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How To Share Your Faith At School.
Episode 554th October 2022 • The Catholic Teacher Podcast • Jonathan Doyle
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Today I respond to a great listener question where they ask:

One thing that I have been trying to find the balance on, is sharing the faith with students and non-Christian colleagues.

Most colleagues and students know I am a Christian/Catholic, yet is it enough for them to just know I am a Christian? Should I try to share the faith and witness and yet how should I? How much is too much? Will I just start sounding cheesy? How do you authentically share your faith with colleagues and students in the small things without it sounding forced? Especially when interacting with LGBTQ+ colleagues and students, as this can really be a tough one discussing anything faith wise.

Listen in as I share a few key ideas on how we can share the faith on a regular basis.

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Transcripts

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Well, Hey everybody, Jonathan Doyle with you.

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Once again, welcome to the Catholic teacher soda daily podcast.

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We do get to these as often as we can.

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I am going to ask the holy spirit to help me be even more diligent

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so I can get these done each day.

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For all of you incredible Catholic teachers all over the world, people of

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faith, men, and women of faith out there.

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On the front lines of the church's mission, bringing the person of Jesus

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Christ to young people on a daily basis.

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Well, it's friends today is the feast day of St.

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Francis of Assisi.

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Be honest with you.

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Some Francis of Assisi has always, I don't know, made me nervous.

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He just kind of the whole radical poverty bit, the whole, just some of the stuff

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that he got up to is just extraordinary.

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I'm thought, oh gosh.

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That I've I could He's one of the great saints, one of the absolute

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giants of the faith and, uh, you know, a radical response, right?

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A radical response to the action of God in his life.

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Now.

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It's important to understand.

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One of the reasons that the church recognizes saints and

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gives us these saints to emulate.

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Uh, not to copy, but to emulate.

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So that just as sin Francis, might I radical response

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to the presence of Christ.

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We are also called.

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To make a radical response.

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It may not require you to take off all your clothes and give them to the poor.

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Um, you might give them a jacket, but you don't.

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I mean, St.

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Francis really took it all

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But you get my point.

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We're going to be cold to respond and be generous in different ways.

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And one of the great things about some Frances.

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Is the scope and scale of his radical response.

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And also that the way that God just gives us saints in the church at these crucial

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moments, doesn't No, it was such a.

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Uh, pivotal time in the history of the world and the Western tradition

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and the history of the church when St.

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Francis.

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Was doing his thing.

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So we can always trust that no matter how dark the times may seem, God does

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raise up the men and women that, uh, he wills to give us great example

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and guidance, friends, housekeeping.

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Please make sure you have subscribed to this humble little

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We're giving away 10 free weeks of access.

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So go grab yourself that free access pass.

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You can book me to speak.

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And just to share that if you're listening to this, I'm

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recording this in early October.

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Um, there's a possibility I'm gonna be speaking in the United

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Kingdom in early November.

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So if you are in the United Kingdom, And you have an interest in me

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coming to speak at your school.

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Uh, two other students or staff, even parents, then please reach

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out and let me know friends today.

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We're going to jump into a great listener question.

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Uh, I reached out a few weeks ago.

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And asked you guys to let me know some of the big questions that you

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have, uh, that you face in your daily work as Catholic educators.

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And we've got some really good ones and I'm going to just jump straight in.

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We want to be respectful of your time.

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This is a great question.

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Listen to this.

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One of the things I've been trying to find the balance on.

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He's sharing the faith with students and non-Christian colleagues, most

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colleagues and students know that I am a Christian Catholic Catholic

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Christian, yet it is enough.

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It yet, is it enough for them to just know I am a Christian?

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Should I try to share the faith and witness and if so,

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how, how much is too much?

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Well, I just start sounding cheesy.

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How do you authentically share your faith with colleagues and

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students in the small things?

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Without it sounding forced?

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Especially when interacting with, uh, LGBTQ colleagues and students.

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As this can really be a tough one, discussing anything.

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Faith wise, friends, there is so much in that.

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Thank you.

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For that great question.

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I do usually keep people's identity anonymous unless they asked me to share.

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Who they are.

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So I think many of us can at least relate to this question.

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We have a passion for the person of Jesus.

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We have a passion for our Catholic faith.

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How do we effectively share that with our students and with our colleagues?

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How much is too much?

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Should we have, uh, Jesus loves you tattooed on our foreheads.

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What should we do?

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Where would the line be?

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Um, so I've written a few notes here.

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Let me spin you through these.

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Look.

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The first thing I want to do is acknowledge the scope of this question.

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This is a huge question.

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It really covers on mission evangelization.

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Our own faith formation.

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Uh, pastoral sensitivities dealing with complex modern scenarios in our schools.

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What do we do?

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Ah, the first thing I should clarify is it's important to get, I guess, discuss

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whether this question is relating to a Christian Catholic school or a.

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You know, public government

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So that's not specified.

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So I know that the vast majority of your listening will usually be working in

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a Catholic school or Christian school.

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But, uh, some of you will definitely be working in government education.

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So what do you do there?

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Is it literally.

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Completely off limits.

