Healthy Soul/My Life/Teen Life/Witness and Evangelization Translating God’s Love by Faith Noah God reveals His love for us in incredible ways. Sometimes, it’s through the words we hear: a homily at Mass that makes us feel like God Himself has taken over the mic to speak individually to us, or a talk that says exactly what we need to hear, exactly when we need to hear it. Other times, it’s through the love we receive: a friend’s support amid hard times, or a stranger’s random act of kindness when we least expect it. As for me, God just so happened to pop in and blow my mind with His awesomeness last week as I sat eating a PB & J in the middle of Central America. MIND: BLOWN I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I left for a week-long service trip in Nicaragua with my university’s Catholic group. I knew we would be digging septic tanks, that we needed to drink lots of water, and that the work wouldn’t be easy. But aside from that, I was eager to see how God would show up to us that week. And boy oh boy did He show up. After making progress on our septic tanks one day, our work group paused for a lunch break, gathered in a circle beneath the shade of a tree. There were about eight of us from all over the US—most of whom I didn’t know—and one Nicaraguan, our team leader and a part of the group coordinating our visit all week. The conversation began lighthearted, until our team leader began to tell us a story — his story. We listened intently as he spoke about the darkness he had faced, and the immeasurable light he now knew with Christ by his side. It nearly brought us all to tears. His words really spoke to me. But even more incredible was the fact that they were spoken through me. Our team leader spoke Spanish, so there, beneath the shady tree, he spoke to me alone. Phrase by phrase, I repeated his testimony in English to our group. The words he said were touching, but it was this connectedness that really got to me. The words I spoke were not my own, I realized. What people were hearing come from my mouth was just an echo of the original message. I was an intermediary, an instrument through which God’s message of love was translated into a language others could understand. As I sat there, PB & J in hand, I realized something else, too… Can’t the same be said for everything we do as Christians? LORD OPEN MY LIPS If we are to call ourselves Christians, odds are that at some point in our lives, Christ has spoken to us. We know the Good News. We know the power of the Cross, a physical embodiment of Christ’s sacrificial love. But this Good News is meant to be shared. In the words of the Apostles Peter and John, “it is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). The light of the world does no good hidden; rather, we’re called to “set it on a lampstand, where it gives light to all” (Matthew 5:15). For this reason, God calls us to be His translators. He commissions us to share His Good News, taking what we have seen and sharing it with others in a way they can understand. “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20). What a task. Christ could very easily force His message to be heard. He could ensure that every person on earth knew of His sacrifice on the Cross. But instead, with immense humility, He lets us be His instruments. He lets us testify on His behalf. He lets us serve as active participants in His quest to make all souls aware of His love. He speaks to us, and then, once we have come to know His love, He speaks through us. Placing His words in our mouths, God entrusts us with a task of eternal significance: leading souls to Him. MY MOUTH WILL DECLARE YOUR PRAISES But there’s an important thing to note in this whole process: we have to receive before we can give. To share God’s love with others, we must first receive this love wholeheartedly: through the Sacraments, through reflection, and through opportunities to spend one-on-one time with Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. We can’t just repeat what we’ve been told without understanding it in our heart, or else His message is lost on us. Our mouths may be open, but our voices reach no one. In the words of my campus chaplain, “you can’t give what you don’t have.” For this reason, we have to stop and listen to the Lord, taking in all the love notes He is sending us. We have to be able to look at a Cross and know deep in our hearts that Christ made that sacrifice for us individually. Only then can we look at our brothers and sisters and realize that, just as Christ loves us, so, too, does He love each of them. He Loved Us 1 John 5:10-11 says: “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we almost must love one another.” God loves us. This is at the heart of all we do. If we know this, then the natural response is to love Him back, and then spread His love to all around us, offering up our voices to translate His message. If you are reading this and have any notion of God’s love for you, then don’t keep it bottled up. You are His translator. You are the instrument through which He wishes to play a love song to the world. Sing His praises and reach out to people, wherever they are on their walk with Him. You’d be surprised the ways He can use you. If you are reading this and don’t know His love, then prepare yourself. He’s reaching out to you right now, using everything around you as a testament to His love. So listen up. You’d be surprised where you can hear His voice. Lord, open our lips and our mouths will proclaim your praises.