By: Danilo Acquisto I have been working in TV and radio since I was 19. I work with some of the biggest names in an industry I can only define as ‘cut-throat’. Keeping the faith in that space is hard work and I know for you, it’s probably felt a bit like you’re in the trenches too. To be honest, the more I’ve engaged with this issue the more I’ve realized that as young Catholics we barely even know what we believe sometimes and so when we are given an opportunity to have a conversation or act on our faith, we often shy away. So let’s start with the conclusion: Faith is tested by fire and our Christian duty is to not sit comfy in our church pews and think that that’s a holy life. We are sent people – “Go in peace glorifying the Lord by your life”. It sounds so obvious but I think it is one of the most challenging aspects of the spiritual life and one that’s going to pursue you (in the best way possible) for the rest of your life. Trying to live out your faith in such a secular world is incredibly challenging. It always feels like you’re being squished between two walls – trying your utmost to keep the world and God happy. Get ready for a challenging and life-giving journey! “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.” Matthew 10:16 So Where Do I Begin? Let me first start by equipping you with the most important tool you’ll need in order to live out your faith outside of the Church – FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS CHRIST! It’s that simple. You know how crazy boys and girls get when they meet someone they ‘like’ and they become all giddy and excited… Doing things they never imagined they’d do for this person – like writing silly letters and putting lipstick kisses on them and spraying perfume on the envelope or going to watch a school play even if you hate theatre just because you know she is in it. That’s how much having an encounter with Christ should transform you – it should see you doing things you never expected you would do… Out of love. The key word in the title of this is ‘faith’. If I just provided you with tools on how to bible bash or force your beliefs on people, I would not be teaching you about living out your faith outside of the Church – I would merely be teaching you how to live your life outside of the Church. A deep intimate relationship with Christ is where this all starts. So my next question that I want you to answer in that deep part of your heart, is: Is Jesus Christ TRULY at the centre of my life?! Let’s say you lost your job, could you still turn your eyes to heaven and say “Lord nothing can take my joy. You have a plan.”? If your parents or someone really close to you were to pass on, would you start to panic about being alone and wonder what this was all about or would you turn your eyes to prayer and remind yourself that the Lord is all you need in this world and although it hurts like hell, He is with you and them through all of it?! Once you can get your spiritual life to that place, I think the rest of this conversation will be superfluous because that faith and love you have shown will simply overwhelm you and it will overflow into your life outside of the Church. Here is a great prayer my spiritual director gave me that changed my life and helped me look beyond my circumstances and how to put Christ at the center fully: “Take Lord and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To thee, O Lord, I return it. All is thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and Thy grace, for this is sufficient for me” – St Ignatius of Loyola Right! So once you have that first step – really putting Christ at the centre of your life, the rest almost becomes obvious. Here are a few things I’d like you to consider when living out your faith: PRAYER IS VITAL Keeping a relationship with the Lord will require time spent with Him. Are you praying every day? Do you sit in silence for at least 20mins listening to what He is sharing with you? A great tip I find also is if I’m about to enter into a space where I know my colleagues are going to gossip or I’m going to feel left out, I have to sit still in my car before I get out, call on the Holy Spirit and ask God to give me the eyes I need to see how to bring peace, love, hope, faith, faithfulness, self control etc into the space. A solid prayer life reflecting on the word of God will help you know the truth and speak the truth while you live out your faith outside of the Church. THE SIGN OF THE CROSS & GRACE BEFORE MEALS Start with something small like ACTUALLY saying grace before a meal (even in silence) and making the sign of the cross in public spaces. Are you like me sometimes where you’re sitting at a lunch or dinner table with colleagues who aren’t Christian or family who isn’t Catholic and everyone starts munching down and to avoid upsetting anyone, you ignore grace and just get on with the meal? Why does that feel awkward in public?! I remember once sitting on a plane not too long ago and I wanted to say the rosary but I ended up trying to negotiate with myself for about 30mins on how to get the rosary out of my pocket, how to do the sign of the cross and whether they thought I was scared of the flight or casting a curse on the plane. It made me so aware of how much I consider other people’s opinions of me and I was so ashamed of myself that I didn’t trust God enough and that I allowed opinions to prevent me