The first time I read through the Acts of the Apostles, I was completely struck by this line in today’s First Reading:
"He entered the synagogue, and for three months debated boldly . . ." (Acts 19:8).
I read it a few times, circled it, underlined it, and wrote in the margin, “Paul debated for 3 MONTHS!!!"
I was so amazed at his tenacity, mostly in light of the reality that it can be utterly exhausting to be a devout Catholic in 2019. Perhaps you know what it is like to have your family, friends, co-workers, or the peanut gallery on Facebook questioning you, putting you down, or ridiculing you for your beliefs or for the counter-cultural way you choose to live in light of your Catholic faith.
It can be tiring to continue to defend your beliefs, explain the Church’s teachings, and to live in our world amidst such questioning, negativity, and even hatred. On some days, all it takes to wear me out in defending my faith is one tough conversation with someone who really wants to challenge me and responds negatively about my beliefs.
But when I read this line over and over, I am somewhat embarrassed that I can wear out so easily in these conversations and, in contrast, Saint Paul debated unceasingly for three months straight.
As I reflect on this line once again, I am convicted ever more that as a Catholic I must step up to live as Saint Paul did—I must ask for both a tireless spirit and a steadfast resolve to defend my faith in love and in charity. I'll also pray for firmness and fortitude interwoven in each conversation and each relationship.
Let us ask Saint Paul to pray for us in these troubling times—today I ask him to pray for our willingness and endurance in defending our faith and in speaking up when we know we must to stand for the Kingdom of God and His one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church.
Let's pray this prayer for Saint Paul's intercession today for an increase in patience.
Emily Wilson-Hussem planned her whole life to become a sports reporter but turned out to be a Catholic musician and speaker at the hand of God. She lives out of her suitcase and travels across the world speaking to people of all ages. The heart of her ministry is offering encouragement to teen girls in search of their true identity, and she loves every second of it. She is the author of I Choose the Sky and Go Bravely. You can find out more about her here.