Is There A Reason You Liked the Book?

A little over six months ago, the Faith Formation Commission decided that the 2017 One Book One Parish reading selection would be Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly. Since that time, numerous people have come up to me indicating how much they have enjoyed reading the book.
A good question for me to ask would be “Why?”

My question is an invitation to describe the reason that something is important. It models the invitation presented by Saint Peter in the second reading at this weekend’s Mass. He writes:

Always be ready to give an explanation
to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope,
but do it with gentleness and reverence,
keeping your conscience clear,
so that, when you are maligned,
those who defame your good conduct in Christ
may themselves be put to shame. (1PT 3:15-16)

This single passage in scripture is often cited at the reason why we spend time studying the Bible and the teachings of the Church. It justifies the whole field of theology and lays upon us all the expectation as Christians that we will participate in evangelization.

Quite often, people get a little uneasy when church leaders say that believers are expected to “evangelize.” The thought that stirs in our mind when we speak of “evangelization” is street corner preachers who are looking for a soul to save or a TV preacher who makes you feel like you are listening to a vender selling snake oil.

In fact, evangelization is something quite different. It is simply giving a reason for your hope.

Let’s take a step back for a second. At this point in time, it may be helpful to point out that the fruit that grows from a well nurtured faith is hope. If as a Christian, you do not find yourself filled with hope, then maybe you’re doing it wrong. Take a second look and see what is going on in your life and try to discover how to have an encounter with a faith can transform you.

And if you do find that your faith gives you a sense of hope, why wouldn’t you want others to have that same gift? Often our world is cynical and cruel. The world needs a sense of hope and Saint Peter’s admonition to us is that we need to be ready to give a reason for that hope. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to stand on a street corner shouting it out, but rather that we live with a sense of hopeful expectation and to share that free gift of hope with others.

That is the reason that I ask “Why” to respondents who have praised Resisting Happiness. It isn’t that I lack a personal connection to the book. I have enjoyed the book immensely, but I want to know YOUR reason and by you sharing that reason with me, I am more hopeful too.
When the Faith Formation Commission met earlier in the Spring, we set a goal of soliciting responses from individuals about their experience of Resisting Happiness so that it could be shared with others. If you’ve picked up a Blue Card from the Resisting Happiness board, there was an invitation to send in your response after completing the action on the card to 1book@saintandrewchicago.com.

We are collecting these little snapshots of your reasons so we can share them. Please send in your responses either from a Blue Action Card or any response that you want to give about the book. It’s a small way that we can evangelize – share our hope – with those around us.

-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate

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