God says through the prophet Hosea:
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
So, not knowing the truth can lead to our destruction.
In the New Testament, we read what Jesus says about Himself. He said, “For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice” (Jn 18:37).
He also said, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32).
And St Paul, the great apostle, wrote that “God desires all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4).
How do we know what’s true?
Jesus Christ came into the world as the Voice of Truth Itself. The voice of God. Because of Christ, the fullness of truth can be found — in the ways of life and in the teaching of the Catholic Church. And we know that what the Catholic Church teaches is true because Jesus is the One who established it. He gave it a share in His authority — called “the power of the keys” — and promised that “the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). He also told the Apostles, “He who hears you, hears Me” (Luke 10:16).
What are some of the truths that people need to know?
Here’s a few:
THE TRUTH is that God exists and He created the material world and everything in it. We’re the pinnacle of creation because we’re made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27).
THE TRUTH is that we have sinned and separated ourselves from God. We lost the divine life for which we were created. That put us on the road to hell and made us slaves to sin (Romans 3:23, 6:23).
THE TRUTH is that God loved us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus to atone for our sins by dying on the cross, and to rise from the dead for our salvation (John 3:16).
THE TRUTH is that Jesus established the Catholic Church to continue His saving mission on earth. It has the authority to teach in His name and has been given Sacraments to give us the power to grow in union with God and to help us avoid falling away from the life He promised us.
THE TRUTH is that it’s everyone’s destiny to become a saint; to become a true son or daughter of God. Nothing else will truly satisfy us.
Listen – Befriend – Proclaim – Invite
Our formula for success with anyone we evangelize is to first listen to and befriend them. This isn’t something we can rush through or fake.
We have to love the people we evangelize, and they have to know that we love them because people don’t care what you know until they know that you care.
Love like Jesus
In John 14, Jesus says, “If you love me you’ll keep my commandments, and then in John 15, He says “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Wow!
How did Jesus love? Well, we know that His love for each person is immense and that He has a strong desire to save souls, and so He identified with people, He prayed for people, He, proclaimed the Good News to people, and He carried the burden of their sins. — and we’re called to imitate Him.
That’s a tall order, right? How are we supposed to do that? Let’s think about this –
God is love. (1 John 4:8)
Jesus is love in the flesh. (John 1:14)
And according to Leviticus 17:11 the life of the flesh is in the blood.
If only there was a way to get Jesus’ flesh and blood into our bodies, then we could have His life and His passion for souls inside us.
For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. It is the sacrament which contains the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread and wine. Jesus made a way for us to be able to receive Him into our bodies so that we could love like we needed to love in order to go to heaven.
We also have to ask God for the grace of loving like Jesus. The sacraments aren’t magic. We have to exercise faith and ask God in prayer for that passion and power to love people like Jesus did.
Once we have Jesus abiding in us, then what?
Listen & Befriend
We listen & befriend someone by having a conversation with them.
Our goal at this stage is to figure out where someone is in their faith life, so that we can make a connection with them, and gain their trust.
Before steering the conversation to faith, you may want to spend time getting to know them on a non- religious level. What’s most important to them? What do they do for fun? After that, think of a good question that would turn the conversation toward faith.
Do you believe in God?
Are you a Christian?
Where do you go to church?
Don’t Accept a Label for a Story
In answering these questions, they may give themselves the label of ‘atheist’ or a ‘Catholic’, but we shouldn’t accept that label as their story.
What do I mean? For example, someone might tell you that they’re Protestant – and in your head you might think, “Okay, this guy’s a protestant – that means he believes that the Bible alone is the authority for Christians, and he believes that we’re saved by faith alone, and that we can’t ever lose our salvation.”
But he may not believe any of those things. Maybe he just labels himself protestant because he heard his parents call themselves that. So, we have to be careful not to accept a person’s label for themselves as their story.
Let People Tell Their Story
We get them to tell their story by asking them open-ended questions, questions that require more than a simple answer. We call this drilling down because we’re mining for information. We need to get them to think about what they believe and why they believe it. This may involve asking follow-up questions, and getting clarification. We want to make sure we’re understanding them.
