Saturday, January 9, 2010

Who Does God Use?

My greatest joy has always been to speak, and more recently to write, about the Faith. I am not however, a professional theologian nor a philosopher - heck, I don't even play one on t.v. I do not feel particularly dismayed by that though - my favorite religious works were written by a couple of fisherman, an accountant, and a physician. Whatever our educational and occupational backgrounds, if we will just slow down enough to "sit at Jesus' feet" and listen to Him for awhile each day (speaking in Scripture, through His Church in the Catechism, during our Rosary meditations) then we're bound to learn some incredible things, things we will be dying to share with others.

Almost a decade ago, I had the great pleasure of listening to Dr. Scott Hahn speak. The most vivid memory I have of that day was hearing him talk about when Peter and John were hauled before the Sanhedrin, and quoting this verse: "Observing the self-assurance of Peter and John, and realizing that the speakers were uneducated men of no standing, they were amazed. Then they recognized these men as having been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13). That is the key to being instruments of God. The shepherd boy in Israel, an unassuming young woman of Galilee, three poor shepherd children in Portugal - it is those who place their hearts before God, very simply, that He uses to communicate with the world.

You know, I often get the impression that we are hesitant to share our enthusiasm and Faith insights with our young. "Oh, kids can't get into the Bible; it's a completely different world." "The Trinity? The hypostatic union and the intricacies of moral theology? That would be gibberish to teens!" Really? Are we talking about the same teens whose high schools offer chemistry, physics, and even calculus? The same kids who read and take tests over works of Shakespeare? And to hear an eight year-old boy explain The Lord of the Rings' Middle-Earth, or a fifteen year-old girl elaborate on the ins-and-outs of vampires and werewolves ala Twilight, I'm pretty sure they could place themselves back into the times and customs of David or Paul.

I praise God for youth ministers and programs like LifeTeen, for priests who challenge their flocks, and catechists with RCIA and adult ed. programs - but it ain't cuttin' it my friends. It's you and I who have to be raised up and empowered to share Truth if this cultural battle is to be won, if the deterioration we see all around us is to be turned back. The Church in the West could be the sleeping giant of the world. If we would awake, we could see a manifestation of Christ come to "full stature." "It was He Who gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers in roles of service for the faithful to build up the body of Christ, till we become one in faith and in the knowledge of God's Son, and form that perfect man who is Christ come to full stature." (Ephesians 4:11-13)

We must live who you are, share what we are excited about with our coworkers and friends. When someone asks if we are reading anything good, we can let them know, "I started going to this Bible study; I never realized how interesting it could be..." When someone asks you to pray for them, take a chance: "I will; but is it alright if I pray with you, right now, too?" And if they are willing, take their hands in yours and speak the simple, heartfelt words that come to mind. Let your loved one experience the Spirit loving and praying for them through you. We don't need to manufacture opportunities to share our Faith, if we're just honest about who we are and what animates us, every conversation can become an open door for God to enter others' lives. Reebok will have nothing on us (Isaiah 52:7)!

But it all comes back to spending time with Jesus - gazing upon Him in the Eucharist, in Scripture, in His Church. It is only by being fused to Him that we "uneducated men [and women] of no standing," become powerhouses. Only by sitting at His feet will we be able to simultaneously tear down what is false, and build up the Kingdom in its place - "conducting ourselves with innocence, knowledge, and patience, in the Holy Spirit, in sincere love as men with the message of truth and the power of God; wielding the weapons of righteousness with right hand and left, whether honored or dishonored, spoken of well or ill" (2 Cor.6:6-8).

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful blog post, Shane. I totally agree. It's not enough for those of us who "work" in ministry to spread the word of God. God needs to use all of us. I try to communicate that to my teens when I meet with them.