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The Fr. Mike Schmitz Catholic Podcast
9 minutes | 3 days ago
The Absolute Necessity of Saying "Thank You"
When was the last time you told God “thank you”? We live in an extremely hectic world, full of distractions, complaining, and longing for things we don’t have. And while it can be good to look at the things we do have and count up our blessings, how often do we then turn to God and thank him for those gifts? God is the reason we have anything in this life. Even our very existence day-to-day is a gift. There’s nothing better than thankfulness—and nothing worse than unthankfulness. We can all point out moments in our lives where we failed to be thankful, and it often leads to general feelings of unhappiness. So how do we stop feeling this way? How do we practice thankfulness more? There’s a simple solution: every morning and evening, ask the Holy Spirit to help you count your blessings, and then thank the Lord for all those gifts. St. Paul echoes this in his letter to the Thessalonians, saying that we should give thanks in everything we have and everything we are able to do. It’s what we are called to do as Christians, and it’s how we can reverence God and all he’s given us every day. The person who continually gives thanks is a person who is seeking God’s plan in their life. And one of the greatest gifts that comes from this attitude of gratitude is that every day becomes an opportunity to use those blessings. The celebration of the Mass is a very specific way we can express this gratitude towards God. The word Eucharist literally means “thanksgiving”! It’s in the Mass that we profess our love for Christ’s sacrifice, and thank him by performing a like sacrifice with the body and blood. We can go to Mass every day, and we can give thanks every day. And the beautiful thing about gratitude is that, the more we practice it, the more God will reveal blessings around us. Do you seek authentic joy for the life you’re living? Practice thanksgiving towards God.
6 minutes | 10 days ago
Let Yourself Wrestle with God
Have you ever felt like God really wanted you to do something, but you just weren’t ready for it? Maybe it’s a big life change, a relationship, or a vocation, but there’s something holding you back from saying yes to God’s call. People may be inclined to think that this is a bad thing, and might put themselves down, saying they aren’t open to God’s will in their lives. But what if this back-and-forth with God is the one thing we need to really say yes? When we wrestle with God, we’re not only engaging in relationship with him, but we’re being truly honest with him. He desires conversation with us, and it’s in wrestling with what God wants for our lives that we conform our hearts to his. We may think we know God’s vocation for us, or his plan for our life, and that may scare us. But the truth is, we will never really be sure what God wants us to do until he really shows us. We can project sometimes. Right now, all he wants us to do is be his: to dedicate ourselves and our lives to him and his works, and to live every day as an opportunity to reach holiness. Don’t pick a fight with God, thinking we know what he may want us to do someday. But don’t be afraid to wrestle with him today, because it can give us the strength and understanding needed to do his will.
9 minutes | 16 days ago
Living Life Through the Lens of Scripture
We all see the world through our own lens. The media we partake of—the news we read, the podcasts we listen to, the videos we watch—shapes that lens. But Fr. Mike says there’s one thing that should be shaping our lens more than anything else: scripture. Fr. Mike has read The Fulfillment of All Desire by Ralph Martin many times, and one point that Mr. Martin makes that has stuck with Fr. Mike is that every saint had a Biblical worldview. The lens through which they saw the world was the Bible, and that changed everything. We read, watch, and listen to a lot of things. But what are those books, articles, shows, and podcasts leaving us with? How are they shaping us? Fr. Mike makes sure to only spend time with media that will give him insight, media that’s worth his time. But more and more, perhaps like you, he’s been yearning for more of a Biblical worldview, and that seems to be scarce. That’s when Father decided to make the change he wanted to see. In the Bible in a Year podcast, Fr. Mike Schmitz walks you through the entire Bible in 365 episodes, providing commentary, reflection, and prayer along the way. Unlike any other Bible podcast, Ascension’s Bible in a Year Podcast follows a reading plan inspired by The Great Adventure Bible Timeline, a ground-breaking approach to understanding salvation history developed by renowned Catholic Bible teacher Jeff Cavins. With this podcast, you won’t just read the Bible in a year … you’ll finally understand how all the pieces of the Bible fit together to tell an amazing story that continues in your life today! The more you read the Bible, the more you realize that the story of salvation is your story. As the author of Ecclesiastes reminds us, “there is nothing new under the sun.” The rise and fall of kings, the struggle between good and evil, the fight to be faithful in a broken world. The deeper you dive, the more familiar you’ll find it. This is the perspective that the saints had: a Biblical worldview. You can sign up to get updates on the podcast as the release date approaches (January 1st, 2021) as well as download the reading plan so that you can follow along (https://tinyurl.com/yyhc2pcj). If you don’t already have The Great Adventure Bible, you can get one at Ascension (https://tinyurl.com/y56z8l9l) so that you’re reading the same translation as Fr. Mike. It’s also the only Bible with The Great Adventure Bible Timeline built in—the same system that Father will be using for the podcast. If you prefer to read in Spanish, Ascension just released The Great Adventure Bible en Español as well (https://tinyurl.com/yyonobmf). You can find The Bible in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz) on Apple Podcasts (https://tinyurl.com/y6n6ectu), Spotify (https://tinyurl.com/yylr9r3x), or anywhere else you listen to podcasts. God bless you!
