The first Papal letter ever recorded commands Catholics to "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect ..." 1 Peter 3:15
How then do we evangelise without annoying people?
It strikes me that there are a number of small things that we can do which can impact those around us:
1. Live a life of grace - stay close to the sacraments, frequent weekly Confession and the Eucharist. Seek to be converted as well as to convert.
2. Pray. Offer each day to God. Ask for opportunities. Pray for each person you meet - by name of the meeting is planned.
3. Integrate our faith into our daily life when someone asks us what we did at the weekend, how often do we share that we went to Mass? We don't need to have an in depth discussion about transubstantiation but do we share this with joy?
4. Have authentic friendships - don't be friends purely in order to convert, and don't exclude the possibility of the Holy Spirit using you to bring that person to Christ.
5. Don't be ashamed of your faith. My wife encourages me to wear or use my rosary in public, to make the sign of the cross in a restaurant before eating and to let people know that I won't eat meat on a Friday. These small signs could spark a thought or discussion that could have eternal consequences.
6. Be assertive. Stand up for the faith - avoid the traps of either remaining silent when the faith is attacked or to defend it with aggression. Speak the truth calmly but clearly. Truth has a power in itself.
7. Be a person of forgiveness and reconciliation - these should ensure that we are people of hope and joy. It is hypocritical to be a practising Catholic and to hold grudges or hate others. Pray for those who curse you.
8. Celebrate saints days and the anniversaries of baptism and confirmation with your family and friends. There are perhaps more important than birthdays.
9. Know the Bible. The New Testament is the most Catholic of any literature in existence. Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ. If we don't know Him, how can we share?
10. Social media: how can we integrate our faith into what we share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc? We can do this in a way that isn't preachy.