Got Time for a Home Visit?

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“Mom, there’s someone at the door.”

It was a Saturday morning and I hadn’t showered yet. I’m pretty sure I had only had one cup of coffee, so all my brain cells weren’t firing yet.

That must be why I responded completely intelligently with a “Whaaaa?”

“There’s SOMEONE at the DOOR.”

They hadn’t rung the bell or come in through the garage the way people who know us do.

They were just…standing there. Waiting. As if they were used to it.

I went to the outer garage screen door and knew immediately what it was about. I was barefoot and not feeling particularly friendly–the concrete garage floor was chilly! I was in a t-shirt! This was unexpected!

“Good morning,” the woman said in a not-too-perky voice. She looked like someone I might be friends with, if she hadn’t just interrupted my Saturday chaos to share her faith with me.

I let her get as far as her first breath when I told her I was familiar with her religion and that I wasn’t interested. By that point, I was feeling more friendly, but…well, something kept me from trying to share back.

I’ve had a number of interactions with Jehovah’s Witnesses here on the farm and in my youth. I was also raised in a non-Catholic “ask a friend to church” culture.

I’ve always been rather intrigued by the Catholic approach. Or maybe it’s a non-approach, because there just isn’t the same “invite people along” mentality in Catholic circles. At. All.

What won me over to Catholicism, truth be told, was not the arguments. No one tried to sell me on the One True Faith.

And that told me far more than almost anything else. What convinced me, in large part, were the quiet confidence of the man I would marry, the authority and bearing of the priest who ended up confirming me, and the faith in action of so many of the Catholics I saw in the pews.

I have a degree in marketing. I’m extremely sensitive to being “sold.” I remember going door-to-door as a kid, leaving door hangers that said things like “Jesus loves you and we’re sorry we missed you.”

I was never quite comfortable with that. And I think I’ve come up with some reasons why. (That’s a topic for the future, though.)

We need to engage. We need to converse. We need to be present.

But we also need to not be annoying about it. WE are not responsible for selling anyone on anything. Free will, remember?

We plant seeds in many ways. The Holy Spirit does the watering. Ultimately, things are between that person and God. Letting go and trusting God with that process is easier said than done, I know. Oh, how I know!

How we live tells people a lot more than anything else. And the people we need to evangelize aren’t usually strangers. In fact, they’re not usually any farther away than across the room.

The New Evangelization isn’t really new. The topic’s the same. The message is the same. In fact, the means of evangelizing are pretty much the same, too.

Don’t be fooled by the technology. Everyone’s longing for a home visit and an honest moment together.


Sarah Reinhard is a Catholic wife, mom and author whose nose is probably in a book if she’s not scraping something off of her shoes. Her latest book is A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism. Check out all of her books at http://sarahreinhard.com/writing/my-books/.

Visit Sarah’s website: http://sarahreinhard.com/


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About the Author

Sarah Reinhard is a Catholic wife, mom and author whose nose is probably in a book if she's not scraping something off of her shoes. Her latest book is A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism. Check out all of her books at http://sarahreinhard.com/writing/my-books/.

You’re just as likely to find Sarah Reinhard hiding out back with a book as you are to discover her playing in the yard with a few farm animals (or wait--are those her kids?). She’s less enthusiastic about making dinner than she is about eating it, but she loves being a Catholic wife and mom (much though she struggles) and the kids sure are amusing. She’s been happily married for eight years and counting, and she and her husband have three children.

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5 Comments

  1. Twice in my life I fell away from the Church in search of another way, and both times I returned. The image of my grandmother, who lived her life quietly serving God in both prayer and action, has been my constant reminder and she continues to point the way after 60 years. She said very little about her Church life, but the family knew that was what she was about. Memories of her whispering her rosary at night has had a far greater effect on me than the countless people who have knocked on my door or conversed with me on airplanes. There is much to be said for quiet confidence, humility, and a love reinforced by daily prayer.

  2. Not sure whether or not you engaged your visitor. I’d like to think so. I never used to enjoy the visits of JWs… My own fault… I felt threatened. By my own lack of knowledge of my own faith.
    I thank God for them now. They were partly instrumental in me taking my faith much more seriously … The result being, I relish the knock at the door. I enjoy the opportunity of sharing my faith, and testing myself under fire, as it were…… The last encounter I was complimented for my knowledge of scripture…..I planted some seeds, and let go…. They’re in my prayers……. Thank you Jesus, Scott Hahn. Pat Madrid. Ascension Press. Marcus Grodi….. and so many others.

  3. Interesting perspective!! I guess though sometimes I think we need to do more as Catholics to evangelize. I once went with a group of Catholics around a neighborhood to invite people to Mass. We simply left a card with Mass times and it was pretty innocuous. It didn’t feel patronizing and fundamentalist. It just felt like an honest, simple invitation. I think if we don’t put emphasis on evangelization the problem becomes our lack of zeal … We forget or fail to do it even in the honest, natural moments. I guess I think both approaches are good …. Going door to door and having honest moments discussing faith with the people you naturally encounter … As long as in both capacities you are respecting and listening to the other persons point of view and not just bulldozing over it with your own doctrine. I guess knowing how to listen is probably just as important as knowing your faith when it comes to evangelizing.

  4. I’ve always felt the same was as you about “selling” the Faith. Uncomfortable. I’d like to know more about your thoughts on that!

    I think sometimes, as much as I don’t like the ‘in your face’ style, sometimes people are initially attracted by those things but it’s the authentic conversation and interaction with Christ and a living Faith that keeps us coming.

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