You’ve probably heard the question, “If you went on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” It’s not a bad way to examine yourself. When you reflect upon your life, do people know you’re Catholic? Are you living your Catholic faith intentionally, with prayerful purpose? Are you living your Catholic faith out loud?
For instance, think of your house. When guests come over, do they see a home that reflects your faith or simply a place where people live? No one is suggesting you have to turn your home into a shrine, but if you are serious about your faith, your home should certainly be the “domestic church” we are called to create. A prayer space, crucifixes, a picture of the Holy Father and many other items are a great reminder to all that this home is dedicated to God.
Speaking of a prayer space, one can easily create this. You don’t need an entire room; a nook or corner will do. Even young children can help with the creation and use of a family prayer space. A comfortable chair, a small table to hold a Bible and other reading material, a votive candle and a small crucifix or picture makes for an easy-to-do space for personal prayer and meditation.
Many of us like to decorate our vehicles. If you do, are those stickers compatible with the faith? We don’t want to give the world the impression that our faith is something we leave at church, so a bumper sticker that is off-color or mean-spirited is in contradiction to our faith. And let’s not forget driving itself! Are we kind when we drive? Do we give in to road rage? The ultimate goal is to get everyone to where they are going safely. A short prayer before we even start the engine can keep us “on track” in our vehicles.
Most of us can display items on or around our work space. If possible, make sure your desk has a Catholic “spirit” about it (Yes, sadly it’s true that some work places restrict this sort of thing.) A small cross, a prayer card, a favorite Scripture verse – all of these are great for us but can also start conversations with co-workers about faith and its centrality in our lives. If you can’t put up such items, you can still live out your faith at work by the way you speak about others, refusing to gossip or speak poorly of someone, being ethical and kind in your work.
Even a trip to the grocery store gives opportunities to share your faith. Let’s say the cashier has some dog tags around her neck (this is a true story!). You ask her about them, and she tells you they are a copy of her son’s dog tags. He is a combat soldier, and works in very dangerous places. You ask his first name, and she tells you. You promise to pray for his safety. A simple gesture like this is another way to live your faith “out loud.”
Remember, we are not meant to be “show offs” or holier than thou. However, Christ is very clear: we are to go out and make disciples of all nations. In order to do that, people need to know that we are persons of faith, open to questions, dialogue and that we are someone who prays with intent. Learning to not be shy about sharing the Good News and being open to situations like the ones above can help lay the groundwork for opportunities to share Jesus with someone.