from spending time with Him – THE GOD OF THE BLINKING UNIVERSE. Ridiculous. FAITH IS IN ACTION NOT IN THE WORD “JESUS” Living out the Gospel is about loving God and loving people. There are ways to love people without even using the word JESUS or the like. Do you give up extra time to help a struggling friend? Do you seek out the lonely kid sitting in the room and have a conversation. Do you bring joy to any given space? Given how much time we spend at work/varsity? It should be no surprise that what happens there is critical for our spiritual growth. In fact, the workplace provides us with one of the best opportunities in our daily lives to grow in holiness. All we need is the right perspective — and a willingness to let Him lead. Pray before you go in and think about where you can be the hands and feet of Jesus at work/varsity/school today. You are called to be holy as your Father in heaven is holy. BE JOYFUL One of the devil’s greatest weapons is an unjoyful Christian. Yes, you will suffer and get tired and grumpy and everyone is going to frustrate you, you will feel sad and sometimes the road will be dark, but if we can cling to the belief that the Almighty God who loves us is walking with us, what could I fear?! Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for I know that You are with me. Being joyful is a clear sign that you’re holding on to something much greater than this season on earth – heaven! BUILD A COMMUNITY Faith sharing groups, bible studies, prayer groups, regular catch ups with friends where you genuinely ask the deep hard questions (in love of course) and walk each other through difficult seasons is vital for your faith journey. These groups will help you to experience God’s love and then also to be held accountable to that prayer life which we spoke about. It also reminds you that there are people out there who need to be loved. WHAT ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA? Living out your faith outside of the church is about every aspect of your life. Consider what you post on social media. How about posting some inspiring stories or #MotivationalMonday posts? How about posting about someone you met and how they inspired you? What about when you read a good gospel, sharing that on Instagram or Facebook or even Twitter? What you say online says a lot about who you are as a person. Don’t post to try and get likes, post the truth and that will start bringing you joy instead of trying to ‘Keep up with the Kardashians’. READ UP ON THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS If you want to meet people who really knew what it was like to live out their faith in radical ways, go and read up on the lives of the saints. There are literally HUNDREDS of martyrs who gave up their lives for what they believed. How much am I willing to give up my life? Let the lives of other people inspire us to be more radical about our live for Christ. IT’S A BLESSING TO LIVE OUT YOUR FAITH In 2015 alone there were 7100 Christians who were killed for their faith. That’s just under 20 a day. What a blessing it is that we get to live out our faith so freely and yet we are so scared to do so. Let’s be mindful of those who lost everything they had for their faith and let that fill us with great courage STRIVE FOR HOLINESS AND LOVE PEOPLE People need to be loved. I can guarantee you that there are people at your work or in your class that just need to be loved. Are we going to be the person who responds to that call or are we going to be too busy getting my degree or my work done? Be holy as your Father in heaven is holy. That was the call from Jesus – the call to holiness is a hard and long journey but we are taught that it bears fruit! Encourage others, forgive genuinely, support people, pick up that extra bit of work to help a colleague, offer to take the office cleaner home one day, surprise people with a chocolate or card – be a light. I remember often being asked by magazines and newspapers about how I managed to balance my faith with my job and I remember getting so angry at one point during one interview. I was asked that exact same question, and I responded by saying “I think this is a silly question – I am who I am because of who God created me to be. I work because He has blessed me with work. There is no distinction. My faith is my life. God is within me. It’s not a balance – it IS who I am.” It was a life changing moment coming to that realization. We are so consumed by what people think these days – constantly looking for social media likes etc. Today I encourage us to worry only about how Christ sees us. We were made in His image with an eternal love. Nothing in this world should ever matter more than accepting that. The God of the universe dwells inside of us – allow Him to love you. Amen. About Author: Danilo Acquisto I am a 24-year-old busy-body to put it simply. I work on national TV as a television presenter and have 2 radio shows and I love exploring various forms of ministry. Food is definitely my weak point. I live in beautiful Cape Town and have a BA in Law and Sociology. I have a passion for people and digital media (a bit of a contrast, I know). I am ADD and I LOVE it. Look there goes a bunny. Oh and being Catholic was the best gift my parents could have given me. I don’t know how I would have made it through the world (never mind the world of media) without a strong Church Community.