When my daughter was ready to attend first-grade religious instructions, the CCD coordinator asked if I would consider teaching a few children myself, in my home, for an hour a week. The parents could drop the children off at my house, with their little workbooks, and my daughter, of course, would be a member of that class. I felt qualified since I had had 16 years of Catholic education myself and had been a faithful practicing Catholic.
I have to confess that the first time I actually started talking about Jesus out loud I was a bit challenged. Even with all my theology classes, I had not really shared my faith vocally. It had been a very personal thing. My non-Catholic husband is a Christian but not a churchgoer except to support some program or class with which I was involved. My mother had always taken me to church when I was young, but we did not sit and talk about our faith. Catechism answers, church rules and commandments, and rites and rituals were important but not something we chatted about.
As it turned out, I ended up teaching religious instruction for 18 years, in home and at the Catholic grammar school a mile away from my home. There were times when the CCD teachers would meet with the coordinator to talk about teaching issues and challenges. I eventually got involved with more adults who actually shared their personal religious experiences and thoughts.
An office of small Christian communities formed in my area and there was a program created whereby our parish offered about five or six small Christian Community groups that met weekly, for about an hour, either at the church or in individual’s homes. I joined a small Christian community that met after the noon Mass on Wednesdays. In the group, we talked about our faith as it related to the weekly Sunday Mass readings. We did not get extremely technical or doctrinal or theological. We shared anecdotally how God was in our little and big life experiences. We were actually sharing our faith stories and enlightening ourselves and each other. We talked out loud, and we prayed. We grew closer to Jesus and to each other.
And now, even apart from any group, it is easier for me to share God with others and to draw attention to his blessings and loving presence. I don’t have to preach but just joyfully point out where I see God working and remember to pray and ask his help. Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ uplifts me and those with whom I interact. It is more than an occasional “God bless you!” It could be “God is so good!” or “God loves you and will help you through!” or “Let’s pray together!”