technician and I had a delightful conversation, including Saint Jerome's work in translating the Bible, the abundance of Scripture found in a Catholic Mass, and my love of daily meditation on the Word of God. We remained respectful, enlightened, and often amazed by the numerous similarities in our spiritual journeys. Over ten years later, our paths have never again crossed, and I will never know this side of heaven if our conversation inspired her to revisit her Catholic faith. The Lord did not ask me to convert or convince but to simply witness and share all the blessings He had (and continues) to bestow in my life. To acknowledge and relate when He touched my heart and renewed my waning faith. That is the core of evangelization, telling how an encounter with Christ has changed you for the better and increased your desire to know, serve and love him even more.

Are you willing to continue the work of the Apostles, allowing the power of the Holy Spirit — received in your baptism and strengthened in your Confirmation, to encourage you to share Jesus — especially along the normal course of your day? To be open to speaking to what you believe, why you attend Catholic Mass, and help, when necessary, correct misconceptions many people hold against the Catholic faith. That morning, while I listened to this young woman explain why she left the Catholic Church, my heart hurt at how little she knew of the faith and the role that lack of catechesis played in her departure. Recognizing, as she spoke, what she sought had actually been left behind because no one taught her the truth. She left to find Jesus, but he was right there because nowhere is he more present than in the Eucharist.

Jesus promises, just before he ascends into heaven, to send the Holy Spirit. The Spirit animates us in our following Christ more closely, to know and understand what we believe, and to have the courage to proclaim what we believe. What a magnificent gift. These "special graces are given to enable [us] to spread and defend the faith by word and deed as a true witness to Christ" (Didache Bible; CCC 900). The Catholic Church is missionary. Jesus did not intend for only the Apostles to go and make disciples. We, through our baptism, are likewise commissioned to profess the faith. We must allow the plentitude of graces and blessings we receive to provide us the courage and wisdom to encourage many other souls to encounter Jesus and pursue a path to holiness and heaven.

Our goal is not only to reach the gates of heaven — the very ones Jesus opened through his love and sacrifice, but more importantly, through our own love and sacrifice, answering his call to witness to all the ends of the earth is to bring as many others with us as possible — even if it only brings us around the corner to the local salon.