The Virgin Mary was not a part of my first commitment-to-God moment when I was 15. Nor did she influence my conversion to Catholicism as a young mother.
A dozen years passed until, when family relationships deteriorated, my Catholic faith needed renewal. God called me to a deeper relationship with him in Christian community. Mary helped me learn to share that pivotal experience in my life and also my earlier God-moments when I knew God but didn’t know her.
My new presentation, “Five Ways Mary Helps Us Share Our Faith Story,” debuted on February 9, 2017, at the Women’s Bible Study and Faith Sharing. As a convert, I still find it a little strange to hear myself speaking about Mary — but I must!
The five ways
Here’s a brief listing of the five ways she helps us share our faith story.
- Mary had a personal relationship with God and said “yes” to what he asked of her.
- Mary pondered her story.
- Mary fulfilled her “yes” to God by always being ready to share her story.
- Mary sensed the life of God in those receiving her witness.
- Mary demonstrates a model of gentleness and reverence.
Always be ready
My renewal story makes up a big part of this presentation. In the list of ways that Mary helps us, #3, “Mary fulfilled her ‘yes’ to God by always being ready to share her story,” reflects 1 Peter 3:15, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope . . .” Then 1 Peter 3:16, “but do it with gentleness and reverence,” becomes the basis for #5. You see how this scripture is intricately related to any presentation on evangelization through our personal witness? That’s why I love it!
The women wrote answers to questions on a handout about how the five ways influenced their faith stories. Abundant sharing followed!
The challenge of our witness
As I created this presentation on Mary, the model evangelizer, somehow I knew that many other Catholic groups might enjoy it after its debut. Coincidentally, when I was working on my PowerPoint slides during SuperBowl LI, Pope Francis gave me something to add when he tweeted:
”Those who do not believe in or search for God have perhaps never been challenged by a testimony of faith.”
With Mary’s help, we can challenge the unbelievers by sharing our witness.