Clare Bekkers

Struggles of a student evangelist

By  Clare Bekkers, Youth Speak News
  • November 21, 2014

How educating others on Catholicism can refresh one’s faith 

I never wanted to be a Bible thumper, constantly quoting Scripture as a means of sharing my faith. 

This approach to evangelization seemed much too aggressive and showy. Rather, I took an alternative route to broadcasting my faith — not with words, but with actions. 

This has left me more handicapped than I would have predicted. 

Since becoming a university student and serving as a leader of my campus’ Catholic society, I’ve been engaged in more intellectual discussions concerning my identity as a Catholic. These discussions include the logistics of Catholicism, what it means to be a follower of Jesus, what I truly believe and why I believe it. What I’ve come to realize in maneuvering through these conversations is that I am not completely successful at putting my beliefs into words. It is a huge leap between acting a certain way and explaining why I do so, especially when I try to convince people who may or may not have any experience with Christianity. 

As an identifiable and approachable Catholic, I put myself in the spotlight for questions. I feel it is my responsibility to answer these questions instead of just referring someone to Google. However, I’m often caught off guard with the nature of the inquiries. 

Recently, I was asked why the Catholic Church has a pope and a hierarchy. All I could say was that priests, bishops, cardinals, popes, etc., act as leaders. Sure, that’s correct. But all I did was scratch the surface. After looking into the issue, I found a richer answer I should have given. 

My limited knowledge in turn limits my ability to share the beauty of my faith. I’ve never critically examined and researched relevant issues so I could comprehensively explain them to others. I set aside time to form my faith daily but I don’t put enough time into practically arming myself with answers for when my faith is questioned. 

Acknowledging this is exactly how I am going to learn from it. 

Instead of beating myself up over sub-par answers, I take this as an opportunity to explore and learn about the Church I have come to know by reading the Bible and attending Mass, which has, in turn, expanded my understanding of what it means to be Catholic. Not only does this help me bring others closer to God, it gives me the chance to renew my own understanding of the faith in which I am so deeply rooted. 

(Bekkers, 20, is a third-year English student at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S.) 

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