When I was growing up, I had this idea in my head of what a “church person” was like. I thought these people would be judgmental, and detached from the “real world.” That perception changed when I wandered into a youth retreat before college. While on that retreat I encountered Jesus not only in the Sacraments, but also, and very surprisingly, in the people I met. All of a sudden these “church people” were right in front of me sharing their stories, listening to mine, and laughing and crying along with me the whole weekend. I felt known, accepted, and loved. I wanted to know more about this Jesus that these people were sharing about so freely.
When talking about the work of the Church, it’s important to remember that our faith calls us to go out, not to stay in. My conversion wouldn’t have been possible without others “going out” and getting me, and now I’m called to do the same. We’ve all been given a mission to share what we’ve received, and when we do just that, we participate in the work of the Church. It’s not always easy, but when I let grace lead me I come across people I never would have expected to meet. Take some time today in prayer and simply ask God: Where do you want me to go? You might be surprised how he answers.