9 minutes | 24 days ago
The Virtue That Takes Virtue to the Next Level
Fr. Mike introduces us to the virtue that makes other virtues excellent: magnanimity. If someone asked you what the most essential virtues are, you might say humility, faith, hope, or love. But have you ever heard of the virtue of magnanimity? What this virtue does is it magnifies—or makes greater—other virtues within someone. In other words, it’s to strive for excellence. This is not to be confused with the vice of pride, which relies on the gifts of oneself without acknowledging any help that may come from another person or even God. Instead, a magnanimous person sees the gifts God has given them and chooses to emphasize them in their life as a way to honor him. Consequently, every saint must be magnanimous; they must be great for the Lord. Even saints who have the most different and opposite lifestyles become one in the same, purely through their desire to be excellent, not for the sake of themselves, but as a “thank you” to the Lord. One way to strive for magnanimity is to avoid the temptation to it’s opposing vice, which is pusillanimity. Pusillanimity is the direct opposite of magnanimity: it’s to shy away from the gifts God has given you, out of timidity. This is different from humility, because where humility is acknowledging that your gifts are not your own, pusillanimity is refraining from using those gifts in the first place. By embracing the gifts God has given us and using them to glorify him, we are being magnanimous. It doesn’t matter what stage of life you’re in, how old you are, or what your gifts consist of. All of us have the opportunity to be magnanimous, and all of us have the opportunity to be saints.
8 minutes | a month ago
Regret vs. Repentance
Fr. Mike talks about how to regret things we’ve done without staying stuck in the past. Have you ever heard the saying “don’t regret the past, because it’s made you into the person you are today?” Maybe you’ve heard something similar to that, and while there’s truth to this saying, there’s also something that we as Christians should be aware of. Sometimes we make mistakes. We do things we wished we hadn’t. Sometimes, we hurt those we love in the process. We never want to live in the past—burdened by the mistakes we’ve made—but it’s safe to say that all of us have done things that didn’t make us the people God wants us to be. There’s a difference between regret and repentance, and it can be best seen when comparing St. Peter to Judas. Both men sinned gravely against the Lord: Peter denying him during the time of his Passion and Judas delivered him to crucifixion. The difference is, where Peter regretted his sins and repented, Judas let his sin consume him. It’s okay to regret the things we’ve done in the past that took us away from the path of God, but we can’t dwell in this regret. Instead, we have to do something about it. We have to repent. Repentance is what gives us the strength to forgive ourselves and continue striving for the kingdom of Heaven. When we repent, we surrender ourselves and our mistakes to the Lord, and then he can use those mistakes to glorify our lives. God can use everything—even our worst sins—for our path towards eternity. Nothing given to God is ever wasted.
