Written by Sherry
Thursday, 04 January 2007 12:25
Two interesting issues are coming up in our discussions - and with the ire that these issues often arouse in Catholics. But the issues involved are too important to be dismissed.
1) Is it appropriate to ask someone where they are in their relationship with Christ?
Gina's response :
"My reaction is "hostile" because your question seems very intrusive to me as well as prideful. It's the same as those people who come up to me on the street and ask me if I'm "saved." My reaction is: "leave me alone. It's none of your business."
Fr. Mike's joke about this very issue, told in many of our Called & Gifted workshops, goes like this: What do I feel like when someone comes up to me and asks "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? I feel like they just asked "what color is your underwear? My response is: "who wants to know? That's personal!"
Yet the Church teaches that no member of the Body of Christ can avoid the responsibility to proclaim Christ to all people. Are we to proclaim Christ without any prior sense of the spiritual state of those to whom we proclaim because to inquire would be intrusive?
Are there gentle and respectful ways, fully Catholic ways, to start conversations about spiritual things and create a opportunity for people to articulate, perhaps for the first time, their lived relationship with God? This is exactly what we are wrestling with in preparation for our 4 day training seminar this summer, Making Disciples. What do you think?
2) Is the silent witness of our lives enough and/or the only appropriate form of proclamation for Catholics?
Papal teaching would seem to strongly indicate otherwise. Such as in
Silent witness alone "always remains insufficient, because even the finest witness will prove ineffective in the long run if it is not explained, justified - what Peter called always having "your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have" (1Pt. 3:15) - and made explicit by a clear and unequivocal proclamation of the Lord Jesus."
Pope Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 22.
But if silent witness isn't enough, what else are we to do and how?