youcanshareYou can Share the Faith: Reaching Out One Person at a Time by Karen Edmisten.

Today, I finished Karen’s latest book which explores the many facets of  sharing our Catholic faith. If you haven’t read Karen’s books, I recommend that you read them all. I guarantee that you will be hooked and yearning for more. Her books never fail to inspire and encourage, brimming with joy and hope.

The topic of her latest book threatens to discourage me daily. Simply put, I can’t share the faith. I can’t convert hearts. I can’t make people believe what I believe. Karen’s book helped  me to see how sharing the faith actually works, as in how God uses people to share the faith…how the Hound of Heaven constantly reaches out to each one of us…how our prayers matter…how conversion is messy…that great pain and even great sin can be the greatest impetus for conversion.

Karen covers all the fears and frustrations of sharing our Catholic faith. It really is a daunting task, but Karen shows that, even in our weakness, God can use us. Her insights and stories illustrate how God masterfully uses our relationships as the means to be a witness to our faith.

The other week, during a discussion about sharing the faith, I made a disparaging remark about teenage faith formation for kids whose parents don’t practice their faith. I said in an arrogant tone, “Parents are the most important influence on kids. Parishes should strive to form the parents so that they can share the faith with their kids.”  Karen’s story of conversion showed me my error, as she found the Catholic faith through friends and in spite of atheist parents. Karen doesn’t make the mistake that I made and reduce evangelization to a cookie cutter model.

Sharing the faith is not a simple 3-step program that, once learned, you do over and over again with instant success. Instead, sharing the faith is this mysterious phenomenon in which God uses us, as flawed as we are, as His instrument. I don’t wake up and say “I am going to convert 4 people today.” I wake up and pray, “God, I am in love with You. Use me.”