Path #8: Perseverance
Jesus certainly knows that following His Way can be scary. That’s why we find the phrase “Be not afraid” more than twenty times in the New Testament. Yet fear grips us, particularly when we’re invited to go out into the streets and seek Catholics. Remember that the people we’re evangelizing are also fearful: fearful of their brokenness, which they’ve pushed deep down inside them; fearful of facing a priest in confession; fearful of facing God on the Day of Judgment.
Here’s the rub: fearful people can’t attract fearful people. Others can sense our fear, even smell it.
Joyful, fearless confidence, on the other hand, attracts fearful people, like stray sheep to a shepherd. So the first thing you need as a missionary is confidence.
How do you project confidence?
Trust in the Holy Spirit. He will guide you. Know that He is with you.
You are not alone.
Above all, don’t give up early. Over ten years of doing the mission in New York has convinced me that each of us is called to bring at least one soul we don’t presently know with us to heaven. Who that soul is we don’t know, but often it is someone who’s unique personality and background somehow foots with us in a special way. The Holy Spirit is out there, trying to bring that soul to us, but if we are not present when she comes, we’ll miss her!
By the way, the Devil knows this too, and often will tempt us to quit the closer our soul gets to us. As I tell the missionaries, “If you feel a strong urge to give up, don’t! Your soul may just be around the corner! If you give up now, you’ll lose your soul….” You can take that last one anyway you like.
One last thought on perseverance: try to avoid the “white-knuckle” approach, which relies on you and your “extraordinary” (yet ultimately human) will power. Instead, we use the Holy Spirit method: put yourself in His hands and sit back and wait for Him to make things happen.