All priests are expected to pray the Liturgy of the Hours every day. The Church also encourages the faithful to participate in this form of prayer (the free app ibreviary makes it very convenient). On August 8 , the feast of St. Dominic, I was inspired by the second reading in the Office of Readings of the Liturgy of the Hours. St. Dominic, you may recall, was the founder of the Order of Preachers and has been called the great evangelizer (with St. Francis). He essentially went door to door evangelizing and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. He is the one to whom Mary gave the Rosary in order to help him pray along his travels and to teach others to pray and meditate on the life of Christ. The following is an excerpt about St. Dominic from the reading:
"Frequently he made a special personal intention that God would deign to grant him a genuine charity, effective in caring for and obtaining the salvation of souls. For he believed that only then would he be truly a member of Christ, when he had given himself totally for the salvation of others, just as the Lord Jesus, the Savior of all, had offered Himself completely for our salvation."
We know that to be Christian means to be Christ-like. St. Dominic knew that Jesus Christ was all about the salvation of souls, everything that He did (and still does) was for our salvation. Therefore, to be Christian, for us to be Christ-like, we too must be all about the salvation of others. So are you? Am I? Your vocation in your family is to give of yourself for their salvation, to get them to Heaven. Do you consciously live this out? With your spouse? With your children? With your parents?
I was convicted too. Rarely do I make a "special personal intention" that God would grant me "a genuine charity effective for caring for and obtaining the salvation of souls." As a priest wearing my clerics, I do kind of stand-out and am recognized as a man of God, so I do have a lot of opportunities to share my faith, but I admit that sometimes I am not in a spiritual place to take full advantage of them throughout the day. So often my mind is pre-occupied with other things, things I have to do or am about to do, rather than on what I am doing right then and the people I am interacting with at that moment. I also thought about how rarely I pray that the Lord would use me in a special way to bring the Good News of Jesus to others that day or that I would be aware of and take advantage of every opportunity to share the faith. And so, that morning I prayed that the Lord would give me a genuine love and charityfor every person I encountered, and a desire for their salvation.
That afternoon, on our lunch hour, I happened to mention to Kathy, our new Director of Evangelization, that I was going to get my car's emissions tested. She said, "Good, maybe you can evangelize there." I was taken back a little, as that is an uncommon response to running an errand (but then again, why is that such an uncommon response; shouldn't we all remind each other to consciously be available for our Lord to use us?) Anyways, I pulled into the emissions testing place, without waiting in line! When I pulled in and rolled down the window, the guy said, "Oh hi, we don't get too many priests in here. I used to go to Catholic school when I was growing up." So I said, "Great, are you still going to Church?" He said, yeah, I go to a Church around the corner from my house." Even though I knew the answer, I asked, "Is it a Catholic Church?" He said, "No it's Protestant." Then he instructed me to keep the car running but to wait in the little box for a second. So I went into the little box. Then his colleague came up to the box and asked if I can pray for him—he is having some difficulties at home and his health and stuff. I asked his name and asked if we can pray right then. So I prayed for him right there at the entrance of the little box. Afterwards, he said thank you and went back to the other station. The guy who tested the emissions said I passed. I said thank you and as I was getting into my car, I said, "you can come back to a Catholic Church anytime, the Eucharist is waiting for you." Then I drove off, saying a prayer for each of them, that the Lord would reveal Himselfand bless them.
There have been several opportunities I have when people see that I am a priest, however I also know there are other people who are too intimidated to talk to me. It is too difficult to approach someone like me, but they are less intimidated to talk to another person like themselves. Thus, you can reach people whom I can't for whatever reason. Also, they might have an expectation if it comes from me, but if someone "normal" would talk with and pray with them, they'd leave with a different impression. Therefore, I encourage you to pray that you too will make "a special personal intention that God would grant you a genuine charity, effective in caring for and obtaining the salvation of souls," as well as for you to pray that you will be open and available for those the Lord brings in your life, that youwill take the opportunities to encourage them in the faith.
To help you do that, please plan on coming to the Apologetics Workshop here on Saturday, September 17 from 9:00am-3:30pm. Learn from apologists Trent Horn and Karlo Broussard from Catholic Answers how to share your faith. I am sure we will all learn a lot.BACK TO LIST