(This is a repost from 2013.)
If you were on trial today with the charge of being a Christians, would you be found guilty?
Many years ago I stood on “trial” at an RCIA class. The prosecutor accused me of praying in public before meals, having a rosary in my purse, having bibles in the trunk of my car, and telling people I would pray for them. I was convicted as charged.
We followed the trial with DC Talk’s song “What if I Stumble”, which includes this quote from Brennan Manning:
“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”
We have all heard the phrase, “Do as I say, not as I do.” As followers of Christ this goes against all we believe. We are called to be imitators of Christ, who laid down his life so that we might live.
As a person who works in a parish, I am painfully aware that I am looked at and judged. In formation my husband is constantly reminded that he, along with his family, will become “public persons” after ordination. I think, though, that we are called to be “public persons” no matter what our role is in the Church.
Does the public person you are show the world that you are a Catholic Christian or not? If you listen to the song “What if I Stumble,” you hear the question “what if I stumble?” over and over again. And in the end the answer is it doesn’t matter. What matters is getting up, moving forward, and trying again. God loves us no matter what. Stumbling is to be expected: we are only human.
Our life must show the world that Jesus is not only on our lips but in our hearts. If we are to help anyone be drawn to the faith, it will be through the lives we lead, not the words we speak.
Copyright © 2013, Deanna Bartalini