Ash Wednesday is a good day to share your Catholic faith with others. Below are seven simple suggestions on how to do just that.
- When asked, explain why you have ashes on your forehead. It is almost inevitable that if you get your ashes early enough in the day (and you don’t accidentally wipe them off), you will run into someone who tells you that there is something (“dirt”, “smudge”, “stuff”, etc.) on your forehead. Remember, they are being polite in telling you this. So, return the favor by explaining what the ashes are for (a Biblical sign of repentance) and share your faith by explaining Lent and Ash Wednesday to them. As long as we don’t flaunt our faith for a show, it isn’t against the biblical directive of doing pious acts of faith for others to see.
- Invite someone to Mass with you. Anyone is welcome to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday in a Catholic Church. They need not even be Christian to receive them. This isn’t the case for Communion though, so it is a good time to explain our liturgy, belief in the Eucharist, basis for Sacraments, etc. to them. If you don’t know a good way to explain why a non-Catholic cannot receive the Eucharist, then this explanation should help.
- Discuss lent with your social media network. Most of us are connected to others through social media. With these connections come the availability and opportunity to help them come closer to Christ and His Church. So, start a discussion about what lent is for, what it means, or what you are doing for lent. Keep it positive and encourage all to participate in lent. You might post a video from an online blog (like this one!), a video (check out Redeemed Online’s #ShareJesus videos or share Bishop Robert Barron’s Lent reflections)
- Fast and Pray for others. The heart of evangelization is found in our prayer. We cannot help others if the source of our spiritual life is not deeply rooted in Christ through prayer. Since lent is a time of “increased prayer, fasting, and almsgiving“, we should use this increase in our prayer and fasting for others.
- Witness to another person about your faith, if the opportunity arises. There can be multiple opportunities to talk about your faith with someone throughout Lent. If a chance arises, take advantage of it. The point isn’t to convince, preach, or change someone’s mind. The point is to share an important part of your life with another person. We talk about sports, weather, and other unimportant things freely, why not discuss something of real value, your faith?
- Invest yourself in a relationship with a new friend. To make any relationship work you have to invest time and effort into it. You must open yourself up to the other person and truly love them. True love would always want what is best for the other person. What could be better than helping them know Christ and the Catholic faith better? Ultimately all effective evangelization comes down to good relationships. So, spend your time investing in others!
- Go out of your way to start Lent off with a bang. Don’t just “give something up” for lent. DO SOMETHING DARING! Write a nice note thanking someone for being a part of your life everyday during Lent. Say nice things to those you live with, work with, and are around daily. Start a random conversation in the grocery store line. Do something that pushes you to be a better you and a better evangelist. Start on Ash Wed!
Marcel is a husband and father of five, serves on the pastoral council at St. Mary’s and is the founder and Executive Director of Catholic Missionary Disciples.