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I my thoughts on that first, uh, at least if you're in a, if

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you are in a faith based school, you should at least be allowed.

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To speak on matters relating to that.

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Now, sadly, there are schools where the faith has become so innovated, the school

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has lost Either through poor leadership or other factors where it's a Catholic

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or Christian school in name only.

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And look there really are schools where, you know, it,

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it can be hard to stand up and.

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And a witness to your faith, even in, uh, In a faith-based school.

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So I do recognize that too.

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So there's a big spectrum here because there'll be some schools.

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You know, many schools I've visited around the world where it's a really

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fantastic faith community and people can really live and speak about their faith.

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So I'm saying that because as I answered this question,

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Um, I recognize there's a big range here.

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Okay.

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A few thoughts.

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First thing.

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I want to suggest to all of us that are the enemies, the enemies

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of our faith are not holding back.

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And if so, uh, should we be holding back by this?

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I mean, the militant.

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Nietzschean nihilist Marxist.

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Uh, you know, neo-Marxist materialism.

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That characterizes so much of post-modernity the people advocating

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the extreme ends of that on a whole bunch of topics are not holding back.

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They are not being subtle.

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They are not being respectful of persons or systems.

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They are basically getting no going around like bulls in a China shop,

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trying to burn the place down.

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So.

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I would just say to us that our response is not to be.

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Um, I guess, you know, to, to fight fire with fire, I'm not

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saying that I'm saying that.

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Let's just realize that the, you know, the cultural hegemony that, that.

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That Catholicism had, or the Christianity had in the Western

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tradition at Has been severely impacted.

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So it used to be that, uh, you know, most people were coming from a

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broadly Judeo-Christian background, so we could all agree on some of the,

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You know, the top shelf items, the big, the big ticket issues.

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That's kind of gone.

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And I've just want us to think carefully about the softly softly

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approach, the, you know, I'll just be a nice person and people will

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learn about Jesus because I'm nice.

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It's probably not going to work when the people that hate the Catholic

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church and hate Catholic education and hate Christian education.

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They're not holding them back.

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Right.

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So let's realize that.

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That, uh, we need to be witnesses here.

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And if you look at that first century church, so much of its impact and

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influence came through men and women who radically witnessed to their faith.

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You know, the whole growth of Christianity in the first century

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really came through witnesses.

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Right?

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He came through men and women who had witnessed the risen Christ.

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And would not be silenced.

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So we have to be aware that our enemies are not being silent and we need to be

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careful that we don't become silent.

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Um, that we need to speak up.

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We need to witness and we need to be brave.

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It's a great call for courage at this moment in history.

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So, all right, so I want to put that on our right off first.

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We need to be courageous, not insensitive, not.

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You know, Unnecessarily dogmatic or judgemental because we

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know that doesn't really work.

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Right.

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Very few people turn around because you pointed out the log that was,

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you The splinter that was in there.

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I, well, you're missing the log in

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But we shouldn't let that also.

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Move us towards a silence that is helping nobody.

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Okay.

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So you've got that.

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Our enemies are speaking up.

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We need to speak up to.

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Next thing I'd say that was on my heart was the great quote

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from Catherine of Sienna.

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Who said that, uh, if you are who God has made you to be, you

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will set the whole world on fire.

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If you are who God has made you to

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Then you will set the whole world on fire.

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So this is a beautiful thesis that flows through much.

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I guess.

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Of Catholicism and the witness of the saints is the sense that if you become

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the more, the more deeply you press into your relationship with Christ, the

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deeper that Christ permeates your life.

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Then people notice, right.

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People notice.

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Another pastor said years ago, I don't know who the quote should be attributed

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to, but they said, if you set yourself on fire, people will come to watch you burn.

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So if we spiritually set ourselves on fire, people will be curious.

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There'll be interested.

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There'll be, what is the difference here?

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What is the, what do I notice about this person that is.

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You know, strikingly different to other people around me.

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Now, again, this is a complex question today, and there's a lot of nuance here.

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The risk of course, is what we call Neo Pelagianism, which is when we

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kind of think that it's our job to strive harder and harder and

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to be more joyful and just to be

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Happy all the time that, uh, everybody just thinks, wow,

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they're so happy and joyful.

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What is it about them?

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There's definitely a truth to that, but I, as I've grown older, I've

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also realized that God creates us with specific personalities.

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Right.

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We are definitely created with specific personalities.

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Some of us are more introverted and quiet and serious.

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And you know, one of my kids is, um, very much similar to me.

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And one of my kids is just absolutely wild and crazy and out there.

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And so these are characterological facts.

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So I just want us to realize that the saints, one of the things about the

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sciences have radically different.

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They all

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Today's Francis of Assisi, Francis of Assisi was not like Thomas of Aquinas.

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You know, Thomas Aquinas was not like Tereza leisure.

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So you see this huge diversity here, but what we do find is that they

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were all individually deep into their relationship with Christ.

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And that was transformative and people noticed that difference.

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So.

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Continuing that theme.

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I think if we want to share our faith with students and colleagues, They

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need to see something compelling in us.

