I am excited to introduce you to this month’s author for my monthly “Bold, Brave, Catholic” series. Each month, I feature a different Catholic who is just another individual in the pews, but striving to live their Catholic Faith in their daily lives. We are all called to live our faith outside of Sunday Mass, and this series will hopefully encourage each reader to live their faith in a bold, brave manner! But, as you can see from Emily, the president of Gloriam Marketing, LLC, being bold and brave looks and acts differently to each person. Read further to hear her thoughts on what it means to be Bold, Brave, Catholic in today’s world!
1. What does being bold or being brave look like to you?
I see bravery in people who rise above their circumstances and are still successful, faithful, loving, kind, forgiving, etc. Brave people don’t let their trials or circumstances define them. To me, boldness is a little different. I believe boldness and courageousness are similar. Bold people put others before themselves. Bold people are the ones who become heroes in numerous ways. But boldness is a little different. It’s courage with a splash of faith. With that courage + faith combo, anything is possible for bold people.
2. Is there a time in which you were hesitant to embrace your Catholic Faith?
Haha, honestly? A little bit every day. I’ve been blessed to have a strong faith since I was very young. In fact, my very first memory as a child was reading my children’s Bible cover to cover at age 5 and running to tell my mom I’d read the whole Bible in a day. (Yes, I was a nerd even then.) Blessedly, I have never had a time where I deeply doubted my faith for an extended period of time. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a choice every day. Every day, I am assailed by the lies of the world and the devil, trying to explain how this peace and joy I feel are not from God, but from myself. Thus, every day is a choice – will I follow the lies of the world that are so easy to understand or the truth that’s harder to believe?
[Having faith] doesn’t mean it’s not a choice every day… will I follow the lies of the world that are so easy to understand, or the truth that’s harder to believe?Emily Ricci
Honestly, what’s harder for me on a regular basis is embracing certain Church doctrines. I fully, 100% believe and try to follow everything the Church teaches. But hot button issues that fill today’s political and cultural landscape make it hard to be Catholic. It is really difficult sitting by as everything the Church does is seen as arrogant and discriminatory and then publicly aligning myself with that Church and trying to explain why. These issues are part of the reason I went to get my master’s in Theology, because I wanted answers. I’ve always supported Church teaching no matter what, but now I actually understand them too. But logic means next to nothing when faced with these emotionally-charged issues in real life. So some days, it would be a lot easier to not be Catholic. I like to believe that despite my views aligning with the Church’s, I am a non-judgmental, loving, compassionate human being, despite what others’ opinions about me would be knowing what I believe and support. Being Catholic means having to deal with a lot of misconceptions and challenging yourself daily to decide whether you’ll believe what the world tells you about your faith or what God tells you.
3. How did you overcome that hesitancy? Or, how have you worked through the fear?
I remind myself of the times I’ve been overwhelmingly sure that God exists and is working all things for my good: The inexplicably moving experiences I’ve had in Adoration; the blessing of my husband, beautiful home, and family; the time He literally yelled at me for driving past the college I was supposed to go to because I stubbornly thought I knew best (the one where I met my husband and now work) – I didn’t make these experiences up. There are no natural, physical explanations for them. Thus, they must be the work of God, and if that is the case, then I owe Him all of my love and trust. Even in the darkness, I know He will work miracles in my life again.
I always find it interesting in the Bible that Paul and the other early apostles didn’t start with the rules of faith. They always start with love, because that’s how Jesus started.Emily Ricci
I’ve also found great peace focusing on the Church’s emphasis on love, because no matter what side of any issue you are on, I believe people with strong opinions about these issues are motivated by wanting to love and be kind to others in their own way. I always find it interesting in the Bible that Paul and the other early apostles didn’t start with the rules of faith. They always start with love, because that’s how Jesus started. They spoke the truth, but they did so with love. So when faced with the media’s misconceptions of my views, I remind myself that no matter what they say, Catholicism is about love and that gives me the boldness to keep living out my faith.
4. What stops you from being bold or being brave in your expression of your Catholic Faith?
The fear of what others will think keeps me from being brave in the faith. I think the thing I beat myself up about mentally the most are the times I have the opportunity to evangelize softly and I don’t. Things like praying before meals in a secular environment or not inviting others to Mass leave me disappointed in myself and the missed opportunity. I am a millennial, and we all have a pathological fear of offending people. So I think that fear of offending or alienating people is what holds me back the most.
5. Tell me about a time in which you were bold and brave in your expression of your Catholic Faith.
Starting my business was a truly bold expression of my faith. I started a Catholic marketing company two years ago, and at the time, I didn’t know how bold that decision was going to be. It requires a lot of trust and a lot of admitting I don’t always know what I’m doing. I don’t have a background in business, finance, entrepreneurship, etc, so it’s a lot of trusting that if God wants this to happen, He’ll find a way! I just have to stay out of His way and let Him work through me. It’s also a lot of responsibility. By representing the Church in this way, I’ve committed myself to living out the faith as best as I can – so much so, that I try to help others do the same. It can be hard to remember in the nitty gritty of everyday life, but the work I do helps others to evangelize. That makes it important and to be treated with responsibility and care because that’s a big charge!
6. What encouragement would you give to others to be bold and brave?
It sounds trite, but trust is key. If you don’t trust God, you won’t be able to be bold or brave for Him. Boldness or braveness doesn’t really come down to a human quality, something we can pat ourselves on the back for. The ability to be bold or brave comes from God alone.We Catholics are facing a lot of tough times right now. Crises within and misconceptions from without make it easy to wonder why would someone still be Catholic. For me, I stay Catholic because I found and continue to find God here. And that is something that the media, crises, debates, and even Church leadership can’t take away from me – the trust in Him.