9 minutes | a month ago
Why Married Couples Must Be Open to Children
Do you have any “expectations” when you think about marriage? A lot of us probably think of marriage as broadly the same thing: two people coming together in love to spend the rest of their lives together. But when we start to dive into the specifics of that idea, it’s important to recognize what expectations are of the world, and which are of God. One of these expectations could be the willingness to have kids. The Church teaches, however, that in the case of sacramental marriage, it is asked and even expected of the couple that they be open to life throughout their marriage. This is why the priest performing the ceremony and marriage prep asks the couple if they are freely, fruitfully, fully, and faithfully entering the sacrament with their spouse. Unfortunately, our world often tells us that marriage doesn’t need to be open to life. People will even sometimes say it’s selfish and reckless to bring children into a world that is so broken. But the truth of the matter is that a marriage can’t be sacramental without an openness to life, and that’s a big deal. Children are the purpose of marriage. It’s the one relationship where people have kids. Now, of course, people have sex outside of marriage that could result in kids, but we recognize that the act of sex is best placed in the context of a commited, lifelong relationship, such as marriage. Because of this, an openness to children must be present in a relationship for that couple to pursue a sacramental marriage. It’s a gift of self to another, ordered towards the procreation and education of children. Now, what about couples who can’t have kids, or are past the age of childbearing? Those marriages are no less sacramental than the ones that have children, so long as they’re still open to the procreation of children. It’s the orientation towards the task of procreation that’s important, not the achievement of it. Bottom line is, sacramental marriage is a gift of self towards another, totally, fruitfully, fully, and faithfully. Without an openness to life and the procreation of children, this gift of self is not full, and therefore does not hold the ability to be a sacrament of God. It’s an essential part of God’s plan for romantic intimacy, and must be separated from whatever “expectations” the world may have for marriage.
10 minutes | a month ago
Why You Can’t Put Your Faith in People
Have you ever been shaken by a scandal in the Church? It’s hard not to have been, especially amidst scandals on a major scale or ones involving people we’ve looked up to and loved. When these things come to light, it’s common for people to start to blame the Church, and—sometimes—to leave their faith. If we feel the need to reexamine our belief in God and the Church because of something someone else did, maybe our faith should have been in God and not a person who’s broken just like us. We’re incredibly blessed to have such a vast community of Christian believers in our world who strive towards the way of Christ and in many ways dedicate their lives to the service of others. But just because they’re followers of Christ doesn’t mean they’re perfect. As humans we have a natural inclination towards sin that we’ve inherited from the first sin of Adam. And it’s important that we see this for what it is, because if we put our faith in anyone other than our Creator, we put our faith in someone that can’t satisfy our hearts. Let’s ask God to help us build a stronger relationship with him so that always look to the foundation of the Church and the faithfulness of God instead of putting our hope in the ways of man.
8 minutes | 2 months ago
Why Are We So Divided Right Now?
Is it just us, or does the world seem a bit divided right now? Human beings were not only created with a unique purpose, but also created to live in community. However, there are two things that can disrupt this call: division and distraction. Why these two? Well, distractions are things that take us away from a given task or goal, taking us away from living with a purpose. Likewise, division takes away from living in community with those around us. The twentieth century brought with it innumerable inventions of distraction: things like television, radio, computers, etc. All of these products are great innovations that have moved us forward in our abilities to create community and showcase our unique strengths, but they’ve also put distraction at our fingertips. It’s not just technology that has caused distractions either. We can become distracted by virtually anything: chores, work, leisurely activities. But when we’re distracted, we’re held back from the task at hand, and the ongoing task for all of us is to live in community, and live with purpose. What does that mean for something like politics? Well, if you’re American, you basically have two political responsibilities as an American citizen: educate yourself well on the politics in your country, and vote whenever elections come around. Anything other than those two tasks are distractions from the purpose of politics. When it comes to division, our country has definitely had its fair share. So how do we fight against this division that seems to be splitting our country? Through conversation and through kindness. We’re called to be united in community with those around us, so much so that Jesus refers to them as our brothers and sisters. Division won’t be conquered easily, but if we’re willing to converse, listen, and treat each other with kindness, we can get a couple strides closer to the community God desires for us.
10 minutes | 2 months ago
Which Is Better? The Rosary vs. The Chaplet
“What if I don’t have time to pray both The Rosary and The Divine Mercy Chaplet?” Deciding how to spend your time in prayer can be difficult, especially when you’re deciding between two powerhouse prayers like The Rosary and The Chaplet. Let’s look at each of them. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy was gifted to Saint Faustina during a vision of Jesus. In this vision, he listed 14 promises (https://www.divinemercy.org/elements-...) to those who pray the chaplet. In the chaplet, the prayers revolve around the concepts of mercy and holiness for the whole world, and reflect the prayers and promises we make during the Mass. It’s an extremely powerful prayer for not only our own souls, but the sanctification of the world. On the other hand, we have The Rosary, which is an act of love toward the Mother of Jesus, who was given to us at the crucifixion. This prayer has been recommended countless times by almost every saint who’s ever lived—and by Mary herself in several apparitions! The Rosary is a reflection on not only Mary’s life, but the life and miracles of Jesus as well. It allows us to enter into those moments with Jesus, the apostles, and Mary by way of meditation. So, should we spend time in prayer on The Chaplet—which probably takes about 5-10 minutes—or on The Rosary, which will take maybe 20-30 minutes? Why not both? If you don’t feel like you have enough time for prayer, that’s worth looking into. The reality is, you don’t have to pray The Rosary every day, and you don’t have to pray The Chaplet every day. But why not pray both as much as you can? These prayers are gifts God has given every willing Christian, and they are pathways to Heaven. So why not?
