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Are You a Timid Catholic?

Sometimes I could kick myself for being so timid, for not speaking up, for remaining silent where my faith is concerned. My non-Catholic, non-Christian friends do know my faith. In my timidity, I’m careful not to preach, but I have made my beliefs clearly known. Still, I’m too cautious, too careful, and, to the outside world, my gentle whispers of faith do nothing to bring forth the kingdom of God.

Recently, a dear friend of mine told me of her personal struggles over lunch. She was a member of the writing group I started several years ago – the best writer of the group – who has since moved to Stayner. I miss her talented insight, so we meet when we can for lunch every few months. When she told me of the difficulties she was having within her family, my immediate thought was: I will pray for you, but I did not say it out loud – why not?

When we were parting, we hugged, I may have to become Catholic, she said, so I can pray about this.

Ah, I said, so I can pray for you then?

Absolutely, she said. And that’s when I could have kicked myself, for not immediately offering to do so.

I believe in the power of prayer, but I often feel that, to a non-Christian, the words I’ll pray for you have little meaning. That’s the wrong kind of thinking – how does one proclaim the Good News if one is only willing to preach to the choir, so to speak.

How can we become bolder Catholics without pushing people away? Fr. Kuzma spoke, last week, of bringing about positive change with humility and love – the foundations of our faith. If we approach situations with humility; if our love is visible in our words and actions – how can we offend?

We don’t have to become loud and bold; we don’t have to change overnight. Let’s begin with prayer – a powerful element of our faith. I got the message loud and clear from my friend that day.

“I will pray for you,” said with heartfelt compassion and love, is the best way I can think of to begin a bolder approach, beyond our safe community of faith. And who knows, perhaps those very prayers will bring others to say – “I want what you have. I want God in my life too.” We can only hope (and pray).

Margery Frisch

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