Thursday, May 21, 2015


Spend days and hours learning.


Keep prayer at the forefront.


Be convicted.


Remembering that you won’t convert a soul but that the Holy Spirit does it, give Him the best opportunity.  Often what wins people over is not the perfect answer or your surety in your faith, but rather the WAY in which you reach out to them.
I often tell people to be inviting rather than telling people they should go to Church.  On the radio the other day I heard this, which gets to the point of what I am trying to say, “Often people don’t remember what you said as much as they remember how you said it.”  No matter how right you may be, if the person bristles when you say it, it won’t soak into the brain – or if it does, it will do so as a poison rather than a medicine.


Chris P. said...

Fr. V (or everyone else who wanders upon this comment for that matter) -

Understanding that every situation is always different - Is there a time, or a cue, or some internal thing you have that goes off inside you when it's time to get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit do its thing? I understand that when the other person is frustrated or annoyed you've gone too far - but is there a point where you know you're in the sweet spot and it's time to leave well enough alone?

MaryofSharon said...

Yes, we need to deliver what we have to say with great discernment, gentleness, respect, and packaged in the irresistible beauty that the ways of God actually embody. We need to examine our motives to see if we are really speaking out of love and genuine concern for the good of another (as opposed to hoping to win an argument).

Still I would argue that avoiding causing another person to bristle should not be the guiding principle. Sometimes bristling simply cannot be avoided if one is going to maintain integrity and honesty. Surely Jesus caused quite a bit of bristling in His day.

We really need a deep prayer life and an ongoing connection with the Holy Spirit, perhaps through the habit of the daily examen, to begin to be able to discern which approach is best for a given situation.

(Fr. V., you actually stand as a good example of how to say what needs to be said with such graciousness that it's hard to take offense. For example the way you explain why non-Catholics ought not come forward to receive communion at Mass is about the most respect-filled and palatable I've ever heard. )

Pat said...

My interpretation of this post is that the message indeed may cause the person discomfort because he or she is offending God.

Therefore, care must be taken that our choice of words, tone of voice etc. do not become an excuse for the message itself to be dismissed.