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Where Prayerful Hands Serve With Love

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Knights Essay Contest

Madeleine O’Kray Essay – December 2022

ESSAY TOPIC: Explain how young Catholics can evangelize our faith to families and friends who have turned away from religion and encourage them to return to the Church and embrace the sacraments.

When you love someone, you want to make that person happy. Love is meant to be shared. However, when loved ones cannot or will not take part in your joy, a deep sadness is often experienced. Catholics who hold their Faith dear feel this sorrow when loved ones reject Catholicism. Whether these loved ones are distanced from God by their own indifference, lack of faith, or prejudice, their spiritual chasm is pitiful. It can be difficult evangelize to them and help them return to the Sacraments. For young Catholics, who are still learning the Faith, it can be especially hard to engage with and to teach those estranged from the Church. As a young person myself, I believe the most engaging tools for evangelizing family and friends are threefold: instruction, imitation, and intercession.

The first technique is actually one of the seven spiritual works of mercy: instructing the ignorant. By educating loved ones about the Faith, you are sharing the most intimate part of yourself. Just as you might share and discuss your favorite books or movies, telling others about Catholicism encourages a closer relationship. There are many ways for imparting information on the Church. Handing out booklets or pamphlets on Church doctrine is one way. Another is technology; informative sites like Formed, EWTN, and Catholic Answers can be life-changing. Probably the best technique to instruction is invitation. Inviting lapsed Catholics to Mass or joint prayer is a wonderful, easy introduction to the most powerful components of Catholicism.

Secondly, imitation of the saints and their virtues prompts you to “remove the beam in your own eye” first (Matt 7.3). In other words, make sure that being a good Catholic precedes urging others to follow your Creed. To become a better Catholic, the first steps include abiding by the Church’s laws and participating in Her Sacraments. Strengthening your soul prepares you for leading others to the Truth. Besides, exemplifying the joy of Christian living usually fosters another’s desire to imitate your way of life. So many people are converted simply by witnessing a Catholic’s holy example. Furthermore, a purposeful, virtuous life is a happy one. Who knows? You might attract converts solely by your radiant love of God.

Finally, you can never pray enough for family and friends separated from the Church. Intercession to God and the saints on their behalf should accompany every evangelizing action. Prayer is not a last resort in troublesome times but a constant conversation with your Creator and Best Friend. One holy woman, St. Monica, testified to prayer’s power. For almost three decades she interceded for her wayward son. Through her prayerful persistence he eventually converted and even became a bishop and saint! It might be helpful to ask saints like St. Monica to pray for a loved one. Novenas, nine-day prayers, and Rosaries are also valuable forms of prayer. Of course, the greatest prayer is the Holy Mass. Taking your worries (and love ones) to Jesus in the Tabernacle is the best you could possibly do.

Therefore, these three steps for young Catholics—instruction, imitation, and intercession— constitute a sure method for evangelizing family and friends. The Catholic Church is the most precious treasure you possess, so you definitely want others to share in it, too. Before you proceed in winning hearts for God, however, you must ascertain whether or not your own heart is totally His. You mustn’t preach what you don’t practice! Lastly, intercession begs all Heavenly beings to assist family or friends to accept the True Faith. Remember, though, that love and friendship are never aggressive, so forcing and pressuring others to convert is unacceptable. God Himself never forces your free will. All that being said, be ever ready to defend and share the Faith (1 Peter 3.15). Your friends’ and family’s happiness depends on your persistent love in evangelization.