An image of St. Teresa of Calcutta, some of her quotes in frames, and a rosary on my desk. This is how I witness to the power of Christ in my classroom, which is located in a public school setting. While I know I cannot teach about my faith as a public school employee, I can have these signs visible to my students and anyone who walks in my room to point to all of the good works the Lord has done and continues to do. If my students ask about any of these things, I tell them about the life of St. Teresa of Calcutta and how she served others and how she won a Nobel Peace Prize. I let students hold my rosary and look at all of the features it entails (I keep it at my desk, and sometimes it will catch a student’s eyes). When students ask me about the Divine Mercy bracelet I wear, I simply say it means Love. This is the best way that I can share Christ to the young minds I work with without saying the name of Jesus.
In today’s Gospel reading, Christ says “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15). No matter where you are in life, and where God has you, He calls you to preach the Gospel. We are to live in hope, knowing that in the name of Jesus miracles will happen. It is easy to feel fear in today’s world with all of the persecution and twisted views of human dignity.
How do we go about fighting these vices with hope rather than living in fear? We must call upon the name of Jesus. If you are in a setting where you can openly share about Christ that is awesome! Lovingly get to know the person you are evangelizing to, for we must know someone at the human level before we can enter into the intimate spiritual realm with them. The person needs to feel loved for who they are rather than feel like they are part of an agenda to be saved. It may take time to build this relationship, but God’s timing is perfect and He knows exactly what He is doing.
What do you do if you work in a public service setting, where you cannot openly share about the faith out of respecting the backgrounds of those you work with? First of all, always keep hope. God will work through you in ways you can’t imagine as long as you keep your eyes on Him and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Ask Mary for her guidance in loving those around you with tenderness and compassion, seeing each person for their human dignity uniquely given to them by God.
One way that you can have signs of your faith visible in a public service setting is to have an image of a saint in your workspace. I chose St. Teresa of Calcutta because she motivates me as a special education teacher and because she has a beautiful witness of loving others that is easy for my students to see. I can talk about the love she had for others without mentioning the name of Christ, and thus still be a witness to God because He is Love.
Another unique thing that you can do without others even noticing is use Holy Water on the spaces that will be utilized during the work day so that you are asking for God’s blessing before the day even begins. I do this every morning on all the desks my students will use, the door into my classroom, and any other furniture we will be using for learning activities. Walking around and using Holy Water to make a cross provides me with peace and also helps remind me of the servant’s heart that I desire to have throughout the day for my kiddos.
Ultimately, wherever God has you serving others you can be a witness to Christ with or without saying His name by the acts of love that you pour unto others, the joy that you display, and the mercy that you share throughout the day. In a world filled with darkness, we must be beacons pointing to Christ, the true Light. Even if someone does not realize that they are seeing Jesus in the ways you go about your day, your witness will cause them to see something different in you, something that directs them to hope in the possibility of goodness and light. God bless you and the journey He has placed you on!
“Do small things with great love.” – St. Teresa of Calcutta
“Courage, dear heart.” – C.S. Lewis
Nathalie Hanson is a special education teacher and a joyful convert to the Catholic faith with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). She loves to share her passion for Catholicism with others, including her conversion story and how God continues to work miracles in her life through her OCD. Nathalie is engaged to her best friend, Diocesan’s Tommy Shultz, and she is beyond excited to become Mrs. Shultz this October. Her favorite saints include St. Peter the Apostle, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II. If you have any questions for Nathalie, or just want her to pray for you, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.