Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

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My husband sent this quote to me the other day. “God sends messengers, not books.”

At first I thought it was funny because I write books but then I sat with the quote a little bit longer. It’s true that for most of us, we’re going to encounter Christianity or the message of Christ through a person. Few of us will discover the world of Catholicism through a book. Most of us will meet a Catholic person, a messenger, and this will inspire us to pick up a book to learn more.

As we head into the holidays, you will no doubt see many people you haven’t seen in a long time. Maybe you’ll run into friends from high school, maybe you’ll see your extended family, or maybe you’ll volunteer at a soup kitchen and meet someone new.

You have an opportunity this year to be a messenger, a messenger for Christ.

As many of you know, I came to Jesus because I witnessed a beautiful and strong marriage. This marriage was so attractive to me that I figured I must need to be a Christian to have a marriage like that. It was a pretty selfish way to meet Jesus but I don’t think Jesus cares how we meet Him, just that we do.

You cannot meet Jesus and remain unchanged. You can deny the experience you had but I guarantee you will have an experience. If you don’t, I will suggest that you didn’t really meet real Jesus.

I imagine if you’re listening to Coffee & Pearls that you’ve met Jesus at some point so I won’t talk to much more about that. Instead, I want to focus on what happens after this encounter, specifically, after we have become Catholic.

You see, I went from a warm and loving Protestant church to a cold and distant Catholic church and it was so confusing. I certainly wasn’t expecting perfect humans. We are all broken and we live in a broken world. I think there is beauty and hope in this brokenness as we all rest in Christ trying to figure everything out.

But what I encountered instead of a community who rested together, seeking to repair the brokenness and try to be more like Jesus, was a community who was mostly defensive. It was as if they were in an ivory tower and I wasn’t allowed in. They were closed. They acted like they had it all figured out.

“We don’t need Bible studies, we have the Mass.”

They kept the Catholic treasure to themselves. I had to work really hard to find it on my own. I’m not sure why Catholics are so private.

When I read about the lives of the saints, they didn’t seem very private at all. St. Catherine of Sienna was a loud-mouthed rebel. St. John Vianney was a truth-teller who told it like it was without holding back.

I’m not asking you to be my best friend. I don’t need to know your whole life story. What I need is to be able to go to the hospital for sinners and not feel out of place. This is what we all need.

We need to be healed and we need to feel comfortable asking for it. We need each other. We need to lean on each other despite our sinfulness.

You’re not fine and that’s okay. You don’t have all the answers and that’s okay. Your job as a messenger is to say, “I’m not fine but I have Jesus so it’s okay.”

We don’t need to shine up Catholicism and pretend it makes us happy. It most certainly doesn’t. It’s hard. The bar is high but there is comfort in this. There is a great peace comes the more we embrace our faith by sacrificing what the world tells us we should love instead.

I’ve said this before but I think it’s such a great visual. Imagine that you’re wearing a t-shirt that says, “Watch how a Catholic handles this situation.” It’s so powerful to think about. In a way, we are always wearing that message whether we’re making good choices or not. And I want to suggest people are more aware of it when we’re acting without charity or kindness.

Your job this year, with both Catholics and non-Catholics, is to be a messenger. Tell people that despite your struggles, and mama I know you’re struggling, that your peace comes from Jesus. It doesn’t come from money, it doesn’t come from beauty, it doesn’t come from fame, and it doesn’t come from worldly success.

You know that things are going to be okay tomorrow because God loves you. He created you and He will give you everything you need until He calls you home. That means even if you die tomorrow… it’s still going to be alright because you will be with God.

Take a deep breath. Nothing that you’re dealing with is bigger than God. He loves you and He has a plan for you. Rest in that love. Rest in that peace.

Then let others sense your peace. This is how you bring the message of Christ to those around you.

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