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A Treasury of Arkansas Writers Discussing the Catholic Faith
Official Website of the
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
Published: February 25, 2023
By Jeff Hines
Faith Formation Director
St. Paul said, “The love of Christ impels us.” (2 Corinthians 5:14) A gas pump has an impeller. It’s something inside that spins and forces the gasoline out. It is a force from inside. We are not compelled or propelled, but rather, impelled.
It is a natural motion that arises from a hidden source deep within. We are impelled by Christ’s love to share him with others. We are not impelled by guilt, obligation or impatience but by love. It is the love of Christ within us — it’s his love, not ours, that impels us.
Our responsibility is to have a relationship of love with him. Think about this in your own life and relationships. It is inevitable that Christ’s love in you will at times impel you to share him. You will speak up and volunteer and encourage and, in many ways, proclaim the good news to others: “God loves you, and Jesus came so that you can share in his divine life.”
Simply show and tell what you have seen and heard. Encounter the living Christ in your life, hear the good news of Jesus proclaimed, and make a response of faith every day yourself. Be patient and rely upon him.
Use words that speak from your own experience of life with Christ. Expect the love of Christ to impel you to share the good news of Jesus with others. Do it through accompaniment (where you get to know people in their life setting and respond to them) and teaching (where you share Jesus in a more planned setting, like in a parish religious education class).
In both instances, it is the Holy Spirit who does the work. It’s not you. The Directory of Catechesis (2021) says, “The Holy Spirit is the one who does the work, therefore, we can approach our work with joy and freedom.” It’s work, but it’s not hard.
Keep in mind, Jesus said, “My yoke is easy, my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). The Holy Spirit impels us, and that same Holy Spirit works in the hearts of others before we even get there. We don’t have to convince another person to believe the good news of Jesus. Their own heart will tell them it is true. “The desire for God is written on the human heart” (CCC #27).
Your goal is to have a strong relationship with Jesus yourself. The Holy Spirit will fill you and speak through you at the right time and place. Don’t put pressure on yourself, but rather, remember Jesus’ direction to remain in him “as a branch remains in the vine.” How do we remain in him? It is by receiving him in the Eucharist regularly (John 6:56). When we do that, he said we will “bear much fruit” (John 15:5).
Over time, you will see the results of Christ’s presence in your life. When you do, think about how you will put it into words and tell others about it when his love impels you to speak. “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope” (1 Peter 3:15) does not mean be ready to argue.
Simply show and tell what you have seen and heard. Encounter the living Christ in your life, hear the good news of Jesus proclaimed, and make a response of faith every day yourself. Be patient and rely upon him. The love of Christ will impel you to share him with others. It is for your benefit as well as theirs. You will grow closer to God by giving him away to others.