Being an intentional disciple is going to be hard, but necessary

Michigan Catholic staff reporter Dan Meloy sporting a Detroit City FC scarf in front of St. Bernard Parish in Wauwatosa, Wisc. (Dan Meloy | The Michigan Catholic)

“Being a disciple means being constantly ready to bring the love of Jesus to others, and this can happen unexpectedly and in any place; on the street, in a city square, during work, on a journey”— Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, Unleash the Gospel

Dan Meloy

Well … this is going to be hard.

In a world that’s increasingly secular, the idea of sharing your faith in a non-Church setting can be intimidating and at times, downright terrifying for today’s young adults.

Whether it’s a false perception of Catholics being intolerant prudes or the worry that proclaiming our Catholic faith runs the risk of alienating people we know and respect, today’s evangelists have to live in a world where Christianity is increasingly counter-cultural.

But it’s not up to us to determine when and where we exist on this earth to spread the Gospel. God already made that decision millennia ago.

Rather, it’s up to us to go about doing the work of proclaiming Christ, hazarding whatever social ridicule or awkward stares we get for making the sign of the cross when an ambulance rolls by or telling someone we know we’re praying for them when they share their troubles.

Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to take a bus trip to Wisconsin to support a local soccer team I follow — taking full advantage of a weekend off. The bus arrived early, meaning the group had a few hours to kill before the game.

I whipped out my phone and looked up where the nearest Mass was — shout out to St. Bernard Parish in Wauwatosa — and went on my way. As I started walking away from the group, I had this pit in my stomach. Should I have invited them?

I had a good idea what the answer would be, but I still felt guilty for not extending the olive branch. What was I worried about? Ostracizing myself from the group for guilt-tripping people into coming to church? Admittedly, that would make the six-hour trip home a little awkward. But part of me was disappointed in myself for not using the moment to evangelize, for bringing Christ to others.

Maybe I’m being hard on myself. Maybe being an evangelist means knowing when to pick your battles. Maybe just living a Christian life is good enough in some circles.

Whatever is the answer, I thought a lot about it on the way home, what it means to bring Christ to the “city square.”

Dan Meloy is a staff reporter for The Michigan Catholic newspaper.