Your very own Cathoholic author had a humbling experience recently. I came to the realization that at work, I’m a complainer. I’m not sure how this happened – I don’t remember being a complainer my whole life, but here you go. It was palpably humbling. As the saying goes “The Spirit convicted me”, and I was instantly ashamed.
The first step of apologetics and evangelization (especially for Catholics that are reticent to share their faith) is simply to let people know that you’re a Christian. Many folks miss this simple step. You’ll never engage others in conversation if they don’t have a clue that you’re Christian.
Digging a little deeper, there’s something that’s more important than reason, argumentation and “zinger comebacks”.
What Does It Mean To Be A Christian? (And To Share That)
My life should look different, it should look attractive. Why else would anyone give a hoot about my faith, unless it was clearly working fruits in my life?
The world will know us by our love. John 13:34-35 says:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
Try as I might, I can’t seem to find the quote attributed to St John Paul II (but will continue to research because it’s part of what convicted me [echoed in my head rather] and it’s worth quoting properly):
The world is tired of our words; it wants to see a life well lived
So What Is Love? (Maybe NOT What You Would Think)
To draw from men like C.S. Lewis, [agape] love is not primarily a feeling, but an act of will. St Thomas Aquinas defines it as willing the good of another [as the end in mind, not as a way they will love me in return]. I hope to share more on this love in another post.
Put simply, complaining and gossiping (both of which I find myself guilty) are antithetical to love. Famously about love is the often quoted 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Fellow complainers: We are in good company. After the Jewish people were rescued through Moses from slavery in Egypt (in a particularly spectacular way), they got out in the desert and immediately began to complain.
The people Israel complained that they would have been better off back in Egypt, for despite being slaves, they had meat in their pots and bread in their bellies. God responds again to give both bread (manna) in the morning, and [often forgotten] quail in the evening. Keep an eye on this gesture, God’s not done here, even after He stops it because they’ve reached the promised land.
The bishops of Rome exhort us to live the faith not just talk about it. Perhaps Pope Francis is so widely liked is precisely because his life looks different. He’s constantly walking among, and touching the [literal] lepers, the poor, and admonishing the corrupt.
On a personal note, I’m making a concerted effort to stop complaining (and gossiping).