At the age of seventeen, I participated in a week-long retreat called “Young Apostles” for a summer Catholic Steubenville conference in Tucson, Arizona. At the end of the week, the adult leadership team took time to pray over every teen, and as the team prayed over me, one of the female leaders read a verse from today’s Gospel that permanently changed the course of my faith journey:
"When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak, or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you" (Matthew 10:19-20).
In the moment the verse was spoken over me, I felt like I had been set ablaze; I began to weep and my tears felt like boiling water as they fell onto my skin. I felt a deep and breathtaking confirmation that the Lord was setting me on fire with His love so that I could carry it into the world. He spoke a clear reminder that I would only have to depend on Him to give me the words to speak as I was sent out.
I have taken this verse into every step of ministering to women. There are many moments in a conversation with a woman when, as she shares with me, I do not know what to say. My heart goes back to that moment as a teenager and reminds me to pray, “Come, Holy Spirit, speak through me. Give me the words to say.”
What a consoling verse for us to refer back to throughout our journey of being witnesses to our faith in Jesus Christ.
How beautiful that we do not have to depend on ourselves, but Him, for the right words to say.
How marvelous that God promises to give us the words when we feel we have none.
How consoling to remember that He is with us always as we set the world ablaze with His love.
As we share our faith, encourage friends, give direction to the lost, evangelize those who have never heard about Christ, let us remember that we do not need to find the right words, but depend on the Holy Spirit, God with us, to provide them.