Witnessing Christ in my life
Cecil Peters, a lay Catholic, shares why she recently committed herself to witness for Christ.
In the past, I used to cringe whenever I heard a homily or a message on witnessing for Christ. I even took slight comfort in knowing that I was not alone. I believe many Catholics also have similar feelings. However, I asked myself, “What is making me cringe?”
For me, at least, I think it is because I feel like I do not know enough about the faith to bear witness. When challenged with questions about the Catholic faith, I must admit that there are times I do not have the answer.
I began reflecting on what faith knowledge I must acquire to be a witness of Christ when I was inspired by the Holy Spirit to read the story of the Widow’s Mite: “He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the treasury, and many of the rich put in a great deal.
A poor widow came and put in two small coins, the equivalent of a penny. Then he called to his disciples and said to them, “In truth I tell you, this poor widow has put more in, than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they could spare, but she in her poverty has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44)
There are three key lessons I learned from this passage.
The first of which is that God sees everything I do. He sees my intentions, motivations, and efforts at witnessing. I sometimes beat myself down for failing to witness or for not making enough effort to do so.
However, I have come to realise that any seed I sow, whether in the form of a kind word, act or thought, is a seed planted in faith. Witnessing to others and expecting instant results, is setting myself up for failure. The germination of the seed in faith formation takes time and one may not have the chance to see the fruit of one’s labour. I am also reminded “that neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” (Corinthians 3:17)
In witnessing Christ, I learned that I needed to trust in the Holy Spirit to work His miracles on the people of God, in his own time.
No act is too small
The next lesson for me is the persona of the poor widow. In today’s context, my interpretation is that she would represent the marginalised of our society; the poor, the unemployed and the orphaned. How often, do we gloss over the marginalised, and the ‘have-nots’ in our society as we perceive them as just receivers from those who ‘have’?
Yet, she touched the heart of God, and the Lord raised her status to one from whom the apostles could learn. Here, Jesus teaches me a valuable lesson, which is that any kind word or deed, no matter how small, would not escape the eyes of God. Thus, I am called to witness with confidence and courage.
Faith in action
“She gave all she had to live on” – Witnessing is faith in action, trusting God to not only meet our needs but also to allow God to touch others through us. The more I placed my trust in God, the more I was surrounded by an indescribable peace. It is the kind of peace a child may discover, as when Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of God belongs.” (Mark 10:13)
Witnessing for Christ became easier after I experienced a personal conversion. Ten years ago, I would not dare to witness for Christ. It took my personal conversion, a process in which I had to confront my internal ‘demons’ and bring them before the Lord before I could take the first step.
I had to look at what separated me from God and ask hard questions like, “Why me, God? Why did this have to happen?” and allow God to heal me. The healing process helped open the door of my heart so that Jesus could come in and show me the way I should live my life. In retrospect, it is difficult to pinpoint how it all started, suffice to say that I took baby steps.
Following my conversion 3 years ago, I began to consciously ask myself “What would Jesus want me to do in this or that situation? Would what I am going to do please the Lord?” Once I started putting Him at the centre of my life and began living my life His way, I grew stronger in my faith formation.
Work in progress
Meeting the Lord, almost daily in personal prayer, continues to build me up and I joyfully celebrate in His plan for me. That said, I am always mindful that I am still a work-in-progress, and I should still expect disappointments from time to time.
To build up confidence, I started practising witnessing in my family. I began setting an example to say Grace before family meals, sharing Gospel reflections with family members after Mass, and giving words of encouragement to my loved ones about the unconditional love of God (especially when they are in difficult situations). In this way, I learn\ to grow in faith and deepen my relationship with the Heavenly Father.
I began to see the Holy Spirit’s power transforming me as a witness to God’s love. In whatever task I do, whether I am at work or home, or with the community, I am called to not only do them with love and reverence for God, but also to bring Jesus to others and to testify to the redemptive sacrifice He paid for our salvation. May the Holy Spirit continue his marvellous work in transforming us for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.