My feeble journey on a hopeful path to holiness has led me to some interesting places over the past year. Anyone that knows me knows that I am a talker. I love to talk to people and learn about them. But mostly I love to use my voice to bring them to the Lord. You need your voice sometimes to evangelize.
Over the years, I have dipped my toes into public speaking, a talent forcibly developed when Sr. Agneta had me enter the Optimist Club speaking contest back in the early 1970’s. I was SCARED TO DEATH. Until I realized when we were practicing that I could just take off my glasses and couldn’t see the
millions dozens of people in the audience! It took me a few other experiences after that through high school, but I found I didn’t mind it at all.
An article from the Washington Post in October 2014, listed public speaking as the top fear of 25% of Americans…if you ask your friends if they would rather eat bugs or speak in public, they would eat the bugs.
So, I thought when it comes to evangelization, I could handle it. Not so easy though.
Of course I can stand up in front of a group of nice Catholics and talk about my walk with Christ, about my failings and his saving me from myself. BUT, as I recently learned, it’s not so thrilling to present the same to an audience not expecting to hear that kind of story. The words just seem to stick in my throat.
I found this out when this Spring I participated in two such events. One was the culmination of a writing project through Heal My Voice and another, an invitation to present to the Business and Professional Women of Maryland. Neither of these were related to spirituality. But, my faith life is closely intertwined with my professional life as a pastoral counselor. So What Would Jesus Do?
I spoke. I had to clear my throat a few times as my heart was lodged there.
What happened? At both events, women came up to me and connected to me through their own experience of being afraid to speak about their faith. They use words like “inspired” and “refreshed”. They talked about being more free to spread their own stories of faith!
Using our voices openly is supported by the Scriptures, in Ephesians Chapter 4, we are told ‘each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift‘ and ‘speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ’.
Consider all of the women in the New Testament. Mary, the Mother of Christ, Mary Magdalene, the four daughters of Phillip the Evangelist, Pricilla, and Phoebe. They were not afraid. They had the love and mercy of Christ giving them courage!
Is this not the radical Christ presence? Be not afraid. Do not hold your tongue. Share the love and mercy of Christ. You will probably find you are not alone, you may find some new friends, and you may bring them to Christ!
May the peace of Christ be with you on your journey.