The road to Christ …

The greatest challenge I find in bringing someone to Christ and his Church is finding ways to engage him in meaningful conversation.

the beauty of loveTalk of truth is often met with a yawn, and an assertion about what is good is met with a stare of incomprehension. In the malaise of con-temporary ‘modern’ life, people do not seem to be moved much by claims of truth or goodness. Relativism has made truth to be whatever one desires, thereby turning the good into whatever makes one “feel” good. With access to these roads of Truth and Goodness into the human heart darkened by relativism, how can one engage the average non-believer? How can one place him on the road that would ultimately lead him back to the Truth and the Good?

Though people may glaze over when one makes claims of truth and goodness, their ears seem to perk up at the mention of beauty: the flash of lightning across the sky, the dramatic auburn colours of a late summer sunset, a sublime snatch of music whether it be Mozart’s Requiem or a ballad by John Denver.

An even more intense encounter is with the beauty that expresses human love: the exhilaration when love is extended and the other’s eyes sparkle, trembling lips break into a smile and say “Yes.” The heart soars, and one may even weep for joy. Often the encounter is described as being swept off one’s feet. Though perhaps darkened to what is true and good, the post-modern heart is still captivated by beauty revealing love, and this may be the road to Christ for many citizens of the post-modern world.


18 Responses to “The road to Christ …”

  1. 1 bigjohn August 20, 2009 at 15:55

    Though, I usually love to egg my wife on with Politics, I don’t really like talking about it with other people. And I only talk about MY religious beliefs with certain people. Most people don’t care though, so why would I talk religion with them?

  2. 2 michael August 20, 2009 at 16:18

    You have a wonderful way with words, and I think you are on to something with your post!

  3. 3 churchmouse August 20, 2009 at 16:27

    Gabriella — the Lord’s blessings are truly with you. You have a gift for words and a deep, deep faith. Thank you for your wonderful posts, which are a true inspiration!

  4. 4 Korrigan August 20, 2009 at 17:21

    Yes Gabriella thank you very much for another beautiful post. I love reading your blog, I just wish it was all in English 😉

    Bigjohn, a religious person lives for God, loves God, is proud of his or her belief and cannot help speak about this all the time. It’s normal. You just want to talk about things or people you love. But this must be done humbly and with respect and never anger.
    We must and we can always talk about how good our religion is but it is when we actually live our religion that we will find millions flocking to it 🙂

  5. 5 ginny August 20, 2009 at 21:27

    Gabriella, This is such a great entry. I know how uncomfortable some people are when the topic of religion is brought in the conversation. I remember one Thanksgiving dinner and a very good priest friend of ours was over and the topic of mortal sin came up. Well, guess what? The room emptied of four people.
    When I get excited to share my faith, I have to be very careful who I chose to bring up the topic. Sad, but true.
    Good ideas, Gabriella

  6. 6 Judy August 20, 2009 at 21:37

    Ah, yes, four cleared the room…but it (the topic) still worked its way into their thoughts before leaving…you’d be surprised at what wonders the Holy Spirit can work with just THAT!!!

    Gabriella, this post is beautiful…and I think you are right on that the way to lead others to Christ is through BEAUTY, LOVE, INNOCENCE, and JOY!

    I heard recently that those who sell real estate will often ask the hostess of an open house to bake bread before potential buyers arrive. The aromas of home-cooking activate a subliminal desire in peoples’ minds and they are more interested in the house from the get go! My pastor says that like the bread-baking above…WE…CHRISTIANS…need to taken on an “aroma” of JESUS, THE BREAD OF LIFE, so that WITHOUT having yet said a word to someone we are encountering…that someone will be “drawn in” and “attracted” to the “scent of GRACE” and will be more interested from the get go!!! Awesome huh?

  7. 7 Victor s E Moubarak August 20, 2009 at 23:20

    Even Christians tend to shy away from Christianity when it interferes with their modern lifestyles.

    Perhaps many have lost their focus.

  8. 8 Cinzia August 20, 2009 at 23:44

    Gabriella what a beautiful post …. yet again! You are indeed gifted in the way you express your thoughts and show you love for God.

    This post is so mesmerizing, I was hoping it would go on ….

    What I mean is, I need to hear more about how one can engage in conversations of Jesus and of faith, truth and goodness with people who show no interest. I find it very difficult indeed! In fact I can say I am a total failure in that sense … the plague of political correctness being a big obstacle as well. Much as I would love to engage often in discussions about faith and religion, I find that none of my friends, co-workers or even family, are in the slightest bit interested.

    I have tried a few times with the subject of abortion about which I feel very strongly – but have found that this is the biggest NO NO of all time!!

    The only way I seem to be able to talk freely about my beliefs and the Catholic Church is through writing … in response to articles on newspapers, to radio broadcasters, that sort of thing. Again though, I find that I hardly ever get a response, and my letters to the editor so far have never been published.

    Thank God for all you fantastic bloggers – I admire what you do and I truly hope you get some interest from “people out there.”

    So, Gabriella, is there a part 2 to this brilliant post? 🙂

  9. 9 anne bender August 21, 2009 at 00:49

    Wonderful Gabriella! I think what you and all of the above comments are really saying is the old St. Francis of Assisi saying “Preach the gospel at all times, when necessary, use words” or the St. Francis de Sales “Be what you are and be it well”. In other words, live your faith, speak your faith, be yourself and love. Sooner or later, others will be drawn in, even if at first they appear bored or resistant. And if all of this fails, pray!

