This week’s entry is from the very smart and talented Ms. Giroux…enjoy…
Truth is real and accessible to anyone who cares enough to look for it. However, sometimes the truth, even though accessible, can be hard to comprehend. Nevertheless, we are all called to spread the truth and to let the world know that the truth is not just a something but a somebody.
In today’s world of misleading headlines and social media, where anybody can proclaim their perception of truth, whatever is most captivating and presented with the most style is often considered the “truth.” Regardless of the credibility of the message, the most convincing speaker always seems to win. But before you bite my head off for sounding like a relativist, I am not saying that the truth changes. What people perceive to be the truth can change, from person to person. To clarify, we are not talking about whether Taco Bell is the best fast food chain. I don’t think there is any objective and unchanging truth in the answer to that question. No, instead, in this post, we are talking about the Truth himself…the truth of the Gospel. There is no “maybe” or “depends on who you ask” element to this Truth. This Truth is eternal, unchanging, and solid rock upon which we are all called to base our lives. However, how that Truth is expressed does really depend on who you ask…and thats not necessarily a bad thing!
First lets start with the question of why do you have faith (i.e., why do you believe in the Truth)? Different people say different things. Some people say “God is the only logical explanation to life.” Other people say “I feel the presence of God in my life.” Still others say “The intimate relationship I have with Jesus is more real than any human interaction.” Even others say “If there is no God, how can science explain this, that, or the next thing?”
What is clear is that there are many different reasons for each of us to have our faith. In the same way, the Truth can be expressed in many different ways to many different people without watering it down or changing it. Ultimately, all Christians understand God to be the way, the truth, and the light, because that is what He said. But why are there so many different reasons for faith, if all faith is the same way, truth, and light? If He is the way, the truth, and the light then why are there people who don’t believe?
God knows each of us, individually. He knows how to communicate His truth to every man, woman and child. He knows what we need and what we are capable of understanding. He knows everything about us. If God didn’t know us, He could not have revealed Himself to us in the different ways that He has throughout history.
Maybe think of it this way…when you want to invite a multitude of people to an event, is there a universal form of communication that works for everyone? Nope. Some people use Facebook, Twitter, email, texting, and some people don’t have any of those so you can only mail them a letter or go visit. Regardless of how we communicate, we all want that personal invitation. God knows that if he emails someone like my mom or sends a text to someone like my dad, they will not receive the invitation. He communicates with each of us in the best way for us…because he knows us better than we know ourselves. In the same way, we are called to spread the Truth to the world in the best way that we know how…and that way may change from person to person or group to group.
There are many different ways in which God expresses His love for us. To name just a few, we think of creation, scripture, Tradition (oral and written), consolation, desolation, other people, the Cross of Christ, life circumstances, etc… The list goes on. God knows you. He knows how to get the message to you. Faith stories all have similarities but there are no two alike. This is one of the many ways that show how intimate our relationship is with our Creator. God uses different instruments or forms of communication to show His love, grace, and existence to different people. As followers of Christ, we play a vital role in this line of communication between God and man.
We are those instruments. The mission of the Church is to spread the good news and to share the Gospel. It is our duty to share what we have been blessed with, the truth. When you think about a musical instrument, different people play different instruments and reach different audiences. God has blessed each of us with a distinct set of gifts, but as a Church we have the ability to reach the entire world.
You may be familiar with the phrase, “You will be the only Bible some people ever read.” This concept can be quite frightening when we look back each day and think that the people we interacted with may have only had one opportunity to meet Christ and it was through us. Is that a little too much pressure? Maybe. But why should we have to make the effort when nobody wants to have anything to do with God? They have just as easy access as we do to the Gospel. Why is it up to us?
We are Catholic and have the fullness of the truth which makes it is easy for us to keep it to ourselves. The world not wanting anything to do with Christianity makes it even easier to keep it to ourselves. Why should we come out of our comfort zones when nobody really cares? Jesus said so, that’s why! (Check out the Bible if you don’t believe me.) Some people will not accept the Gospel; this is where trust becomes essential. When you are trying to introduce someone to a friend, Jesus Christ, you cannot force them to like Him or accept Him. That is between them and God. It is our duty to bring the love of God to our neighbor. The only thing we are required to do is to love. We love them by sharing the Gospel with them. But we should try and share the Truth with them in the way that they can best understand it. It will do no good to try to explain the Truth to someone in a foreign language or using foreign concepts.
To share a message, you need to know the message and your audience. To share the Gospel with the world, we need to know the Gospel and the world. Without knowing either, evangelization is not possible. Nobody is going to listen to a complete stranger.
God reveals Himself to us individually. We have been blessed with the grace to recognize the truth. Thanks be to God, the truth has set us free and we are free to love. As inconvenient and challenging it can be, it is our duty to love our neighbor. Loving our neighbor consists in revealing to them their dignity, self-worth, and purpose in life – happiness. However, we are called to this in a way that they can best understand.
In the end, it is our duty to spread the Gospel of truth and the Gospel of Love. But let’s not be afraid to express it in different ways to different people. The Truth is unchanging, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be re-packaged, re-explained, and brought to life using different means and different techniques than we’ve ever done before. As long as the core message is dead centered on Jesus, I hope that it does actually all depend on who you ask…at least in terms of the delivery, the style, the language, the enthusiasm, and the emphasis…because if that is true, then it means that we are all engaged in preaching the Truth in our own way. What a great problem to have!