How to Witness to Your Faith

October 1995By Bobby Jindal

Bobby Jindal recently received his M.Litt. in Politics from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He is currently working for a management consulting firm in Washington, D.C. A convert to Catholicism, he was raised in the Hindu tradition.

One wonders if Catholic seminaries and religious education programs should include courses on evangelism. Many Catholics pay only lip service to the mission of sharing the Gospel with others; an exaggerated and misplaced concern for multiculturalism and tolerance prevents many others from even paying lip service. Yet, if it had not been for the persistence of many Christians, both laity and clergy, both Protestant and Catholic, I might never have received the peace and fulfillment of knowing our Lord. Most Catholics are a bit awed and intimidated by the subject of conversion. Yet, we Catholics must not forget that Jesus entrusted us with the mission to bring His Good News to the world.

My conversion experience, as well as my participation in helping others seek communion with the Church, has allowed me to observe the challenges faced by potential converts and also how the Church can minister to their needs. Below is a general description of five stages in the conversion process. Individuals may spend more time in one particular stage, and may seem to skip certain ones altogether, but the stages are more or less common to all converts.

The first stage of conversion involves rejection of the message being shared. Denial and anger are common as the potential convert feels threatened by the claims of the Church. It is not uncommon to lash out at those attempting to share the Faith as well as at the Church. I considered myself anti-Christian, resented the man who attempted to preach to me, and questioned why any particular religion should take precedence over others. Though this multicultural defense may seem impregnable, the fact that the potential convert is angry and not indifferent shows that he is engaged by the Church's claims and is beginning to consider their impact on his life.

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