  10. 10 booklady August 21, 2009 at 02:49

    I would add my “ditto” to all the above comments! I, too, enjoyed your post, Gabriella, and hoped it would go on and on. Always, I am looking for ways to share my love of the Good, the True and the Beautiful. Judy’s pastor’s idea about the ‘aroma of Grace’ is beautiful too. Perhaps that Heavenly aroma may permeate those actively engaged in the Liturgy with strong inner prayer lives, after all we are what we eat, think and do! When we actively seek Him and allow Him to transform us from the inside out, then we strengthen the power of the Holy Spirit to work — and speak — in each of us.

    Blessings on the Feast of of the Great St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the Mellifluous Doctor, last of the Fathers, Arbiter of Christendom and Miracle worker of the West!

  11. 11 Brian August 21, 2009 at 05:31

    Hello Gabriella !

    It is difficult to bring someone home to Christ with just words. Of course, prayer is the most important instrument we have. I would think that praying to our Mother Mary is the first move. If we are sincere in prayer, Mary will certainly take our prayers to her Son.
    The next step is by being “who we are”, followers of Jesus Christ. If we do as Jesus taught us, as Our Lord says so clearly in Matthew:25, “what you have done to the least of my brothers, you have done to me.” If someone sees the good works you do in the Name of Jesus, he/she will be drawn to Christ. We must be Christ to the world. St. Francis agreed with this when he said “Preach the Gospel at all times,if necessary, use words.”

    I have worked in soup kitchens with the MC sisters for many years – now I can probably find many life steps that brought me to a deeper conversion, but none of those steps compare with that BIG step. the witness of Blessed Mother Teresa. When I first witnessed the work of the mc sisters, I knew where home was – it was Holy Mother Church.

    God bless!!!

  12. 12 Cinzia August 21, 2009 at 06:58

    Brian, you are an inspiration! I can see love and beauty pouring out of every single word you write on this blog …..

  13. 13 Antonella Oliver August 21, 2009 at 08:47

    I agree with Brian that it is through Prayer and Sacrifices that men will be saved. Even those who go to church are not strong enough in their faith.

    We must all turn towards the Father who is immense Love and make Him be loved. We must also love each other with that same love.

    If one reads the book “The apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary today” by Rene Laurentin…………so much can be understood on the importance of prayer in our times. Most people dont pray enough….continuous prayer.

    And that according to Our Lady is the answer to the worlds ills.

    A good topic Gabriella….thanks

  14. 14 Griff August 21, 2009 at 18:56

    As others have said, this post communicates an exemplary way of encouraging an effective and non-clichéd approach to Christ.

    Nature, seen as God’s Poetry, can truly open up one’s heart to God and to Christ.

    Human poetry and art, as expressions of the Divine breath within us (though, like so many other things, they have often been hideously corrupted in this Orc-Age), can bring us closer to God by seeing them as tools of man in the role which Tolkien named “the sub-creator”. In this role we do God credit by furthering the glory of His Creation by sculpting the raw materials He has put at our disposal in imitation or veneration of Him. Even when the artist is unaware of or in denial of his role as a “sub-creator” he is nevertheless honouring God in what he is doing. However, if like Michaelangelo carving David he is aware of this role, it is almost infinitely more sublime for it!

    “Though people may glaze over when one makes claims of truth and goodness, their ears seem to perk up at the mention of beauty: the flash of lightning across the sky, the dramatic auburn colours of a late summer sunset, a sublime snatch of music whether it be Mozart’s Requiem or a ballad by John Denver.”

    I saw Peter Shaffer’s amazing Mozart biopic ‘Amadeus’ a few days ago. In it, Salieri, the Emperor’s court composer, who through his jealousy plots Mozart’s downfall, makes frequent reference to Mozart’s music being ‘the Voice of God’. Seen like this, human aesthetic achievement can and should be explored as the Divine gift that it is and could, like Dante’s Commedia,be seen as a coded path to the beatific vision.

    Also worth reading in the context you have mentioned here is Roger Scruton’s book ‘Beauty’. I’d be happy to send you my copy for a loan.


    • 15 churchmouse August 23, 2009 at 01:56

      Hi, Griff

      Yes — ‘Amadeus’ is quite a film, a cautionary tale.

      Re Scruton’s book — is he still an agnostic / atheist? If so, what a waste of an intellect!

  15. 16 Mary Nicewarner August 22, 2009 at 03:36

    All I can say is: WOW! No wonder the Lord wants you to blog! He gave you an awesome gift!

  16. 17 Daniel Oliver August 23, 2009 at 16:15

    Beautifully written!!……..I absolutely agree with the ‘beauty revealing love’ which captures the attention of individuals or groups of people time and time again proven by these sort of movies and programs which sell so well and are watched time and time again because of this very philosophy…….but how do engage this topic in our conversations with friends and colleauges when we try to bring them to christ or introduce them to what is right?….there is the tendency out there for the modern everyday individual to avoid this topic or shut it out for various reasons……I have to agree with some prior replies that it is very difficult to do although somewhat important and our duty.Is there a good way to raise the topic or transition it into conversation effectively???…….

    ps. wonderful selection of music on your blog!!

  17. 18 Griff August 24, 2009 at 17:16

    Hi Churchmouse,

    Scruton is no Atheist, having written quite avidly against Dawkins and the like. Rather, he is an admirer of God from afar. His attitude is that “God has fled, but he is not dead”, which, though wrong, also comes with the conclusion that God is “biding his time”. Yet at the same time his respect for God, religion and man’s spiritual drive is greater than his lack of faith suggests.

    Reading Beauty, one could, at times, easily think Scruton quite orthodox. His moral position, for instance, is attractive. Other than that, his exploration of Beauty and aesthetics (from the perspective of a casual amateur) was inspiring and revealing.

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