1 Corinthians 14:23-25
Welcome the New Believers…
Sometimes, without even knowing it, we scare off people who may still be new to the faith:
“So if the whole church meets in one place and everyone speaks in tongues, and then uninstructed people or unbelievers should come in, will they not say that you are out of your minds? But if everyone is prophesying, and an unbeliever or uninstructed person should come in, he will be convinced by everyone and judged by everyone, and the secrets of his heart will be disclosed, and so he will fall down and worship God, declaring, ‘God is really in your midst.'” -1 Corinthians 14:23-25, NAB
For those who have not read the previous verses, speaking in tongues is a spiritual communication between one person and God, whereas prophesying is sharing God’s message from one person to another. Today’s verse may not seem to apply to modern day very much – few churches are filled with people speaking in tongues; however, we can draw some parallels to other aspects of our faith.
When we talk with other Catholics about our faith, we have the tendency to dive into deep theological mysteries. We tend to discuss topics that are common to us, but for those who may be new to the faith or to the Catholic Church, we might as well be speaking in tongues. If we start throwing around our knowledge of the early writings of the Church fathers, or our thoughts on the Didache, we are likely to scare people away. While we have touched on this topic before, it is especially important for those new to the faith.
God granted me the gift of intellect; it takes very little for me to pick up on a new subject. But when I first started looking into Catholicism, I was overwhelmed by all of the new beliefs, terminology, and other aspects of the faith. I considered myself a pretty well-read Christian, but I felt like a young child walking into Sunday school for the first time. My experience is not unique. Many others have experienced the same overwhelming feeling, including some “Cradle Catholics” that decided to come home.
If you are someone new to the Catholic faith, do not worry – it gets easier. Everyone will learn about the faith in their own time and at their own pace. I spent quite awhile with the “deer in the headlights” look on my face.
If you are someone well-versed in the Catholic Tradition, make sure that you are aware of where your brothers and sisters are at in their faith. I imagine, at one point in your life, you were a little scared yourself. If you see someone new to the faith (you’ll recognize them by the “deer in the headlights look”), take the time to talk with them. Just make sure you’re not speaking in tongues, but in terms they can understand.