Knock knock! Who's there? A Catholic.

Between my adequate-ish knowledge of scripture and our 175-pound mastiff, I think we've seen the last of this particular Jehovah's Witness. 

The woman who came to our door this morning had been here before (back when the dog was smaller and less ... avid), but I think she's finally chalked us up as a lost cause. She said that she had been raised Catholic -- that her own mother is a Eucharistic Minister in my parish. I hate to think what her catechesis was like! She was under the impression that Catholics don't read the Bible or think about what it means. I was able to persuade her otherwise, just by quoting a few lines of the Gospel that I've heard a thousand times at Mass; so at least there's that.

I wish that I had been less defensive and more inviting, though. As an evangelist, I'm laboring under a triple whammy: I'm a New Englander, I'm shy, and I'm a Catholic. (Also I was in my pajamas, but so is half the country.) All three together mean that I'm entirely focused on closing the door as quickly as I can and getting back to my comfortable, private living room. I have almost zero inclination to tell a stranger, "Hey, have you heard about this magnificent truth which will transform your life? Let me tell you .  .  ." 

But that is what the Pope (and all the Popes since Peter, for goodness' sake) has been telling us to do: not to be content with hunkering down and preserving the Faith within our fortress, but to actively go out and spread the Good News.

There are several organizations which have been doing just that.  The St. Paul Street Evanglization has 180 teams of Catholics who find street corners and crowds, greet passers by, offer free rosaries, and make themselves available, in a friendly an non-combative way, to answer questions and offer information. The Legion of Mary often organizes evangelization campaigns through parishes or colleges. And some parishes, many inspired by Sherry Weddell's Forming Intentional Disciples, have (with the blessing of their pastor) trained groups of laymen to go door-to-door in their community, inviting people to come to Mass, or offering to pray for them. Sometimes, the best response to this kind of invitation comes from people who were raised Catholic, but fell away after a bad experience, or never really learned much in twelve years of parochial school. Re-evangelization may very well be the most important work of this century. 

Of course, we're not all called to go out and knock on doors. (I once worked for the Census Department, so I know how hostile people can be when you stop by uninvited!) If you're sure this is not your thing right now, it couldn't hurt to order a few copies of Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth: The Catholic Church and God's Plan for You to have on hand. Then, if someone does come to your door wanting to give you a tract or a magazine, you can say, "I'll read yours if you read mine!" This justly popular pamphlet from Catholic Answers is only 30 pages long and is an excellent resource for all kinds of information about our Faith. I just ordered a few copies (and I wouldn't be too broken up if one of them migrates into my kids' bedroom, either). At very least, seeing them next to the door should remind me that every single day is an opportunity to plant a seed.

Another easy idea for busy or shy people: if you're active on social media, let it be known that you're Catholic. If you appear happy and involved with your Faith, people will likely come to you when they have questions. Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks the reason for your hope! (1 Peter 3:15) (And don't be afraid to say, "You know, I'm not sure, but I'll go look it up.")

The world needs the word of God very badly, and God, in His oddness, has chosen us -- us! -- as the means to bring it to people's ears. As long as we remember that it is the Holy Spirit who changes hearts, and not our cleverness or powers of persuasion, then God will bless our efforts and help people to hear what He wants them to hear.