By Erich Wallace
Heeyyyyy blog readers!
In reflecting on what I wanted to write on for this month, something became quite apparent to me that I should talk about: the importance of a personal invitation.
A couple months ago, this tall, skinny kid from the Twin Cities with a degree in a bunch of “God subjects” (theology, philosophy, and catechetics) came to my hometown of Merrill to shadow our parish priest for the summer and to prepare for his own entrance into seminary this fall. His name is Isaiah (spoiler alert: he’s the editor for Superior Disciple and may alter all of this text to make himself look really cool), and he is not afraid to invite anyone to anything (and he is persistent). Shadowing our priest, Fr. Chris, he would go to daily Mass and quickly recognized that I am not a daily-Mass-goer. Isaiah and I grabbed lunch a couple times and saw a couple movies throughout his time here, but he started to text me what time Mass was at each day. After getting a text three days in a row and turning Isaiah’s invitation to Mass down the first two, I finally obliged. His persistence paid off, and it affected my life positively. I had forgotten the sweetness of a daily Mass in the quiet of morning with not so many people. That just gets you focused on what’s important and starts your day off right. Thanks for the personal invites, Isaiah.
Furthermore, this past Friday my mother organized a blood drive for a friend of hers who is suffering from an illness where she needs frequent blood transfusions. She asked my brother and I to invite people to it. I sent out almost 400 invitations to people on Facebook in the Merrill area but didn’t ask one person personally. My brother invited six friends personally. Not one person I invited on Facebook went to donate, yet three of my brother’s friends who he personally invited went. That personal invite made all the difference.
Do you have one of those friends that just has no shame in inviting people to things? Especially Catholic things? These people are changing others’ lives because they have the courage to invite them to a place where they can encounter the risen Christ, and they desire for others to have that encounter. Jesus says in Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter their house and dine with them, and they with me.” Jesus is an inviter waiting for us and all of the world to open up the door and let Him in. Many people in our society, including us Catholics, have so much noise going on in our lives (literally and figuratively) that we can’t hear Jesus’ knock. Let us be people that help one another hear the knock of Christ.
One of the best ways we can help someone hear the knock of Jesus is to invite them somewhere where it is a little less muffled. Whether it be inviting a new friend for a cup of coffee, to a sporting event, to a time of Adoration at church, to a parish event, or to Mass. Pray the Lord would help you become someone who has the courage to invite another to something that would help them grow closer to the Lord. (Sidenote: if you’re inviting them to a “churchy” event, they’re probably going to say “no” the first seven times, so you gotta be persistent. Eventually, you will break their will, and they will concede… out of guilt… but that’s better than nothing! Haha, I’m kidding!… kind of. They may eventually say yes if your invitation is kind. It may not take seven times, but it may be out of guilt, and that’s okay. Once they get to said event, they will probably realize it is much cooler than they expected and that it’s good for them, and then they’ll appreciate it!
I was listening to Bishop Barron’s podcast The Word on Fire Show yesterday and a stat was reported that only 6% of Catholics believe that evangelization is an integral part of their faith. 6%! I was very convicted by this because I have not been a great evangelist in recent years. Bishop Barron mentioned that for about the past thirty years, the Church has become more about “maintenance than mission,” and that is not how we are meant to be. The Church is always meant to be on mission. What is evangelization but helping people to hear the invitation that Christ is offering them?
My prayer is that you and I may become mission-oriented and may see that a simple and personal invitation is one of the most effective ways to evangelize. This month, invite someone to something that would benefit them from an invite as simple as to a cup of coffee to hang out and show them love, to a Bible study at your parish, or to Mass. If they say no, ask them again later on, and again if they still say no. Your invitations may change their entire life.
Prayers for you,