Growing up, there were three things my dad always warned me and my siblings never to bring up in conversation: money, politics, and religion. Rather, he taught us, if we worked hard, stuck to our own beliefs, and treated everyone with kindness, all would be well.
For the most part, I’ve adhered to my dad’s advice. Sure, there’ve been some good family debates, as we’ve all aged and formed our own opinions on the topics, but beyond the family dinner tables, I’ve usually kept quiet.
And then I met “Todd.” Todd is a former Catholic who no longer believes in any form of organized religion. To say he resents religion is an understatement. As we began to hang out more and more, I never delved into the topic (even though my nosy/inquisitive side really wanted to), but considering my job, matters of faith weren’t absent from the many normal conversations we had about our days, jobs, and lives. No matter what, it’s just a part of who I am.
One night, a “Catholics Come Home” commercial came on TV. Following a snarky comment, Todd mentioned how he was seeing more and more of these ads everywhere he turned and, jokingly, blamed me for it.
Although that was the end of the conversation, his words stuck with me. I might have always shied away from talking about my faith with Todd, but my mere presence as a committed Catholic left an impact on him, whether he wanted it to or not.
To me, this is what evangelization is all about. Until that moment, the term has always brought to my mind more public, action-oriented images, which, frankly, I’ve never been comfortable with. But I’ve realized another aspect of evangelization is simply living the faith—staying true to who I am and what I believe—on a day-to-day basis.
My dad was right—things do go well when you work hard, stick to your beliefs, and treat everyone with kindness. Because sometimes, your actions can speak a whole lot louder than any words ever can.
Featured image: PhotoXpress.com/Terrance Emerson