We read of saints like St. Patrick, St. Columba, and St. Boniface who went among the heathen and converted them. We read of other saints who died trying. And others who didn’t die, but didn’t get anywhere, either.
In that we belong to Jesus Christ, each and every Christian is called to represent Him in some way: we are all His servants. That’s why the heathen rejoice when we fall short–as we all do, from time to time.
My question is: Are we as Christians required to engage in “dialogue”–very often a euphemism for getting shouted at–with persons who hate us, who despise our faith, who deny God, and go out of their way to make their feelings known? Some say yes, that’s our mission field. Others say don’t bother, it’s casting pearls before swine.
I think that some are called to do this while some are not. It takes a special kind of moral strength not to lose your temper, not to give way to intemperate language, not to punch the scoffer in the nose as St. Nicholas once did. I don’t have that kind of moral strength, so there’s no point in my trying to dialogue with a pagan pinhead. I’ll just get mad.
Somebody has to try to convert these heathen. What odds would you have given against St. Patrick actually being able to convert the pagan Irish? But I think he would tell you it was the Holy Spirit’s power, not his own, that did it.
Those of us who are called to do other things, should do them. You can sell insurance with honesty and grace, and represent the love and righteousness of Christ. You can prepare a good meal, play a nice song on your guitar, mix up a batch of medicine that helps somebody cope with illness–there are more ways to do it than there are people. And how many times did St. Paul preach that lesson?
I’m not going to wade into situations wherein I know I’ll only lose my temper. Let those deal with it who can.
If St. Columba thought the Picts were a tough audience, he should see the leftists of today.