Humble Silence

When I was at Franciscan there was a common phrase amongst the Theology and Catechetics majors. Whenever asked what they wanted to do with their degree, a majority of the time you would hear, “I want to be a Catholic speaker.” This was back in the golden age of speaking when it seemed much more glamorous than getting stuck at an airport or having to be away from your family for long stints at a time. 

While I think the intention of all of these folks was good, I do wonder how often we all make the spiritual life about ourselves. I know I have fallen into this trap many times where I think to myself if I just say the right thing or have the right argument then people will come back to Christ. It almost becomes this weird quasi-evangelization where we want people to come to know Christ, as long as we know we are the ones who made it happen. 

I don’t know if this has been an experience that resonates with you, but this is what immediately came to mind when I read the First Reading about Elijah. Of course, Elijah is one of the most important prophets that we have in the Old Testament. From his miracles, to the way he was able to communicate with God, his holiness, and everything in between, Elijah was a prophet like no other. And yet, here he is in the First Reading needing a dose of humility. 

“I have been most zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. But the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to the sword. I alone am left, and they seek to take my life.” Is this sometimes our prayer? “I have done all that you ask God, but the world is so far gone, I can’t help them.”  “We are being persecuted because of secularism, not because I have failed to bring Christ to those I meet.” It’s the same prayer, different century. 

God’s response? “Go, take the road back to the desert near Damascus. When you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king of Aram. Then you shall anoint Jehu, son of Nimshi, as king of Israel, and Elisha, son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah, as prophet to succeed you.” Essentially God is saying, “stop throwing a pity party for yourself.” He lets Elijah know that a prophet will continue his work, that it will not be him, and that he will have to anoint this person. Talk about a dose of humble pie. But I think it’s very important to reflect on it. God didn’t do this to intimidate or humiliate his prophet, but rather to show him that God can use anyone to accomplish his will. Even those weak children of Israel are part of God’s family and can be used for building God’s kingdom. 

All of this to say, it’s not about us. Whether we want to go around and speak at conferences, serve at soup kitchens, lead youth ministry, work at a parish, or just have friends over to talk about Jesus, let’s make sure to keep the focus on him. If we rely on ourselves we will surely fall to despair as Elijah did. If we trust in the Lord, all things will be possible. 

From all of us here at Diocesan, God bless!

Contact the author

Tommy Shultz is a Business Development Representative for Diocesan. In this role he is committed to bringing the best software to dioceses and parishes while helping them evangelize on the digital continent. Tommy has worked in various diocese and parish roles since his graduation from Franciscan University with a Theology degree. He hopes to use his skills in evangelization, marketing, and communications, to serve the Church and bring the Good News to all. His favorite quote comes from St. John Paul II, who said, “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”

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