Go out in love

By Breanna Cannon

Our world was created by God, with beauty and wonder, for us to enjoy. I shared in this column recently that our homes are made to be sanctuaries and places of refuge; we should guard our front doors to protect all who dwell and enter. Additionally, we can’t remain in our homes, shutting out the world.

When we look at everything happening in our world today, it might seem scary or bleak. Despite the surface appearance, we must look deeper. We must find how we are going to contribute and take Jesus to a world that so desperately needs Him.

I was recently at the Indianapolis Zoo with my children and mother. On our way home, one of my daughters noticed a homeless man at a stoplight. She was brokenhearted and very sad when my mom and I answered her questions about homelessness. That night, as I leaned in to kiss her goodnight, she asked if we could pray for that homeless man. Her request for prayer was so sincere. I will never forget her prayer, "Dear Jesus, please help that man find a friend to love him and can you please help him find a house and food to eat."

My daughter knew nothing about that man, but she knew he needed to be loved. Our adventure out that day opened her eyes to the need for love and prayers for our neighbors. We are all called to love. Sometimes we must step outside of our comfort zone to show the love of Christ to others around us.

“It is the love of God and the love of one’s neighbor which points out the true disciple of Christ” (Lumen Gentium, No. 42).

There are many ways we can take Jesus out to others, and that does not mean we have to sacrifice our own peace or security to do so. We must choose where we spend and give of our time wisely; if a place or something does not give us peace, we should pray and discern if it is right for us.

One great way to step out in faith is to get involved at a local parish. Many parishes have opportunities to not only help the local community but also invite others in for an encounter with Jesus. My parish, St. Peter in Montgomery, recently started a ministry with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to be present in local nursing homes and hospitals for those near death who may not have friends or family nearby. Everyone deserves to die in the presence of someone who cares for them and their eternal life. Our parish also has a Eucharistic procession the first Sunday of October. During the Eucharistic Revival, our parish will gather together to take Jesus out of the church building to the streets of our local community.

There are so many places that desperately need Jesus, and we are the disciples called to take Him out. All of us have been to the grocery store, work or one of our children's or grandchildren's school or sporting events. It is in these places where we can use our words and actions to be Christ to others.

Let’s all get involved in our parishes’ outreach or find places in our communities to share the love of Jesus with others – all the while keeping our hearts, minds and homes centered on eternity and the peace that comes with knowing, loving and serving our Lord daily. Just as we must guard the front doors of our homes, we must also be on guard and protect our hearts and minds when we are out; use discernment. The world is filled with confusion, but it is also filled with all kinds of good and beauty.

Let us all spend some extra time in prayer with scripture, in the presence of our Lord in adoration and in the peace of our homes, so we can each put on the armor we need to go out, love our neighbors and share Jesus with everyone we encounter.

“This is the commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 Jn 4:21).