Called to be an apologist?

I was thinking about this today. About the fact that I ended up as an administrator on a Catholic apologetics online discussion board (not this one) and since abdicating that to do some serious writing, spend a good deal of my time posting here. I’ve wondered if it’s just an addiction (that we often kid about here), but I don’t think so.

When I had been received into the Church for just a short while I was at a Sunday Mass hearing the Gospel reading in which Jesus told Peter that after he had been tested he, Peter, would confirm his brothers in their faith. That promise struck me to the heart and I heard God tell me, “And you will do the same.”

Now, I know God wasn’t calling me to be a bishop! :eek: But rather, that he was calling me to help others who, like me, were seekers after the truth, to help them understand and come to love the Church and its teachings. And that is why I believe I cannot stop reading and posting here and on other such websites, as well as be an apologist wherever I find myself. Does this sort of calling ring a bell with others here, too?

When i started to rediscover my faith, I felt compelled to become an apologist. But after a while, I got tired with arguing, I got tired with repeating the same arguements to the same responses.

If you have what you feel is a need to spread the faith, then Im guessing that is Gods will for you. However, I would consider it very carefully. Being an apologist is no easy thing. I find that when im busy debating i lose focus of why Im debating. You will have to be very careful not to fall into the trap of debating because of pride.

I think, prayer and showing others the faith through works is a better route for me.

However, if you are compelled to become an apologist (and i admit i spend a lot of the time talking/reading on the forums too, dont let it be your only guide though) then i would talk to your priest about it. Hopefully he will have some wonderful advice about what to do.

In Christ.

Andre.

[quote=Della]I was thinking about this today. About the fact that I ended up as an administrator on a Catholic apologetics online discussion board (not this one) and since abdicating that to do some serious writing, spend a good deal of my time posting here. I’ve wondered if it’s just an addiction (that we often kid about here), but I don’t think so.

When I had been received into the Church for just a short while I was at a Sunday Mass hearing the Gospel reading in which Jesus told Peter that after he had been tested he, Peter, would confirm his brothers in their faith. That promise struck me to the heart and I heard God tell me, “And you will do the same.”

Now, I know God wasn’t calling me to be a bishop! :eek: But rather, that he was calling me to help others who, like me, were seekers after the truth, to help them understand and come to love the Church and its teachings. And that is why I believe I cannot stop reading and posting here and on other such websites, as well as be an apologist wherever I find myself. Does this sort of calling ring a bell with others here, too?
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This has been my experience as well. Sometimes I wonder if I am wasting too much time in all my apologetics and Scripture study efforts, but then the words of Jeremiah 20:7-11come to me:

O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived; thou art stronger than I, and thou hast prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; every one mocks me. For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the LORD has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. For I hear many whispering. Terror is on every side! “Denounce him! Let us denounce him!” say all my familiar friends, watching for my fall. “Perhaps he will be deceived, then we can overcome him, and take our revenge on him.” But the LORD is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble, they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten.

[quote=Magicsilence]When i started to rediscover my faith, I felt compelled to become an apologist. But after a while, I got tired with arguing, I got tired with repeating the same arguements to the same responses.

If you have what you feel is a need to spread the faith, then Im guessing that is Gods will for you. However, I would consider it very carefully. Being an apologist is no easy thing. I find that when im busy debating i lose focus of why Im debating. You will have to be very careful not to fall into the trap of debating because of pride.

I think, prayer and showing others the faith through works is a better route for me.
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Yes, there are many pitfalls in apologetics, but then there are in every type of ministry. I’ve always felt I ought to be involved in some lay ministry. This just seems to be the right thing for me to do. If you know it isn’t right for you, I see that as a good thing for you. God probably has something else for you–perhaps an area in which you aren’t dealing with the inner workings of the heart and soul, but more with the physical needs of people. Only you can know that, of course, you and your spiritual director.

However, if you are compelled to become an apologist (and i admit i spend a lot of the time talking/reading on the forums too, dont let it be your only guide though) then i would talk to your priest about it. Hopefully he will have some wonderful advice about what to do.

In Christ.

Andre.

I really hadn’t thought about talking to my pastor about doing this ministry. You’d have to know some things about my background to know why, but in any case, you’ve made a good suggestion, which I think I ought to take seriously. Thank you. Please pray for me–I will pray for you, too! :smiley:

[quote=Della]I was thinking about this today. About the fact that I ended up as an administrator on a Catholic apologetics online discussion board (not this one) and since abdicating that to do some serious writing, spend a good deal of my time posting here. I’ve wondered if it’s just an addiction (that we often kid about here), but I don’t think so.

When I had been received into the Church for just a short while I was at a Sunday Mass hearing the Gospel reading in which Jesus told Peter that after he had been tested he, Peter, would confirm his brothers in their faith. That promise struck me to the heart and I heard God tell me, “And you will do the same.”

