Often we may become frustrated when our efforts to share the faith with others seem fruitless. We may try to explain some truth of the faith using the most reasonable arguments – yet no one is convinced. We may share exciting examples from the lives of the saints – yet few are inspired. We may even befriend someone, showing them extra kindness and understanding, hoping to eventually introduce them to Jesus. While they appreciate our friendship, they aren’t at interested in becoming a friend of Christ.
This frustration is rooted in a misunderstanding of human nature. In the state of original sin, Man’s nature is incapable of turning to God on its own. God is so far beyond the human soul that we could say He doesn’t even show up on the radar. God Himself must work within the soul so that the soul recognizes God and His invitation to conversion. God must give us the strength to turn to Him. This initial grace – the grace that opens the heart up to grace – is called prevenient grace.
Jesus alludes to this movement of grace in the Gospel of John:
“No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me” (John 6:44).
It is this passage of scripture that was the inspiration for the motto of our new bishop, Douglas Crosby. Bishop Crosby explained his motto in the Homily at his installation Mass:
My Episcopal motto is “Trahe nos!” – “Draw us!” – in today’s gospel passage Jesus says “No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father.” Our response then, our prayer, loud and clear: “Draw us” As the fisherman draws in his nets, haul us in, heal us, free us, save us, teach us, make us yours Oh Lord, draw us. Amen.
Without the influence of grace none of our efforts to spread the Gospel will be able to bear fruit. The witness of the saints, the arguments of apologists, even the affection of a good friend are not enough to bring someone to Jesus – only the grace of the Holy Spirit, sent by God the Father, can turn a heart to Jesus.
When trying to share our faith with our friends and family our words and our actions are never enough. We must pray intensely for them. We must ask the Father to draw them closer to His Son. We must pray for ourselves, that we may see the areas of our lives that are obstacles to others coming to know Jesus. We must ask the Father to give us the grace to turn from sin and into a deeper friendship with His Son.
“Trahe Nos!” “Draw us!”