What comes to mind when you read the expression “Wearing Your Faith”?
Is it a saying on a T-shirt? A rosary bracelet or a necklace medallion of a saint? Or perhaps it is the black ash mark of the cross on your forehead?
As those baptized, we are called to wear our faith on our sleeve, and we have a responsibility to spread the Good News of the Gospel. Peter teaches us to,
Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence.
1 Peter 3:15-16
Pope Francis teaches extensively in chapter 4 of Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), saying, “No one can demand that religion be relegated to the inner sanctum of personal life, without influence on societal and national life, without concern for the soundness of civil institutions, without a right to offer an opinion on events affecting society. Who would claim to lock up in a church and silence the message of Saint Francis of Assisi or Saint Teresa of Calcutta?”
It is the authenticity of faith and our love of Jesus which inspires us to wear our quippy shirts or show off our tattooed devotions. They are not mere fashion, but rather our outward signs hinting with ‘gentleness and reverence’ to the ‘reason for our hope’. And when worn together with the fruits of the spirit – it’s a winning ensemble that others will surely ask about!
Here’s a short example, from our Director-at-Large for Vocations Support, to show you what we mean:
The other day, my little sister, Hayley, called me and opened right away with, “Madeline what is a rosary? Is that a Catholic thing? Is it a flower garland? I am so confused.” Hayley works as a care-giver for the elderly and went on to explain that she just started working for a new family. On her first day, Diana was showing her around the house and Hayley noticed she wore a lot of “small jingly medals with faces on them together on a chain.” Diana also explained that Hayley would be doing some light care for their dog – Rosary. Little does Hayley know that I’ve been praying daily for the Lord to send someone to her to share the Gospel. We live many states apart, and my conversion to the Catholic faith is something we’ve talked about…but some messages don’t come off quite right from a put-together, married-with-kids, constant-advice-giving older sister…ya know?
Diana is literally an answer to my prayers. I don’t need to know her to know who she is – she’s probably like many of you! Hayley and I then had a great conversation and it was clear that I was repeating things she had already heard. Diana obviously was very ready to speak clearly of her faith to the young woman entering her home. She was wearing her faith on her sleeve, and ready to speak to the reason for her hope!
Evangelization Tip #1
The wearing of religious medals to carrying tote bags or the wearing of Catholic t-shirt that can spark a conversation as you go about your day. As you hand over change for your coffee the dangling of little saint medals on your bracelet might just spark a curiosity of not on how lovely the bracelet is, but sharing what some of the trinkets to medals are.
Evangelization Tip #2
Soon it will be the season of giving. As we approach Advent, why not shop around for a few blank note cards that the outside may say “Peace Be With You”? Or download free Catholic art and gift them. These could be framed pieces or shipped in a poster roll to allow the individual receiving it to decide how to frame it.
Evangelization Tip #3
When you find yourself in the position of being asked about the article you are wearing, begin with the simple reminder of reverence. We understand that these questions are opening a dialogue in sharing your experience. Starting with the internal reminder of reverence allows you to give the authentic witnessing of faith.
Evangelization Tip #4
Always greet a stranger as Jesus would have. Greet with an open heart and mind in sharing your faith and our Church. Also remember the power of prayer. Give this precious gift that was meant for you to not only receive, but to also give.
The MCCW Evangelization Task Force