Now, I know God wasn’t calling me to be a bishop! :eek: But rather, that he was calling me to help others who, like me, were seekers after the truth, to help them understand and come to love the Church and its teachings. And that is why I believe I cannot stop reading and posting here and on other such websites, as well as be an apologist wherever I find myself. Does this sort of calling ring a bell with others here, too?
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Della, you are a very reliable source of information, so maybe you should listen to that call. At least delve into it deeper and explore it. You help many of us to understand the faith on these forums, it’s so good to have people who know the Church’s history as you do. Blessings! :slight_smile:

[quote=Fidelis]This has been my experience as well. Sometimes I wonder if I am wasting too much time in all my apologetics and Scripture study efforts, but then the words of Jeremiah 20:7-11come to me:
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Thank you for sharing that passage with me. I also think of Paul’s statement that he was in debt to the Gentiles to share the Gospel with them. It seems both of us feel this compunction to help others come to understand Christ’s Church and its teachings. And each one of us who do bring something a bit different to it, don’t we? Some bring great learnings, others great heart, and others deep spiritual insights into the human heart, mind, and soul. All these and more are necessary in order to be of real aid to those whom God has called us to minister to, aren’t they? :wink:

[quote=paramedicgirl]Della, you are a very reliable source of information . . .]You help many of us to understand the faith on these forums
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Della,
I concur with parimedicgirl. I find your posts thoughtful, insightful, and enlightening. You have a real talent. I am sure that whatever path is yours, you won’t bury it like the servant in this weeks Gospel reading.

I guess this is a good time to say “thank you” for your contributions here. I appreciate your ability to share the faith. :thumbsup:

God Bless you,
VC

[quote=paramedicgirl]Della, you are a very reliable source of information, so maybe you should listen to that call. At least delve into it deeper and explore it. You help many of us to understand the faith on these forums, it’s so good to have people who know the Church’s history as you do. Blessings! :slight_smile:
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Thank you for your kind words and encouragement, PMG. I haven’t really thought about how deeply God might want me to be involved in this type of ministry. I’ve just been posting and hoping that I was doing some good for some folks. I will pray about it more earnestly and talk to my pastor to see what he might suggest. Thank you for your thoughts, as well as your kind blessings. May God bless you richly and sweetly, too! :slight_smile:

[quote=Verbum Caro]Della,
I concur with parimedicgirl. I find your posts thoughtful, insightful, and enlightening. You have a real talent. I am sure that whatever path is yours, you won’t bury it like the servant in this weeks Gospel reading.

I guess this is a good time to say “thank you” for your contributions here. I appreciate your ability to share the faith. :thumbsup:

God Bless you,
VC
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Goodness! You guys are making me blush! But, I am humbled too to think I have had such a positive impact here. That’s good to hear when I often feel like I’ve contributed nothing useful and that no one has been getting much of anything from my poor efforts. I give all the thanks and praise to God for any good I may have done, for truly, it is the working of God’s grace that accomplishes his work in and through us, and not we ourselves that do it. :wink:

I also feel I have been called to catechise fellow Catholics. I don’t argue, just point things out to them that they may have overlooked, and explain why the Church teaches certain thing.

Then last year I went to work for a non-Catholic who had been an anti-Catholic. There was another Catholic working with me and the boss often overheard us talking about the Faith at breaks. He started to ask questions, and is now seriously looking at the Catholic Church.

We don’t need to go looking, God puts people in our path, and it is these people we should witness to. Someone said that we don’t have to be successful, just make ourselves available. Reading and studying Scripture and apologetics prepares us, God does the rest.

[quote=Eileen T]I also feel I have been called to catechise fellow Catholics. I don’t argue, just point things out to them that they may have overlooked, and explain why the Church teaches certain thing.

Then last year I went to work for a non-Catholic who had been an anti-Catholic. There was another Catholic working with me and the boss often overheard us talking about the Faith at breaks. He started to ask questions, and is now seriously looking at the Catholic Church.

We don’t need to go looking, God puts people in our path, and it is these people we should witness to. Someone said that we don’t have to be successful, just make ourselves available. Reading and studying Scripture and apologetics prepares us, God does the rest.
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I certainly agree that we can and should be a witness wherever God has planted us, but the ministry of being an apologist is a real one that is not for everyone. Like any calling it requires those with that calling to be open to God’s will and humble in the task of helping others understand the teachings of the Church. An apologist isn’t so much an evangelist, in that his direct goal isn’t to bring people into the Church as much as to pave the way by answering questions and encouraging people when they begin to see the light. And although I see myself as more of an apologist than an evangelist, I have had the happy privilege of helping a couple of former Assemblies of God ministers and missionaries come home to the Church and to be their sponsor, but I expect that sort of experience will be a rare one in my work on the board and off.