10 minutes | 2 months ago
Is It Ever Okay to Give Up?
You may have seen the movie Rudy. Its eponymous protagonist is a not-so-athletic college football player who spent years taking hits and practicing with his team, only to see a few moments on the field. Those short moments, however, left him with a tremendous feeling of accomplishment and pride, knowing that he committed to something and saw it through, even when it seemed hopeless. The question: is that always the right approach? Maybe if Rudy had dedicated that time to learning something he was naturally better at, he could have become an expert in his field. The choice Rudy made was made out of passion: he loved the game to the point of dedicating his college career to it, and not caring if the outcome wasn’t what he had expected. But what about bigger dreams? The dream of getting married, having kids, getting into a certain religious order, entering into a certain profession? Is there ever a point where you just have to give it up? There are a few things it’s never okay to give up. It’s never okay to give up hope itself. Hope is trust in the Lord extended into the future, knowing that he will always be with you in whatever circumstances you find yourself in. It’s also never okay to give up faith, God’s promises, or life itself. However, it is okay—and sometimes wise—to reevaluate certain outcomes, and realize that maybe it’s time to adjust your expectations. How do you know when to do that? When reality makes it obvious. For Rudy, that might have meant recognizing that he wasn’t going to be a starter on his football team. It’s still okay for him to want to be a part of the team in some way, and maybe get playing time one day, but reality must be acknowledged and accepted in these situations, or else we risk chasing empty expectations. This doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dreams, or that you can’t do anything: it just means you can’t do everything. Maybe your dream is to have a family, but you and your spouse can’t get pregnant. You might not be able to conceive, but you can still adopt, or be a foster parent. Accepting the reality of your current situation means having a dream, realizing it’s place in your life, and then asking, “Okay God, now what do you want me to do?” The outcome may not be what you had expected or planned, but if it’s with the Lord, it will still be good. And once we accept this reality, we will start to see that the real work is being done in our character, and that’s the power of trying. It may not make you the kind of person you had planned to be, but it will make you the kind of person that God wants you to be.
8 minutes | 3 months ago
The Real Answer to Why God Allows Suffering
Playing a video game called Injustice helps Fr. Mike explain the real answer to why God allows suffering. In Injustice, Superman becomes a totalitarian dictator in his attempt to try and eliminate evil. Batman tries to tell him, in trying to eliminate evil he has ceased to do good, because without the freedom to choose evil, we don’t really have the freedom to choose good either. Couldn’t God do better than Superman though? Couldn’t he just fix everything by bringing us back to the Garden of Eden? Anyone who is a parent knows that doesn’t work because God’s children—us—would just mess up again. So what does God actually do? He doesn’t eliminate evil. He draws close to us in the midst of evil. He suffers a painful death. He descends to the depths of hell. He doesn’t take away suffering. He transforms it and redeems it by entering into it. This led St. Paul to say: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Colossians 1:24). St. John Paul II said in suffering we receive a sliver of the Cross. Our suffering matters because Christ’s suffering matters and we are his body. All we have to do is tell God to use our suffering. Nothing given to God is ever wasted, so give it to God.
8 minutes | 3 months ago
What It’s Really Like to Be a Catholic Speaker
Many people ask Fr. Mike, “How do you become a Catholic speaker?” The quick answer is “Get baptized and start talking.” Of course this implies that you live out the promises of your baptism. When you do that, people will start asking you to give talks about the Faith. At least that’s how it worked out for Fr. Mke. The caveat is that being a Catholic speaker is not all that it seems to be. The Faith is not going to spread throughout the world through someone on a stage with a microphone in hand. Christ will redeem the world through relationships, especially family and friendships. The danger is in thinking that giving talks equals ministry. The Catholic teacher, director of religious education, and volunteer are in the messy relationships that make disciples of Christ one person at a time. We don’t want to become someone who is willing to travel a thousand miles to tell a thousand people about Christ, but isn’t willing to cross one street to tell one person about him. Jesus first reached out to his twelve disciples and built strong relationships with them. Then people started coming to him. When you live an authentic Christian life founded upon a strong relationship with Christ and with others in Christ, people start noticing. You won’t have to aspire to be a Catholic speaker because those who are looking for a leader in the Faith will ask you to be one.