Find Common Ground
After we learn more about what they believe, it’s a good idea to build a bond with them by establishing common ground. That’s when you point out something that both of you can agree upon and appreciate. For example, for the Protestant, believing that the Bible is the inerrant word of God and that Jesus is our Lord and Savior are two things we both can agree upon and appreciate. When we listen and find common ground with someone, we are, in a small way “befriending” them.
Here’s some other conversational tips that will help the person you’re talking to feel like you care for them.
- Be present in the moment. Turn your phone off. Focus on the person you’re talking to.
2. Learn a person’s name and use it. “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language” – Dale Carnegie
3. Listen more than you talk. This encounter is for their benefit. We want to make sure we hear their story.
4. Be vulnerable with people. Don’t pretend you’ve got it all together – Sharing our weaknesses and difficulties with someone will be nourishing to them than sharing our qualities and successes.” So, keep it real, we all have struggles… when you’re vulnerable with someone, they will feel safe opening up to you – This is how connections are made.
5. If someone tells you about a bad experience they had with the church, don’t dismiss or diminish what they’re telling you, instead apologize on behalf of the church. Some people just want to hear, “I’m sorry, that shouldn’t have happened.”
After we befriend someone, they should be open to hearing our good reasons for taking our faith to the next level. That’s our proclamation.
What are some good reasons for believing that God exists?
God is the best explanation for:
Why the universe began to exist.
The fine tuning of physics.
The emergence of interactive and intelligent life.
Our perception of objective, moral values and duties.
The uncanny applicability of mathematics to the physical universe.
The fact that we have a stable, orderly and intelligible universe to begin with.
And finally, God is the best explanation for the historical facts that support the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
– Pat Flynn
What are some good reasons for having faith in Jesus?
The historical record indicates that Jesus lived around 2000 years ago and that he was put to death for claiming to be God.
His claim to be God is plausible because:
a) All the prophecies he fulfilled. He fulfilled over 300 Old Testament prophecies that preceded his birth into the word by hundreds of years. The odds of a mere human being fulfilling that many prophecies are out of this world.
b) All the miracles that Jesus performed in the New Testament.
c) He rose from the dead and appeared to hundreds of people, many of whom chose to be tortured and murdered rather than denying what they knew to be true – that Jesus was God and that he rose from the dead.
These are all good reasons to put our faith in Jesus.
What is one good reason to be Catholic?
It’s because the Catholic Church is the Church Jesus established, all the way back in the year 33. Today there are thousands of different churches to choose from, and the problem with that is they teach contradictory things. Some churches teach that you need to be baptized to be saved. Other churches teach that we’re saved by faith alone and that you don’t need baptism. Some churches teach that once you’re saved, you can never lose your salvation. These are questions that if we get wrong can be the difference between heaven and hell. God wants us to have the right answer to these questions! When He established the Catholic Church, He promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. That means it’s protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching anything false. God wants us to know with certainty the answers to questions that concern our salvation. That makes sense, right? If he loves us?
What are some good reasons to go to confession once a month?
First and foremost, because confession can save our soul if we’ve committed a deadly sin after we’ve been baptized.
If you read John’s Gospel, chapter 20, you’ll see that on the day Jesus rose from the dead, on Easter Sunday, He met up with His apostles and breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
That means that Jesus gave the power of God to these men, to either forgive or not forgive our sins. And those men, His apostles, handed on that authority throughout the generations, and that authority exists today in the bishops and priests of the Catholic Church.
So when we commit a deadly sin, a sin that cuts us off from the life of God and puts us on the road to hell, we need to have that sin forgiven in the sacrament of confession.
And we should tell people, “Sins that are serious enough to kill us spiritually are more common than we think – watching porn, blowing off Mass, getting drunk are just a few few examples of sins that can kill us spiritually… and if die when we’re dead spiritually, we stay that was forever – that’s hell, so we can’t mess around. If, and when, we commit a deadly sin, we should go to confession as soon as possible and have our relationship with God restored so that we can be back in that saving relationship.
Another reason that we should go to confession once a month, even if we haven’t committed a deadly sin, is because it can give us an increase in grace and the strength to avoid sinning in the future.
After proclaiming our One Good Reason, we can invite the person we evangelized to consider and pray about what we’ve told them. Or we can invite them to something at our church, or we can just invite them to continue the conversation and exchange phone numbers or email addresses.