David from Decatur, GA, reported this evangelization encounter:
A man approached as I neared the corner where we like to evangelize. He handed me a small tract with the title “Are you born again?” He asked my name. “David,” he said, “do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?” “Yes I do”’ I answered. “Would you like to hear about it?”
He said his name was King, and I invited him to come talk with me. He agreed, and he immediately challenged us about “the doctrines and dogmas of the Catholic Church”. I asked him if he had any one particular doctrine that he would like to discuss, and he focused on Mary. Like many non-Catholics, he has the common misconception that Catholics worship the Blessed Mother. Alex, one of our other evangelizers, asked him what he considered worship to be. He also asked King if he understood the concept of intercession. We wanted him to know that Catholics venerate Mary and that we ask her to pray for us in the presence of God. However, King didn’t understand the difference between veneration and worship, and I used my phone to google the definitions of both terms for him.
He then tried to put forth an analogy. “When a mail man brings you a special package, you open it and keep the gift that’s inside, but you discard the envelope,” Jesus being the gift and Mary being the envelope. I told King that Mary is more than just some random woman who happened to be picked to be some earthly envelope and then discarded. I referred him to Genesis 3:15 where God prophesied that not only will a Savior come to redeem mankind, his mother will crush Satan’s head. I then explained the Immaculate Conception, telling him that Mary had needed a Savior but was saved from sin so she could be the fitting vessel to carry our Lord.
King spent about an hour with us and we discussed much more. His staunch anti-Catholic stance seemed to soften as we searched scripture together. By the time he left, he had accepted a rosary and allowed me to teach him the prayer. He then asked us to pray with him, and I asked God that His Church come together in unity. Pray that King can take what he learned and keep it when he returns to his non-denominational community.
Praised be Jesus Christ! There are so many misconceptions about the Catholic Church that have literally been handed down from generation to generation. However, once in a while God gives us an opportunity to knock a little hole in that wall that separates us. David and Alex were wise to keep the discussion focused on that initial Catholic “doctrine” and “dogma” issue that concerned King, the ever-present issue of Mary. They focused on the essentials, backing it up with Scripture, which is important when talking to many non-Catholics. The fact that King was willing to accept a rosary and wanted to learn how to pray it is significant. It’s possible that learning to pray the rosary will end up being nothing more than a passing interest … or it could trigger within him a yearning for something more, something deeper. If that is the case, he is likely to return to engage with the SPSE evangelizers about another Catholic dogma he doesn’t yet understand.