Winning Souls for Christ


Megan Smillie // Pearls of Great Price

4 Comments

May 15  

I teach sixth grade at a local private school and absolutely love it. My students are a sheer delight, and I find that my hope in humanity and the future of the world is fully realized every time I walk through my classroom door. I preach unceasingly against gossip and talking badly about others, hoping to nip those tendencies in the bud as my students begin their harrowing journey through middle school. These kids aren’t perfect, and neither am I, and so we lean on each other, offer grace, apologize when we fail to be at our best, and generally muddle along knowing that we will be given the benefit of the doubt most days. It’s a pretty lovely situation we have going on in our sixth grade classroom. I wish I could recreate it wherever I go. 

Unfortunately, life in the outside world doesn’t work quite as well as my sixth grade classroom, and I have sometimes found myself in the company of scrutinizing adults who judge unabashedly and willfully the fumblings of others (and myself) with no grace or empathy to be found. 

Recently I experienced firsthand the effects of such scrutiny and judgment as a friend revealed to me that during a certain time period of her life she was made to believe things about me that she realized later weren’t true. And that just stung me to my core. The fact that she heard these things from other Catholic women plunged the knife even deeper. And it decimated me. 

Calumny is a horrible sin. It hurts the victim twice, as Herodotus once wrote. First, when the words are uttered about them, and second when those words are believed by the person who hears it. It’s a double whammy. And it happens way too often in our lives. I am not so naive as to think that I am immune to the pull of gossip myself! I know there have been times when I have failed in this regard, whether I have been too open about unfortunate encounters with others, or have given unnecessary information about a situation that doesn’t directly affect me. It’s all horrid, and not what Christ asks of us. 

We should be showing mercy instead of judgment, charity instead of hate. This atmosphere of whispers and disdain? It shows our insincerity in following the way of Christ. We do it to ourselves. 

Let’s work to build our communities on the pillars of love and grace, compassion and mercy. May we never be the stumbling block to another’s faith, or, heaven forbid, the reason they turn away from God altogether. May we instead show grace and peace and love to all we encounter. 

As St. Josemaria Escriva wrote: 

“How I wish your bearing and conversation were such that, on seeing or hearing you, people would say: ‘This man reads the life of Jesus Christ.’” 

This alone wins over souls for Christ. 

This is the path to salvation. 

Proclaim the Genius & Share!
  • This is beautiful and profound and timely, Meg! It is succinct and very relatable… Your insights are full of wisdom…I am blessed to be your mom and so proud of who you are as a strong woman of God.

  • “Let’s work to build our communities on the pillars of love and grace, compassion and mercy. May we never be the stumbling block to another’s faith, or, heaven forbid, the reason they turn away from God altogether.”

    A lovely goal to work toward together in love for Christ. Well said!

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