By Curtis Kneblik
In reaching out to others it is best to be authentic and real. I mean, don’t put on a holy atmosphere as if you had something they don’t have. It’s best to just be yourself! We are all sons and daughters of the Father, we are already special. Being a missionary of the Pilgrim Shrine doesn’t make us any more special, it doesn’t raise our dignity higher than we already are, sons and daughters of the Heavenly Father. Therefore, be yourself, be a son, be a daughter, share your love for Mary and Jesus through your gestures, your words, your simple faith.
I like holy cards, and I use them quite a bit. I wish I had an MTA with the Lord’s Prayer on the back… The Holy Card is an easy way to share the image with someone and I allow the picture to do the work. I become small and even make light of my business card. I say, “I don’t have a business card but I hand out these pictures of Jesus.” I leave it at that. I let them take the next step if they want to comment or ask a question. We don’t have to teach them the catechism, but allow Mary to do the work through her picture.
Offer the picture to someone at church and say, “have you seen this picture of Mary, isn’t she beautiful?” then just wait and see where the conversation goes. Our goal is not proselytizing but sharing the image.
Why do you approach them? Because I love the Blessed Mother and I want to share them with others. Presume nothing. Someone may be needing a lift that day and you offer a picture. Let the Spirit guide you…look for signs. “Be on the lookout” it says in one of the evangelization documents. We are to be on the lookout for opportunities to encounter, and authentically encounter, not proselytize.
Are you genuinely kind and interested in the person or just trying to pass out MTA cards or shrines? Think about your encounters with people and then think how you would hand out the card with the image of Christ and Mary, without feeling awkward. If you feel awkward then they will feel awkward. How would you want to be approached? That could also be a guide into how you approach others.
I have felt intimidated by people who have an agenda and are trying to sell me on their viewpoint. People generally don’t like salesman – so don’t be one! Be genuine, be caring, and share out of love with NO preconceived expectations on how they are to respond. Some will respond in a grateful manner, some will be suspicious, some will reject it out right. BE OPEN TO LISTENING INSTEAD OF TALKING! People want to be listened to more than being talked at.