I was introduced to a man about my age who was a self-described “lapsed Catholic”. In our first phone call he said that, despite his distance from the Church, he still felt something pulling him in, not letting him leave completely. Wanting a victory, I bent over backwards to make time, every so many weeks, spending no less than an hour on the phone. After not hearing from him in a while, I got an urgent request for another phone call during a week in which I was at max capacity. My savior complex got the best of me and I made time to connect. The man shared that he had an idea about what could bring people back, what could bring him back. He wanted my feedback. It was a business proposition. After listening for about 45 minutes, I gave him my feedback. I affirmed some of his observations and then I shared what I thought was missing – namely the truth about who Jesus is and about salvation. Very quickly, his tone turned defensive. He told me I was emblematic of the Church’s problem – unimaginative, unwilling to listen, unable to take a risk. I stopped him and asked, “How long have we been speaking today? Didn’t you want my feedback?” He acknowledged the point and quickly ended the conversation. Game over. Cellucci loss. The whole rest of the day, I felt duped. I felt foolish. I felt like I wasted so much time. I kept asking why I even bothered.
Skimming through a prayer book, I found the following prompt, “Don’t ask God to tell you why it didn’t go your way, ask how God wants you to grow from it.” Perhaps the victory this time wasn’t another’s conversion. Perhaps the victory was me articulating to someone who I don’t know, the “greatest treasure entrusted” to me – my belief in Jesus. I give lots of presentations about what I believe but, if I’m honest, I could be doing a lot more one-on-one. The fascinating thing about the “light” we have been given by Jesus is that we can only “protect it,” if we share it. And, sharing it, is never a waste of time.