Just Do It!
One of my favorite stories is about a man who prayed constantly, asking God to let him win the state lottery. Day after day, week after week, month after month he went to Church and prayed until one day, frustrated and fed up that he hadn't so much as won five bucks, he went in front of the altar and said, "God, I have prayed so much to you over the past couple of years, but you haven't listened to my prayers. I don't believe you exist, much less answer prayers. I am leaving here and not coming back again." As he turned around to leave the Church he heard a big, booming voice say, "Will you please meet me half way you silly child and go and BUY a lottery ticket!!"
We might laugh at this joke, but it is common of so many of us who pray for things to happen without doing what is necessary to make them happen. Francis de Sales prayed that God bring the Calvinists back to Catholicism, but he also did what he could to help them on their way back. He tried speaking to them, but when he realized that they weren't inclined to listen to him as they risked facing the displeasure of their community - if not worse - he developed an alternate strategy. He composed brief essays on the issues that divided Catholics from Protestants and slipped it under their doors at night. The essays were simple explanations of why the Church believed in what it did. He believed that free from having to worry about their neighbors, the people read what he had written and come to an understanding of the truth. He was right and it wasn't long before he wasn't saying mass in empty Churches anymore. Very soon the Churches were packed!
We too need to take the necessary steps to bring people back to the faith and there are literally thousands of ways in which we can do so. Find one—or two or three or four—ways and just do it! The Holy Spirit Interactive apostolate, which now has about twenty-one ministries ranging from publishing to radio and television provides several resources to make your task easier. This website, itself, is a phenomenal resource. There are over 15,000 articles on this site, many of which explain aspects of our faith that some find confusing—like purgatory, praying to saints, indulgences, and confession. Once you read them you will discover that there are some very good and Scriptural reasons for why we believe what we believe.
Once you are convinced of these truths it will be easier for you to convince others. And if you believe that convincing others are beyond your capabilities, please bring to mind the twelve men whom Jesus called to himself a little over two thousand years ago. There was nothing really special about any of them either—other than the fact that they said yes to him. They (with one notable exception) brought the world to Christ. A couple of months ago I made a visit to the fish market with my wife and while I waited for her to finish buying some shrimp, I saw a man coming in with the catch for the day. As I observed him, not too well dressed and perhaps not too educated, I couldn't help but think that if Jesus were to come into the world today, he may have chosen a man just like him to be an apostle. And he'd have made a good one too! So can you.
But, if direct confrontation with a rebel Christian daunts you, take a page from Francis de Sales' book: slip the information under the noses of these people. In our age, we don't even need to leave our houses. All it takes is a mail forward. There is a good chance that the recipients will hit the Delete key when they sees what the subject is, but then there is good chance that they will read it and realize that Catholics are not the brainless, brainwashed people they imagine us to be, and there might be something about the Faith!
So what are you waiting for? Just do it!
May the Spirit be with you.
Copyright © Aneel Aranha. All rights reserved.