Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist. An early believer of Jesus, having spent significant time with Saints Peter and Paul, tradition tells us that the Romans asked him to write down the teachings of Saint Peter. His writing, known as the Gospel of Mark, is considered the oldest and shortest of the four, having been written somewhere between 40 and 70 AD.
I am always struck by the zeal the early Christians showed as they traveled to the four corners of the earth spreading the Gospel of Life. Can you imagine the courage required to go into a foreign land, not speaking the language or knowing the customs? What faith these young evangelists had.
They knew they were called to speak the truth with love and had complete trust that the Holy Spirit would make their pathway clear, giving them whatever was needed to preach the Gospel.
I have trouble evangelizing within my own home, let alone going to a foreign land to speak about my faith! I have been known to break out in a cold sweat when challenged about why I believe in God and why I choose to be Catholic.
Saint Mark’s life was not without hardship; he, too, had moments of doubt. As he traveled with Saints Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary trip, Saint Mark hesitated, fearing the toil ahead of him. How many times have I hesitated to go forth and speak about Jesus and His teachings? How many times have I walked away feeling the effort would be too much?
I remember the first time I got up to speak at a local Youth Ministry event. My knees were shaking, palms sweaty, and my voice trembling. My stomach was doing belly flops, and I was convinced the minute I opened my mouth, I would either utter complete nonsense or pass out. I was certain that nothing I was about to say would mean anything to anyone, least of all God. Thankfully, my pride took over and out of fear of embarrassing myself, I took a deep breath and spoke. I realized later that with that action, I had done what God had asked me to do. The rest was up to Him.
Although we may be filled with fear, question our worthiness, doubt our ability to communicate, or suspect that we have anything worthwhile to say, we should strive to be like Saint Mark—finding our true courage and strength in the knowledge that the Holy Spirit will guide and inspire us to spread the Gospel, the true message of love.
What area of your life needs courage of your convictions right now? Say a Hail Mary and get to work.
Mary Lenaburg married her first (and only) blind date going on 27 years, is a full-time liturgist, and parents one adult son navigating his path on earth and a special needs daughter safely in Heaven. You can find out more about her here.