I was also able to see the ways in which my current job has influenced my ability to evangelize. Personal finance is so touchy, people are very guarded about the way they view, spend, and save money. Even though I am the financial professional, sometimes it is difficult to get a good grasp on someone's financial situation. I've spent the last two years learning to craft questions for my clients to help them self realize what they should do, and provide financial education along the way. I'm pretty good at it, but I still have a long way to go. For a depiction (which I find hilarious and accurate) of my day to day life, watch this video. Warning: one f bomb at the end.
This year I've also spent a lot of time getting inside the minds of 8th and 9th grade girls and learning about what makes them tick. I'm far better at financial planning, let me tell you. One of the things I appreciate so much more about FOCUS and evangelizing to college students and young adults is that the men and women who are being evangelized are much more rational than my 8th and 9th grade girls. In a lot of ways, I read and thought myself into the faith. I had a lot of emotional experiences of God when I was in high school, and I do believe that those are the seeds of faith. When I got to college, it was more important to me to know what I believed. Today, my faith is pretty intellectual. This has kept me coming back for more, even when I couldn't feel God moving in my life, and for this I am extremely grateful. I am nowhere near as holy as God wants me to be and I fail all.the.time., but I'm so stubborn that I just won't quit. When I'm having conversations with adults, I feel like I'm able to get an understanding of their points of views and ask questions to hopefully help them self realize what I want to tell them, instead of just telling them flat out. I never knew how to do this as a missionary. I would like to spend a lot more time getting better at this. I don't mean to sound manipulative, but I do think it can be an effective strategy in helping someone see Truth.
I'm even more convinced that authentic evangelization comes from living in community and building real, tangible relationships. The internet is so annoying to me lately, from #redcupgate to all the hashtag activists. It drives me nuts. Everyone has an opinion, no one takes any action. The world is changed for the better in communities of people who are inspired to change their schedules to help another person. (One of the defining characteristics of a disciple maker from the FOCUS Discipleship Road Map)
Anyways, right now I'm reading some of the writings of Edith Stein (Sr. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) and I wanted to share with you some of the things I read that moved me this week (parenthesis and bolds are mine):
"Those who attain the freedom of these heights (holiness) and expansive views have outgrown what is usually called "happiness" and "unhappiness." They may have to fight hard for worldly existence, may lack the support of a warm family life or, correspondingly, of the human community which sustains and supports-- but lonely and joyless they can no longer be. Those who live with the Holy Church and its liturgy, i.e., as authentic Catholics, can never be lonely: they find themselves embedded in the great human community; everywhere, all are united as brothers and sisters in the depths of their hearts."
She goes on to write:
"According to everything which we learn from personal experience and the history of salvation, the Lord's method is to form persons through other persons... Persons are used as instruments to awaken and nurture the divine spark. Thus, natural and supernatural factors reveal that even in the life of grace, "it is not good that man should be alone.""
God is good!
St. Frances Cabrini, pray for us.