For Arie, it’s important to ‘walk with people and take it seriously’
Arie Reath is an engineer in Ann Arbor and a parishioner at Saint Thomas the Apostle. After some time away from the Church, Alpha helped Arie rediscover the beauty of the Catholic faith which she now shares with others. Arie writes for the Be Love Revolution blog, leads Bible study and Alpha sessions, and sees herself as God’s undercover agent.
WITNESS: My first real memory of witness was in college when I was trying to get back to the Church. During Mass, I saw people who I could tell were just super happy; there was something about them that I couldn’t put my finger on, a certain radiance in their smiles. Secretly, I wanted what they had. It was a simple witness to the faith, one that I try to keep in mind. My fiancé says he was drawn into the faith by something similar in me. To me, witness is so powerful – and I think it’s important to recognize that no one is looking for perfection – they’re looking for authenticity. You can be human and draw people in. Just be real about it!
INVITATION: I’m not afraid to talk about God. I think on my second date with my fiancé, I started the conversation with “let me tell you about Jesus.” I was straightforward because I figured he needed to know what is important to me. For our third date, he invited me to Mass at my own church. After Mass, someone shared their experience at Alpha, and I felt compelled to invite him to Alpha. I had completed Alpha myself, and it was a big part of me coming back to the Church. I could tell he was curious, so I asked if he wanted to sign up. I thought I’d go with him once and then just drop him off, but he wanted me to go through it with him. His invitation to go to Mass together turned into my invitation to go through Alpha. Last year he entered RCIA, and this past Easter he came into the Church.
ACCOMPANIMENT: In the midst of wedding planning and a busy summer, I wanted to cut back on my weekly commitments, and drop the Bible study I was helping with. I asked one of the girls who I’d invited there how it had gone without me at a session. She was honest and said it was a bummer that I wasn’t there because we really connected. Right then, I made a point to clear my schedule and rejoin. God is doing the work of conversion, but it is important to walk with people and take it seriously. It can be risky because you’re representing the Church, and if you flake out, it may damage their budding interest in the faith. So many people are looking for a reason to dismiss faith – don’t be the reason! We are human and make mistakes, but try your best to honor the commitments you make to people. Your undivided attention will stand out in a noncommittal culture.
PRAYER: Prayer is the source of everything. My life changed when I started having a daily prayer life. It wasn’t an easy habit to form, but after Alpha, I became interested in reading the Bible. Out of daily Scripture reading came conversations with God. And then I started to see God working things out. While witness, invitation, and accompaniment are very important pillars of evangelization, we cannot forget the most important: prayer. God is the one who changes hearts, and I believe our intercessory prayers for others have more effect than we know.