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They need to either trust our maturity and seriousness or be

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attracted to our joy and spontaneity.

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We need to.

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Fully allow the holy spirit to transform us as best we can.

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So that people are drawn towards us.

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And earlier today, before I came in the studio, I was thinking about

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this question and maybe this'll help.

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Right.

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Imagine that instead of talking about.

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Uh, sharing the faith.

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What let's imagine that what we were most passionate about was

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CrossFit and going to the gym.

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Right.

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We were just oddly obsessed with CrossFit and going to the gym

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and we were, we loved it so much.

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That we wanted all the students at our school and all the colleagues

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at our school to get fitter.

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And to, um, and to be starting in the gym and to be lifting weights all the time.

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The only problem is.

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No matter how passionate we were.

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We never went to the gym and we really let ourselves go.

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And we were in terrible health and fitness.

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And we looked as though we weren't taking care of ourselves.

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Can you see the incongruity here?

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Right?

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So can you imagine trying to walk the corridors of your school,

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saying everybody, Hey Crossy, can I talk to you about CrossFit?

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Can I talk to you about bench press?

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Can I talk to you about Palio diets?

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Can I talk to you about increasing your cardio?

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They're just going to look at you and go, uh, well, it's, doesn't

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seem to be working for you.

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Now I'm hoping I haven't lost anybody there with, uh, With that analogy.

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I'm just using it to help us realize that if we were super fit and strong

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and healthy, People would look at us and think, wow, you know,

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I want some of what they've got.

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Right.

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So it's a weak analogy, but you can see that if we are not convinced

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of our faith, you know, the, the church documents talk about Catholic

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educators being convinced and coherent.

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That they're convinced of the truth of the faith and coherent about it.

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So I guess all I'm doing here is broadly saying in this question,

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In answering this question, we need to be the message, right?

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We need to embody, how do you evangelize by being a really amazing

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human who may then eventually build quality relationships, who they.

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Who may then.

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Uh, B.

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Available when people are at particular moments of life.

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Now, some of you know what I'm saying, there's Uh, kind of theory and

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evangelization that what we need to do is just be really good people and build

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relationships and be there for when.

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Uh, things go sideways in people's lives, and then we're going to be there

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to support them and encourage them.

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And then maybe lead them to Christ now.

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That's true.

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That's definitely true.

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But I guess what I'm trying to say here is there are so many

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ways to witness to the faith.

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You might witness to the faith by being a brilliant teacher, by having

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a great love for your students and their development that you just teach.

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Really, really well.

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And you get a reputation as somebody who teaches really, really It might

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be that you're a great listener.

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It might be that you've got a great sense of humor.

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You see the holy Spirit's going to take these natural gifts that you were

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created with and gonna elevate them.

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And help you to reach people through those gifts.

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So as much as, you know, direct preaching and homiletics and.

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And, uh, you know, all sorts of deep discussion on theological

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matters are important.

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We can't rule out or limit the number of ways in which the holy

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spirit can reach people through you just by being who you are.

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Uh, and in terms of being who you are, I mean, You know, allowing yourself to be

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drawn towards the sacraments and prayer.

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So that the holy spirit has the best possible chance to work with you and

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to help you to grow and flourish.

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So look, summary, there's a lot in this.

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I would say a couple of basics.

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We need to get off the back foot.

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We need to stop.

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Being timid all the time.

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And we need to worry about causing stop worrying about causing possible offense.

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Or, you know, being misunderstood.

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You're intelligent.

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You can figure this out.

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I'm not talking about being blunt and aggressive or dogmatic.

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I'm just saying.

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Let's move out of the crouching position and begin to press towards people.

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Confident in our faith, because we have to believe at the end of

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the day, it comes down to this.

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You have to believe that you have something remarkably

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worth sharing or you don't.

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And if you don't really believe it, it's going to be very hard to

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passionately share that with people over

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Okay.

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So that's it.

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Summary.

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Our enemies are not backing off neither should we, uh, we need to

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set ourselves on fire and let the holy spirit set ourselves on fire.

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We need to be courageous, tell people the truth, just say, look, you know,

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build friendships and then be able to say to them, In a difficult time.

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Hey, I want you to understand you're not alone in this God's with you.

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Can I pray with, you asked to pray with people sometimes, you know,

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And, um, You know, if you're in a fight by school, just start a pray group.

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Start some way we can meet together once a week.

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And students and staff can begin to pray together or do Have a Bible study

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together, just, you know, it's, what's the old saying it's much easier to apologize

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and it is to ask for permission to start, just start something and see how

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it grows or what have I missed in that?

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Um, I think that's pretty much everything I wanted to cover off on if I've missed

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Um, please.

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Let me know, send me an email, jonathan@onecatholicteacher.com.

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Got you get the show notes, make sure you subscribe tomorrow.

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I'm going to go a little bit deeper on the second part of this question.

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I hope today has been a blessing for you, but you've got this all right.

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You and the holy spirit together have got these things sorted.

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Get back out there.

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I Get into it you're going to be just fun.

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my name's jonathan doyle this has been the catholic teacher daily podcast and