By DEACON MIKE SEIBERT
CONNECTING FAITH AND LIFE
“I will draw everyone to myself” (John 12:32).
|Let’s say you wanted to start an organization with one simple goal: to introduce everyone on the planet to Jesus. Jesus did start that organization and called it The Church. Everyone ever baptized has the seemingly impossible job to bring every person to Jesus. Fortunately, He gave us a secret, invisible force to use – magnetism.
Know to make a magnet? Take a piece of steel and rub a strong magnet across it several times – and like magic – that piece of steel becomes a magnet. OK, it’s not magic; but it sure looks like it. Normal metal has electrons pointing in all different directions; but when you rub a magnet over it, the steel takes on the properties of that magnet. All of the electrons get pointed in one direction, which creates poles on either end of the metal. This means if you hold one end of a magnet against another magnet, it will attract it – and the other end will repel it.
Same theory for us. You and I are all like that piece of steel with all of our electrons pointing all over the place; but when we come close to a Saint, for example, their magnetism draws us in. As we spend time with them, pray with them and study their lives, our lives get re-directed, re-focused and re-aligned. If we spend enough time with them, we take on their properties. In short, we become magnetized. We become magnets for Jesus.
Now, magnetism only works because of the magnetic field of the earth. Basically, the electrons in the metal all point toward the south pole or north pole of the earth. Similarly, the magnetism of saints only works because there is a greater magnetism at work – Jesus.
So, if there are over two billion Christians walking the planet, why isn’t everyone drawn to Christ?
Unfortunately, the culture is also a magnet. Everyone, including us, is drawn in by this mega-magnet, which gets us to focus on anything other than Jesus – work, sex, technology, politics, vacations, food. It’s easy to become magnetized toward these and similar things. But if our attention is not on Jesus, we are not drawing people to Christ, but doing the opposite.
How do we break the hold that the culture has?
We have to get them to turn their heads – to re-focus their energy. See, their electrons are all pointed to the negative – or at least, they’re all pointed away from Jesus. Our actions need to get them to spin; to turn their heads. Like taking a magnet and pushing slowly against the negative pole of another magnet all at once, it spins around as the positive pole overpowers it.
What’s that look like in non-metaphorical terms? I heard a quote (can’t remember the Saint): “The World needs signs of Faith that don’t require Faith to believe.” In other words, our actions need to turn heads – like a magnet forcing another magnet to spin.
Whenever we go out of our way for someone, we make them do a reality check – to question their view of what’s most important in life. A simple example is the random act of kindness; for example, where you pay for someone else’s meal you don’t know. The question that has to arise in their mind is, why would somebody do that? In most peoples’ minds, there is no payoff to doing something like that – so why!? The best personal example for me was when people drove all the way from Celestine to Newburgh to visit me when my Mom died. It was above-and-beyond. It tugged at my heart.
A perfect example was when John Paul II went to prison to forgive the man who shot him. That’s a sign of faith that doesn’t take faith to believe. The world said, What?! Why?! They recognized that there must be a higher power at work here. When people experience that kind of forgiveness, they realize there’s something supernatural going on.
They don’t understand it; they can’t see it. But it tugs at their heart; like a magnet.