Often times, I think we, as Christians, feel like we aren’t doing enough to reach others or we get caught up in how many people we can influence. Of course, with the emphasis on the New Evangelization and this being The Year of Faith, many of us are focused on how we can better spread the truth of Jesus and the faith. This is something to which we are all called for sure and needs to be done.
Sometimes, though, I think we are distracted by the “big picture”. The truth is, as the quotes on this page point out, that showing love to our spouse, children, and neighbors is the most powerful and meaningful way that we can bring about change in our culture.
I think many of us who are busy working and raising young children, especially, may feel like we aren’t contributing as much as we’d like in our parishes and communities. (For me, personally, this is why I love to blog. I am able to work a full-time job, take care of the family that God has blessed me with, and still feel like I’m offering something outside my own little world.) We need to remember, though, that building strong, loving families is the foundation of our society and is worthy of most of our time and attention. Being able to sacrfice for our children in this way, enables us to grow in selflessness and be more open to whatever God is calling us to do now and in the future.
When we do find ourselves in situations where we can reach out to others beyond our family, we are still called to focus on each individual person. As last month’s featured Dreamer Ryan Eggenberger encouraged, “Everybody – every single persion – is worth it to God. That means everybody – every single person- is worth it to you and to me.” When we, through our actions, express to someone else that they, alone, matter to us and to God that is when real connections and relationships bloom. This is when we are most like Jesus.
It is, of course, easier said than done at times to take ourselves away from our work, thoughts, and to-do lists to really be present to others. Going outside of our comfort zones to really make a connection with someone can make us vulnerable to being rejected, but without taking risks and listening to promptings from the Holy Spirit, life would be pretty lonely.
I think a great example of someone who is living out this idea of influencing others by making deep connections is Contemporary Christian Music artist Matthew West. Matthew’s two most recent albums consist of songs that were inspired by stories of specific individuals. He read thousands of letters sent to him and then crafted some of these into hopeful and healing songs. On Matthew West’s website he shares the real-life stories behind each song. The cool thing is that several people are relating to these songs, even though each one was written for a particular person!
If you have not listened to Matthew’s latest Into the Light CD yet, I highly recommend it! My girls love dancing and singing the words, too!
We all have a role to play to bring others closer to Jesus. It can be as simple as making eye contact and giving a smile to a stranger – or your child.
Have a great weekend, everyone!