Jesus answered: ‘Will you lay down your life for me?’ - John 13:38

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-Pope Benedict XVI

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How to plant seeds of faith with strangers

When having a conversation with someone who is ignorant or hostile to Catholic teaching, a reasoned, gentle defense is most effective

You are sitting at your son’s soccer game, enjoying the crisp weather and your boy’s joy for the game. Then you hear someone nearby say “Catholic Church,” then “divorce”; suddenly the hair on your neck stands on end and your body tenses.

You realize that two parents next to you are criticizing the Church; they notice you looking at them and ask, “What do you think?”

Now that we live in a post-Christian world, every one of us encounters situations like this. The Catholic Church teaches certain precepts that are simply unacceptable — antithetical, even — to the modern ethos. Standing by those precepts, we open ourselves to criticism and even attack. Furthermore — and sadly — there are scandals surrounding some Church figures that open Catholics up for easy condemnation.

Be prepared

So what are Catholics to do? How do we respond? What are our obligations in these situations?
In a time of persecution in a deeply pagan culture, our first pope, St. Peter, wrote to his fellow Christians, “Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you” (1 Pt 3:15, RSV). This is an oft-quoted Scripture passage, especially among evangelists and apologists, but not quoted as frequently are St. Peter’s next words, “yet do it with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pt 3:15b, RSV).

Thus we have the guidelines laid out for how we are to react when our faith is challenged or defamed:
◗ Be prepared to make a defense.
◗ Do so with gentleness and reverence.

So, how do we go about following St. Peter’s command?

Read the rest here.

To be or not to be

To be or not to be , that is the question:
Whether it is nobler to lead a life of total seclusion
a shield of oneself against waves of avarice and desperation
and thence sustaining a complete ignorance and desolate action
or to take arms against an unending secular abyss
to preach, to impart, to negate and hence remnant of no debris

To be or not to be, that is the question:
Whether it is subtler a prayer of solution
to which it is conferred to single libation
a singular soul consoled to deep resolution
or to stand up shining before the tumultuous bodies
foundations to shift, believes to steer, winner of countless follies

To be or not to be, that is the question:
Whether it is more decent of a propagation
marching in a horde of splendid devotion
composing thousands of salvation tales under Her protection
or to tread in solitude, calling but to aids unseen
to bear, to grow,craving for great triumphs in between

--Inspired by W.Shakespeare's Hamlet--