Eunice / Reflections

What we can learn from our Protestant brothers and sisters

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Just loving this book!

On a recent trip, I visited a Baptist youth minister to learn about youth ministry in their church. He told me that if there’s one thing he could instill in the youth, it would be a love for the Word. I told him I knew that there’s the all too familiar joke that Catholics don’t read the Bible.

Over dinner, I spoke with some Dominican sisters who shared that growing up, they had a bible, but never remember reading it. Their bibles were beautiful, large print, with coloured pictures (something rare in those days), but no one pulled it off the shelf.

I look at my protestant brothers and sisters and am inspired by their faith. I think we have much to learn from them, if we are humble enough to see…

Here’s three things I think we can learn:

3. To read our bible and LOVE it. How can we remind ourselves of TRUTH if we aren’t being fed TRUTH. One way Jesus speaks to us, and powerfully too, is through His word. I picked up my bible the other night and read the story of Jonah. I’ve heard the story of Jonah countless times, but for the first time, I read it myself and came to understand what the story is actually about. There is something deeper than the boy in a whale. Imagine, when our friends and family are feeling down and we can whip out God’s promises. Imagine that a friend is doubting and we speak to her with Jeremiah 29:11. Or imagine that if we ourselves are going through doubt and we can look to Romans 8:28. Or maybe we are feeling unloved and run to John 3:16. We are all seeking for God to speak into our lives…if we would only pick up His Word, maybe we would see that He already is.

2. To share our faith and make that the norm.

Whenever people ask, we have a choice…to give them a ‘watered-down answer’ or to actually engage in conversation and give them the reason for our hope. 1 Peter 3:15 says to ‘Always be prepared to give a reason for your hope.’ Do we shy away from the inquirers? Maybe because we feel inadequate? Christ will lead the way and prepare our hearts…

And the number ONE thing I think we all NEED to learn…it’s not an optional lesson…

1. To realize PERSONAL is not just possible, but necessary to our faith and our very lives.  A personal relationship is available to ALL of us with Jesus Christ. Pope Francis has really been emphasizing it. Pope Benedict said,

Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.

Sherry Weddell in her book Forming Intentional Disciples says, “The majority of adult Catholics are not even certain that a personal relationship with God is possible.”

We were meant to have vibrant faith that moves mountains. Being radical like Mother Teresa or any of the saints, should be the norm. My heart is in the Catholic church, but I know that we can learn much from our protestant brothers and sisters.

I see that these three things, do and are meant to, exist in our Catholic faith, but somewhere along the way, we must have forgotten or left out. Let’s not be ashamed to ask for help and to learn from others.

For now, I just send a thank you to my protestant bros. You have set the bar high and I am inspired to read scripture more, be missionary in everything, and seek a personal relationship with Jesus.

Please comment below if you have thoughts/questions!

~E

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3 thoughts on “What we can learn from our Protestant brothers and sisters

  1. You know, I think it comes down to the way that the faith is passed on to parishioners, to priests, and to the next generation of Catholics. There’s been a bit of a disconnect between the Magisterium and the Clergy, between the Magisterium and the Laity, and between the Clergy and the Laity. The Church has actually spoken about all 3 of the things you mentioned. The 2nd Vatican Council set the bar high for what scriptural exegesis means, and how much the Scriptures should be cherished by every Catholic. The Council’s constitution on the Church also speaks of the universal call to Holiness and that the Church is called to spread the Word of Christ, who is the Light of the Nations. And off the top of my head, I can’t think of a specific proclamation by the Magisterium about having a personal relationship with Christ, but the fact that Catholics eat God at every mass is a good start!

    I guess all of this is a long-winded way to say that the Tradition is so, so, so incredibly rich, but somehow, the way it is taught and passed on needs work. Unfortunately, Vatican II was massively misinterpreted, and has only recently started to be properly implemented (JP II and BXVI worked hard at this).

    And I guess all of that was a long-winded way to say that of course we should look to our brothers and sisters in Christ for inspiration and for edification, but I think Catholics also need to recover a sense of the Church as Mother – which would necessarily mean that we would look to her as a trustworthy authority.

    • Lumen Fidei touches a bit on the personal relationship with Jesus. “…Christ’s life, his way of knowing the Father and living in complete and constant relationship with him, opens up new and inviting vistas for human experience. Saint John brings out the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus for our faith by using various forms of the verb “to believe”. In addition to “believing that” what Jesus tells us is true, John also speaks of “believing” Jesus and “believing in” Jesus. We “believe” Jesus when we accept his word, his testimony, because he is truthful. We “believe in” Jesus when we personally welcome him into our lives and journey towards him, clinging to him in love and following in his footsteps along the way.” Lumen Fidei 18

      I think the early Church had a solid understanding of what it meant to be in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, as the apostles and catechists who brought people in the faith would be able to trace their spiritual lineage directly to the Person Himself. As time and generations were born, then the “degrees of separation” became more and more abstract and the concept of a personal relationship became less tangible, until the last few hundred years.

      There’s a deep, rich, and expansive wealth of knowledge and teaching from the Church, but I truly believe that a good chunk of that is irrelevant without the initial, basic proclamation of the Gospel. It’s hard to share things that Jesus taught without introducing them to the Teacher.

  2. Thanks for sharing that video!! It’s probably been my biggest realization through my current job and a huge discovery of my own spirituality and soul and purpose. She’s so right. Sometimes work is boring and slow, but we can use even those moments to praise him through our attitude!

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