[quote=Della]Thank you for sharing that passage with me. I also think of Paul’s statement that he was in debt to the Gentiles to share the Gospel with them. It seems both of us feel this compunction to help others come to understand Christ’s Church and its teachings. And each one of us who do bring something a bit different to it, don’t we? Some bring great learnings, others great heart, and others deep spiritual insights into the human heart, mind, and soul. All these and more are necessary in order to be of real aid to those whom God has called us to minister to, aren’t they? :wink:
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Yes, it does. Rarely is someone converted by just one person, although sometimes one person can be a catalyst. No one is argued into the Church; no one is loved into the Church; no one is educated into the Church; no one is modeled by another into the Church; but all these things work together so that Christ and his Bride can be fully visible to the sincere seeker impelled by grace.

I often wish I were better at some angles of evangelization, but over the years I have come to accept that I have my niche, and that, in God’s wise providence, there is enough work to go around for the multitude of talents he has given us all.

[quote=Della] Does this sort of calling ring a bell with others here, too?
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Ding-dong. I hear ya’. I’ve been focusing more on evangelizing and prayer lately, but apologetics is very attractive to me (hence my thread count - almost exclusively in the apologetics forum). Something about the blend of teaching, logic, and debate simply drives me wild. That said, I can’t allow my own vain-glory and pride to interfere with God’s plan for my life.

The prayer I’ve been saying for a while now is simply, “Lead me Lord, and I will follow.” Right now, I think I’m where God wants me; I would leave, however, if He asked (and perhaps do some freelancing for Catholic Answers’ This Rock…HINT HINT, Forum Admin!).

Who knows? Maybe I’ll write a book instead, helping others find the beauty and truth of the Catholic Church.

God Bless,
RyanL

Della:

Yes, indeed it does. Personally, I have to watch myself and make sure that apologetics is not an outlet to satisfy my views. Also, our interior life cannot be sacrificed for apologetics. I mean our primary call is our interior life of holiness with Christ. All of our apostolate have to be a “spilling over” from our reservoir of grace.

In response to your dilemma (which we all share in varying degrees), the virtue of prudence is paramount. We cannot do this and neglect family, work, prayer life andother responsibilities. We have to do all of that first and then come here, otherwise we’re the proverbial “clashing cymbal.”

in XT.

[quote=Della]I was thinking about this today. About the fact that I ended up as an administrator on a Catholic apologetics online discussion board (not this one) and since abdicating that to do some serious writing, spend a good deal of my time posting here. I’ve wondered if it’s just an addiction (that we often kid about here), but I don’t think so.

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And I shouldn’t tell you this otherwise you may stumble from pride, :slight_smile: but I have noticed your pretty well up to date with a lot of things, and on the button.
There are others on here that seem to be well grounded in their faith, but won’t say, everyone plays their part.

Keep up the good work, but remember pride comes before a fall. :eek:

Hi Della :wave:

I was browsing This Rock and stumbled across an interesting article for you.

I hope it helps.

catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0502fea4.asp

May we give praise to Almighty God for those who defend the faith with such zeal.

In Christ.

Andre.

[quote=Della]I was thinking about this today. About the fact that I ended up as an administrator on a Catholic apologetics online discussion board (not this one) and since abdicating that to do some serious writing, spend a good deal of my time posting here. I’ve wondered if it’s just an addiction (that we often kid about here), but I don’t think so.

When I had been received into the Church for just a short while I was at a Sunday Mass hearing the Gospel reading in which Jesus told Peter that after he had been tested he, Peter, would confirm his brothers in their faith. That promise struck me to the heart and I heard God tell me, “And you will do the same.”

Now, I know God wasn’t calling me to be a bishop! :eek: But rather, that he was calling me to help others who, like me, were seekers after the truth, to help them understand and come to love the Church and its teachings. And that is why I believe I cannot stop reading and posting here and on other such websites, as well as be an apologist wherever I find myself. Does this sort of calling ring a bell with others here, too?
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Jesus sent out these twelve [disciples] after instructing them thus:

…“As you go make this proclamation: 'The reign of God is at hand.”

This calling that you speak of is the most fundamental calling of any disciple of Jesus. Anyone who considers him or herself to be a Christian must hear this call to one extent or another.

To bear witness to God’s kingdom, to encourage others to seek after it, to instruct and explain what it means and how to live in it - These actions are our calling.

The more who follow this calling the better. There is never a reason to be jealous or resentful. Remember the words of Moses when some of his followers were upset that others were prophesying.

Moses said “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the Lord were Prophets! Would that Lord might bestow His spirit on them all!”

Yes, others feel the call. May God let his call be louder than all the others in our lives

peace.

-Jim

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