An important aspect of Disciples in Mission is being able to speak to another person about the difference Christ makes in one's life or how one has come to recognize Christ in the experiences of life. For the last couple of years, the Catholic Community of Lakeville, Middleboro and Rochester, also referred to as the Cranberry Catholic Collaborative, invites and trains parishioners to give witness talks. This year, Holly Clark, Pastoral Associate in the Cranberry Collaborative shared the following witness that describe the way Christ revealed himself to her in her ministry. These reflections were shared at some Masses in the collaborative on Pentecost Sunday. I share her reflections so that you have an idea of how simple yet profound giving witness can be and invite you, as does Holly, to consider what you might say about Christ's presence in your own life and the importance of your relationship with Christ.
Come Holy Spirit! On Pentecost it is traditional to share faith and bear witness to one another. Often times it takes the form of a witness talk given by one of you -- the people in the pews. But today, I have come to share not my personal story of how I came to know Christ but rather to give voice to those who live their lives deeply in the love of Christ and are not with us today. I speak of those who are unable to get to church because of illness or old age, our homebound parishioners. In my work I visit those who are homebound and bring them the Eucharist and during that time we share faith together. The faith and love of Christ they bear witness to has evangelized me many times over. Today I want to share their faith as shared with me...
Simone -- Simone's love of Christ begins with the joy of Christ. We sometimes shared with Jesus the stories of our families. All the while, her face reflected the face of a laughing, joyful Jesus to me. Though she was unable to move much from her chair she would always have a glass of ice water and a filled candy dish next to me for my visit before I arrived. Oftentimes she would send me home with a little bit of candy for my Mom. From Simone I witnessed the hospitality and joy of Christ.
Bonnie -- Bonnie's love of Christ is fueled by her great faith in Jesus' ministry to those who need his help. In her younger days as a cafeteria worker she made sure no child ever went hungry because they couldn't pay. Later, when she was much older she fell once, outside her home, and couldn't quite get up. A kind man in a suit helped her up but quickly disappeared. Her great faith told her Jesus had sent "an angel" to help her up for he had disappeared as mysteriously as he arrived. From Bonnie I witnessed deep faith and trust in God.
John and his Mom -- John's love of Christ came from his mom. I was called to bring her the Eucharist but when I arrived she was no longer conscious and aware because she was nearing the end of her life. John, himself, received the Eucharist and gave his mom a kiss on the cheek while softly whispering to her that he had received Jesus and the kiss on the cheek was his way of bringing her close to Jesus in that moment. Tears came to my eyes as I witnessed the love of Jesus at work through mother and son.
I have many more stories of faith from the people I meet in their homes. Their witness to me is a witness of being, of doing, and of loving as Christ would. Sadly some of those homebound I have met now rest in Jesus' arms but their love of Christ remains in my heart as joy-filled memories. Each of us has a story, each of us can give witness to Christ. And sometimes, though, it may even be the witness of others to us that we need to pay attention to.
I challenge you today to share your faith with one another and to open your eyes to the world around you. Where do you find Christ at work? Open your hearts and His love will flow... Come Holy Spirit!
Sister Pat Boyle is associate director of the Archdiocese of Bostonís Office of Pastoral Planning.
Recent articles in the Faith & Family section
The USCCB Convocation of Catholic LeadersSister Pat Boyle, CSJ
The two faces of immigrationKevin and Marilyn Ryan
Of Wheat and WeedsScott Hahn
Non-Catholics in heaven?Father Kenneth Doyle
A World War Being Waged Not With Weapons but IdeasFather Roger J. Landry