So my eleven year old came home from school the other day sad, confused, and perplexed. At his age one would think it had to do with girls, but today it had to do with with religion and his friends. One of his good friends claimed that he wasn’t Christian because Catholics aren’t Christians. My son in his infant wisdom on the Church argued that he was Christian and in fact Catholics are the 1st Christians (good job!), but he couldn’t convince his friend. In fact, the teacher had to separate the kids in class because the argument got heated with no budging. Then as I probed more into the conversation he was having with his friends, I discovered that my son regularly talks to his friends about religion (what 11 year old does this?). In the past he has argued infant baptism, sacrament of reconciliation, and salvation just to name a few things. Today his sad conclusion to the entire situation is that yes the Catholic Church has the fullness of faith, but they (protestant Christians) were more on “fire”. He even criticized me for not being on “fire” enough. He claims that I need to talk about Jesus more with my friends and let them know their errors and defend our faith. OUCH!!!
Well that was a kick in the stomach. In some ways he is right, I could be more on “fire”, and in other ways he is way off base. My husband and I are not apologists, but if a debate comes up, we certainly could defend Catholic Church teaching. As a couple we have preferred to “preach the Gospel at all times and use words if necessary” (St. Francis? although I heard he never said this). We have quietly lived our Catholic Christian faith instead of boldly preaching/debating with others. We thought this was a softer approach and didn’t alienate any family and friends who did not believe. So many people “preach”, we thought walking the walk was enough.
My son’s remarks reminded me that I need to do a better job of sharing my personal faith with him. He doesn’t read what I post on my blog about Jesus and Grace. I don’t share with him that I am quietly praying for a close friend to convert. I don’t let him know the reason I bring blessed palm leaves to our neighbor (former Catholic) every Palm Sunday, is that I hope they return to their Catholic Church. I need to share with him the subtle ways that I go about my evangelization. I need to show him that I am on “fire” for Jesus and that He is the center of my life. With that being said, I need to do more talking! It’s time for this family to be unapologetically Catholic. I am not talking about going door to door engaging people, but not holding our tongues when our Church and Faith is criticized. I need to offer the truth about Jesus to those around me who need to hear the message. I need to take a lesson from my son on how to be bold and talk with friends about our church. I need to show my son that Catholics are just as on “fire” for our Lord as our protestant counterparts.
I am on board and so is my husband, but are you fellow Catholics? Can we be the light that our church and people of other denominations need? Do we hear what Blessed Pope John Paul II said at World Youth Day 2000? “If you are what you should be, you can set the world on fire.” It’s a group effort I think. I don’t want my son to be anymore discouraged then when he came home the other day. Our Church has the fullness of Jesus Christ. We need to get excited and unite all Christians together and restore the Body of Christ. Yes, live your faith, but let’s not forget to speak too!
Need inspiration? Listen to this song, Go Light Your World by Kathy Troccoli