The most important part in apologetics is not what we know or how much we know, but how we use what we know. I mean, it's good to know a lot and to be fully armoured, so to speak, but all that knowledge is good for nothing if you don't know how to defend the faith in a respectful manner.
Yesterday afternoon I sent out an email to my colleagues to join me in prayer every morning for the next nine working days to pray a novena to St. Jude (patron saint of desperate causes) for other colleagues of ours whose infant child has a brain tumour that even after two attempts to remove fully, remains and things are looking rather grim. We've done a few small things to help support our colleagues during this difficult time (e.g. prepared a gift hamper and so forth), so I thought the very least we can do as a school community is offer our prayers.
Anyway, I received an email from another colleague this morning, and, well, here's what they had to say (I've omitted their name to protect identities):
It's important to note that this colleague of mine comes from a non-Catholic Christian background.
Here's how I responded to them:
... And how my colleague responded to this. I have to admit I was expecting the worst:
THEY WERE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH IT (PRAYING TO SAINTS) BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T UNDERSTAND IT!!!!!!
Fulton J. Sheen once said, "There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church."
There's perception, and then there's reality.
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In the end I was glad I was able to help clarify the matter for this workmate of mine, and I fully understood what they meant when they said that people can get defensive about their faith. I believe people get defensive about their faith when they're asked questions about it because it may be that they do not fully understand their own faith and therefore do not know how to defend it.
Peter tells us in his first epistle:
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” – 1 Peter 3:15
The most important part of that verse if scripture to me personally, is not the “be prepared” part, but Peter’s instruction to do so “with gentleness and respect”.
We don’t soften hearts by hardening our own.