Catholics get a bad rap concerning witnessing. Often, you'll hear: "Those aren't good Christians. Why? Because they don't have the Word of God with them!" And this is true, since, as Catholics, we have sorely missed out on the importance of the Bible.
But it's not just carrying a Bible. How are we supposed to witness to others concerning our Catholic faith? Welcome to Witnessing 101.
Step 1: You can't NOT witness
Romans 1:16 says, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes it." In other words, we can't be ashamed of our faith. And for some of us, we are ashamed that we feel as if we do not have the knowledge to back our beliefs up. Yet instead of learning about our faith and witnessing about it, we prefer to stay silent. We can't stay silent.
Look at the blessings we have been given through the Catholic Church: The true presence of the Eucharist, the sacraments, the Pope, the dogmas, 2,000 years of Church tradition, teaching and wisdom. We can't not let every one we know find out about this!
Think about when you get an awesome new app on your phone. (not that I would know about this, since I am the proud partial owner of a 2009 Verizon Phone. Gasp! The horror!) When you get an amazing app, you tell everyone you know about it because it makes your life easier, and it might help them
Think about your AMAZING faith - Catholicism. When you discover your love for your faith, you should tell everyone you know about it because it makes your life holier and more pleasing to God, and it will make their life better.
Step 2: HUMILITY
Humility. This is a big part of witnessing. This is also probably the hardest step that I find to follow. When I come across someone who blatantly denies what the Church teaches and at the same time bashes me personally, the last thing I want to do is respond with humility. But this is what we have to do as witnesses.
The first step to learning your faith to become a witness is being humble. When you think of someone witnessing, sometimes the stereotype that pops in your head is a Christian who pushes the Bible down your throat. That isn't what we want to come across as because that's not what witnessing is.
In the quote above, Ken Blanchard says, "Humility does not mean you think less of yourself, it means you think of yourself less." This basically sums it up. When I say, "To witness, you must be humble," I don't mean that you think of yourself as dirt and worthless, and then go talk about this amazing, priceless faith. It means that you know you aren't conveying your opinions to people. It means that you know you are there to represent the Church's teachings. As a representative, you can't be a pompous and proud person. You have the be humble and think yourself less and the Church more.
I know that I tend to respond in a witty, albeit sarcastic, response to grab someones attention. But this isn't humble, this is not charitable. Respond with humility, and you've got it in the bag.
Step 3: Help! I don't know what to say!
The most common answer to the question: "Why don't Catholics evangelize like Protestants do?" can be answered in six words: "I don't know what to say."
I don't have a doctorate in Theology. (I wish I did - but I don't) I don't know all the answers. But you don't need a degree to witness. And you don't need all the answers to witness either. If this were so, no one could witness because no one knows all the answers.
Start by witnessing about your personal experience - how does being a Catholic change the way you live? No one can argue against your personal experience. They can ask you questions about your experience, and you'll know the answer because it's about yourstory.
Don't be afraid to, if in a conversation when you don't know the answer, simply say, "You know what, I actually don't know the answer to that question. But I know that the Church does have an answer. Let me get back to you on that one." Then, find the answers.
When you are in a witness setting and you have a friend with you to back you up, pray. When your friend is talking, pray for him/her. When you are talking, your friend should be praying for you. Pray for wisdom, along with all the other gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Step 4: Help! This guy is going to think I'm a loser
Sometimes we are afraid to talk, or even be a silent witness, because we are afraid of what someone is going to think about us. Thoughts like:
- "I know I should pray before meals. But I'm at work, and I don't what people to think I'm some religious freak."
- " I know I know the answer to that question that guy said about Catholicism. But he might have more questions that I can't answer, so I'll just be silent."
- " I know that guy over there is bashing Catholics, but I'm with my friends. Jesus said to turn the other cheek, so I'm just going to do that and not respond to him."
Take courage. Christ told us that we will be hated because the world first hated Christ. (Found in John 15:18) Being a witness for your faith isn't going to make you popular. But if your witnessing is only driven by the fact that you want to be recognized and liked, your doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.
What should drive us in witnessing is the fact that we belong to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Christ Himself. So yes, some people are going to hate you and not talk to you if you witness your Catholic faith.
On the other side of the coin, some people are going to be blessed beyond your wildest dreams by your witness. It is not your choice on who will accept and who will reject the Catholic Church. But it is up to you to be a humble witness to the Catholic Church. You can do it!
Thoughts? Comments? Can you tell me how you witness about the Catholic Faith?
God Bless you all,