Have you ever struggled with what to say when? Want to have more intentional conversations with teens, parents, friends, or strangers? Pick one or all of the tips to help you have better conversations with those around you.
- Love a person where they are – but love them even more to not leave them there. God has put you in front of them to encounter them through you! Be brave! Share the Gospel message of love, mercy, forgiveness and challenge to do what is right. He wants you to love others just as he did!
- Show compassion – Ever kneel at the foot of the cross and have the courage to look up into the eyes of Jesus? That’s compassion! He gazes at you, loves you and shows you compassion even when you’ve done wrong and made mistakes. Don’t judge. Put on your “Jesus glasses” and treat them as Jesus would.
- Affirm them in their answering a call from the Holy Spirit, a direct call/text from God! – Affirm their courage and bravery because they _________ (picked up the phone and called the church, sent that email asking for Baptism, or wrote the check for that retreat that was a true sacrifice)! They have taken a step towards Christ and that is always in the right direction.
- Acknowledge their difficulties, challenges, struggles, sufferings, and sacrifices – Jesus suffered. He picked up his cross AFTER he fell and continued to walk towards his death. Did he stay dead? No! He overcame death and was victorious in giving us a path to Heaven. No one has ever had an “easy road to Heaven.”
- Reassure them – they are on a path in the right direction that is not always popular, common or easy to figure out.
- Encourage them to persevere and prevail through the darkness because there is literally “light at the end of the tunnel”!! – Support is not always found when one begins a new journey, endeavor or adventures. It takes a little bit of time to build up a new circle of friends or fellow adventurers.
- Help them to grow where they are planted! – Many people don’t have a strong family support in the cities that they currently live or the faith relationship that they desire. Assure them that your parish is a family literally waiting to meet them and pray with them, especially at mass!! Get them connected to the bigger community.
- Find the “fruits”– Celebrate successes and victories no matter how BIG or small! Help them to identify the fruits of their messy and beautiful lives and point out that God has brought them this far and will not leave them alone.
- Give them permission and challenge them to let go of the past and move forward into a new life with Christ – I remember a retreat leader giving me permission to take a nap during our free time. That was all I needed especially when I consistently feel like I have to be doing something. I often need reminders to just “be!”
Need a saint or TWO to help along the way? These saints are some of my favorites that help me get out of my comfort zone and provide guidance in working with those searching and seeking Christ.
- St. Mary Magdelene – She was courageous, brave and fearless. Sometimes I get nervous or know that a conversation is going to be tough….St. Mary Magdelene…..pray for me.
- St. Monica – She persevered in her prayer for many years for her wayward son. I most definitely pray after a conversation with someone that God can use the words both spoken and unspoken to make a different in that person’s life.
May you have the grace this year to encounter Christ is each person you serve!