7 minutes | 3 months ago
How to Get Real Friends
How many real friends do you have? Honestly, many people we call friends would probably better qualify as pals or buddies. The first step to getting real friends is to recognize how we are all made to be gifts of love. God is love and we were made in his image. We were also made for community, because God is a community of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Living out this love and community as God does requires availability and vulnerability. By availability we mean “care-free timelessness”, as Catholic evangelist Matthew Kelly calls it. By vulnerability we mean taking off the mask. This is the really hard part. As a missionary Fr. Mike knows once said, vulnerability is not just transparency. Transparency is letting someone look into the fish bowl. Vulnerability is inviting them into the fishbowl and letting them move things around. How can we all learn to grow in love, community, availability, and vulnerability so we can become real friends to others and live as the image of God in the world?
10 minutes | 3 months ago
If You’re Not Feeling Loved
If you’re not feeling loved by someone you love, take courage in the story of Leah in Genesis. Jacob, Leah’s husband, did not love her. In fact, what’s even worse, he loved her sister, Rachel, instead. Leah named her first three sons out of her hope and desire for her husband to love her, thinking if she bore him sons he would love him. She named her first “Reuben” which means, “Look, a son,” saying, “Now my husband will love me.” She named her second son “Simeon” which means “listening” because she felt the Lord heard her prayer for Jacob to love her. She named her third son “Levi” which means “joined together” because she believed this time her husband will finally be joined to her. By the time she had her fourth son, she named him Judah, which means “may God be praised.” She finally stopped trying to make Jacob love her, and instead she let go and let God take over. It’s no coincidence that Jesus would be born from the line of Judah. Some people love people the way they know how to love, and the beloved just doesn’t notice. A father may love her daughter through acts of service rather than words of affirmation or quality time. Others may simply not love you, but that does not mean you’re unlovable. You’re chosen by God for a reason only you can know. Do not wait for someone else to give you the love that God the Father has already given you.
8 minutes | 4 months ago
Freedom from the Fear of Death
Wearing masks, not wearing masks, and all the mixed emotions that have come with the coronavirus reveal that—as a society—we lack freedom from the fear of death. Maybe you know someone who has died from the virus, or someone who lost their livelihood due to the lockdown. Many are wondering when they can safely go out again, or when they can they go back to Mass. In fact, the coronavirus is revealing the fear of not just death, but also the fear of loss, uncertainty, and insecurity. In these strange times, it’s encouraging to remember the one who conquered death. In Hebrews we read: “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15). In a world without Jesus, death ought to be feared because it is a separation from life and everything good. But Christ has transformed life and death. This does not mean suffering and grief simply don’t matter, but in our suffering we have hope that death is not the end. Living life is risky. About eight out of a thousand people die every year, COVID-19 aside (https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/WLD/world/death-rate). But the meaning of life is so much more than avoiding death. Frankly, some things are worse than death and some things are more important than our lives on earth. We are called to embrace the risks of life and live in hope … while still taking reasonable health precautions.
10 minutes | 4 months ago
Believing in a God Who Allows Evil
It may sound foolish to believe in a God who allows evil, tragedy, suffering, and disasters. But God never promised to rid the world of these things. He promised us hope: “and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). At some point we are going to experience heartbreak, loss, and suffering. Anyone who thought having faith in God would take away those things in life had the wrong idea of who God is. Fr. Mike says he has never been disappointed in God, because he knows what promises God did make. God is faithful. He will never break his promises, but he never promised that you would not experience grief. He did promise that in the midst of the pain he will be there. In being there, he will help you to love the giver of peace more than the gift of peace. Discipleship is a daily cross. God promised trouble, not peace. He encouraged us to take heart in the midst of that trouble, and that’s how we grow stronger and holier. There will be floods and fire and sickness and tragedy. Turn to the one who promised he will be there with you through it all to help carry you through it. When we feel we have been let down by God the most, those are the times when trust in him means the most.
8 minutes | 4 months ago
Why Are Some People So Annoying?
