October 26, 2016 // Local

YOM: Leading with beauty to ‘instruct the ignorant’

By Emily Mae Schmid

A meme is a picture that contains carefully crafted wording to underscore its message in a more powerful way. In social media these are easy to forward on or share.

Instructing the ignorant is likely not the first (or second, or third) work of mercy that comes to mind when thinking about how to live out your faith during this Jubilee Year of Mercy. The “ignorant” are a harder group to identify than the “hungry” or “sick.” This work of mercy comes from this passage in Matthew’s Gospel, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). The “ignorant,” then, are those who need to hear of God’s love (and mercy) for His Church.

For the first Christians, this meant walking from town to town and telling people who Jesus was and that He rose from the dead. But what does that mean for the faithful today? Most people have heard of Jesus, but fewer and fewer know the truth. And while nothing is stopping you from walking from town to town proclaiming the Gospel, it may not be the most effective way to “instruct” those in need of Christ’s love.

One of the great evangelizers of our time, Bishop Robert Barron, explains how to share our faith with others: “Begin with the beautiful, which leads you to the good, which leads you to the truth.” Now, more than ever, it is important to show the beauty of the Church to others. God is beauty itself; His mercy is beautiful. The faithful have a duty to evangelize their family, co-workers and others that they encounter. We are called to bring people out of the “ignorant” secular world and into the beautiful, good and true world that is a life in Christ.

How do you describe the joy that was felt during worship and prayer with 2 million youth at World Youth Day in Poland? Don’t tell — show.

The Office of Communications aims to “instruct the ignorant” by sharing the beauty of the Church using the tools of new media. The goal is to support the faithful and engage those on fringes of faith; one way the diocese has been doing this is through sharing beautiful images on social media. Faith must impact every dimension of our lives, including our “online” presence. Most of us know the beauty of the Mass, but how do we share our faith outside the walls of the church? Do people know you are Catholic? Do you know what it means to live your faith?

Following the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram will show you another side to the Church — one that is ready to be shared with the world. The Church understands that “instruction” must be through means other than our words. One especially effective tool has been creating “memes” of a saint of the week or a quote for the Gospel. The diocese invites people to encounter their faith beyond Sunday Mass, and live it in a way that authentically demonstrates a life in Christ to others. Every encounter with others is an opportunity to share one’s faith.

Before anyone can “instruct the ignorant,” we must first instruct ourselves, and make sure we are living our faith in an authentic way, and in every part of our lives. The diocese invites you to look for ways to live your faith throughout the week and share them with others by leading with the beauty that is God’s mercy.


The Apostolate of Divine Mercy instructs the ignorant through its ministries

All ministries of the apostolate begin with prayer in the chapel at the Life Center, and sometimes continue outside of a South Bend abortion clinic.


Shawn Sullivan of the Apostolate of Divine Mercy explains to students of St. Anthony de Padua School how the apostolate reaches out to mothers in distress as part of a Facts-of-Life program.

* * *

The best news. Delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe to our mailing list today.