A few weekends ago I went on retreat at our local retreat center. One of the talks focused on the obstacles to being Church. The priest named what he considered the three root causes: individualism, with relativism embodied in it, hedonism, and minimalism.
We can argue there should be four or something could be added but that is not the point. As I listened to his talk it became more and more clear that all of those “isms” harm individuals rather than help them, but are not seen as harmful at all.
In my lifetime (barley half a century) these obstacles have become so common that they are accepted as the status quo and few people work against them. But that is exactly what we are called to do by virtue of our baptism and confirmation. We are temples of the Holy Spirit and as such responsible to how we present ourselves to the world.
As part of a small faith community and having read many books on spirituality, the saints and evangelization, I think there is an answer to combat the “isms”.
First we must begin in prayer—not only vocal or memorized prayers, but also silent prayer or meditation where we spend time in the presence of God.
Then we need to begin to study by reading scripture, Catholic books, websites or listening to podcasts and CDs.
Next, do something with what you learn—tell a friend, loan the book, or send a link to the podcast.
The last piece is to share what God has given you with others. This sharing includes your time, your abilities and your money.
I also believe that we must stop looking to others to do the heavy lifting and do it ourselves. It is not just Father’s or Sister’s or Deacon’s job to lead others to the Church, it is up to us.
Combating the “isms” of our time is done in our families, with our friends and in whatever surroundings we find ourselves on a regular basis. When I attend and/or facilitate parish studies it frustrates me to hear everyone’s opinion about what “people” need to do about whatever issue we are discussing. We are the “people.”
It reminds me of the story about Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. An important job had to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everyone’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. So Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done in the first place.
I may be naive but I do not think sharing our faith is that complicated. If we are living our faith out with joy in our daily lives people will be drawn to us. Then we can share our faith and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
Copyright © 2013, Deanna Bartalini
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