We all have pet peeves. We all get annoyed by things that really don’t matter much, whether it’s someone chewing with their mouth open, or someone whispering the Rosary in an Adoration chapel—which are two things that used to be pet peeves for Fr. Mike. But he learned a better way to deal with annoyances. Why do we get so annoyed by such petty things? It’s because being annoyed is a choice. Fr. Mike tells a quick story about prisoners of war in Vietnam. They were put in a really small cell where they were so close together they had to sleep touching each other. The prisoners came to an agreement that if they were annoyed by something another prisoner does, the one who is annoyed is the one at fault. This helped them rise about their situation. There are four possible choices when you’re annoyed: I can choose to be annoyed. This is not recommended. I can actively choose to rise above the annoyance and grow in patience. I can do something about it and let it move me to positive action. Instead of saying that person annoys me, I can say that person sanctifies me. Next time you get annoyed, try numbers two through four.
7 minutes | 4 months ago
How Certain Is Your Faith?
Is your faith certain enough to stand up against the doubts and different ideas out there? Fr. Mike shares insight about certainty from Dr. Montague Brown, professor of philosophy at St. Anselm College, New Hampshire. Dr. Brown says certainty is intellectual belief based off the evidence. It’s not blind belief. Someone with certainty is not going to change their mind without new objective evidence. Many times people change their mind not because of new evidence, but just because of new people in their lives. They’ve simply been exposed to new behavior. This happens to students in college quite often. Christianity is evidential. It hinges upon an indisputable event, the life and death of Jesus. If you’re from a small town, you may think the way you were raised is just part of your small town’s way of thinking, and that a well-known university in a big city must have a broader, more enlightened way of thinking. But really, the university is just as subject to its way of thinking as the small town is. The culture of a university is just as insulated as that of a small town. Don’t get so caught up in the culture around you that you give in to new ideas without evidence—whether that culture is a university, a new workplace, new friends, new family, or a new city. Let your faith always be backed up by the evidence. Fr. Mike is certain in his belief that Christianity will then always come out on top.
8 minutes | 4 months ago
Who You Are vs. Who You’re Called to Be
Fr. Mike recalls the speed math tests he took in second and third grade. He finished them in decent time, but his cousin—who was in the same class—finished them way faster. In fact, his cousin was the fastest in his class. For some reason this led Fr. Mike to believe he simply wasn’t good at math. When it came to “speak and spell” though, Fr. Mike did really well. This led him to believe he was really good with words. He was acting under the common belief that someone is either good at something or bad at something. In Carol S. Dweck’s book, Mindset, she speaks of fixed mindsets—like Fr. Mike had— and growth mindsets, which challenge us to grow. Fr. Mike shares the findings of a study that observed two groups of children. The first group was given tests and were told “You’re really smart” when they finished them. The second group was told “You really worked hard on that.” When the tests got harder, the first group started giving up, but the latter group doubled down and rose to the challenge. God works with us as if we were in the second group. He sees us for who we are, but approaches us as we could be. Confession is our opportunity to try harder next time. We are called to the struggle, because struggle is growth. The victory is not in never failing, but in getting back up and rising to the challenge.
7 minutes | 5 months ago
How to Share the Gospel (and How Not To)
If you want to know how to share the gospel, it’s important to have the love and courage to not just give answers and corrections, but to ask questions. It is in asking questions from the heart that you convey true interest in the person’s soul, instead of just trying to convince the person you’re right. Fr. Mike tells of a time when a student came to him saying he tries to evangelize, but just gets shut down. He tried to tell his good friend that he shouldn’t be over-drinking, and this just made his friend mad. Fr. Mike told this student, that’s not evangelization. That’s correction. A good friend or pastor, depending on the relationship, may be in a position to offer correction to those they love. But evangelizing is a different conversation. Evangelization is introducing Christ to others. That’s why Fr. Mike suggests asking questions when trying to introduce Christ to someone, because questions are a natural part of two people getting to know each other. If you are being Christ to someone, by asking them questions they are getting to know Christ just as much as you are getting to know them. Furthermore, asking genuine questions establishes a relationship and shows you are interested in where the person is coming from. Also, it’s OK not to know the answers. Sometimes we get caught up in the concept communicated in St. Peter’s words: “Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15). There will be a time for that, but when that time comes the Holy Spirit will give you the words to say (Luke 12:12). Be content with just getting to know the person better first. Also check out Ascension’s parish mission program, The 99: A New System for Evangelization
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