I always find it interesting when someone claims faith should be personal. The sheer nature of the Christian faith is public. It is a calling to live out what we profess with our tongue. It is important to understand our faith impacts others. St. Paul understood the value of fellowship and the power of faith.
“For I long to see you, that I may share with you some spiritual gift so that you may be strengthened, that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by one another’s faith, yours and mine.” (Romans 1:11-12)
My heart and soul are always filled when I spend an hour or two discussing faith in the presence of those who live it and build their life around their faith. I have those friends who radiate the presence of God. Their love for the Lord Jesus abounds and it flows over to those around them. It is this impact that St. Paul is speaking about when he says he and the Romans “may be mutually encouraged by one another’s faith”
Imagine if all Christians lived a life that was contagious. Our families, communities, the Church, and the world would be changed if we only lived what we believed. A large portion of Christians go to Mass on Sunday and check that box off their weekly list. Parents need to learn and understand the faith. A mother is unable to teach her daughter about Jesus if she does not understand herself. A father should be teaching the importance of Mass and the Sacraments to his son but must first understand them himself.
Living the faith is about enabling the faith to change us. If our faith in Christ does not cause a transformation in our life then our faith will never be able to encourage others. We have an enormous responsibility to be Christ to the world. This is exactly what St. Francis of Assisi was talking about when he said, “preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” Let us join with St. Paul, St. Francis of Assisi, and all the great heroes of the faith who have gone before us and live our faith so that it may be an encouragement to others.