A reader asks for advice from fellow Catholics….

Marcia, a reader of this blog writes in the combox of a recent post ~

“My daughter and family have just left the Church to become Baptists. I have been accused by her as loving the Church more than my family. My love for the Church has kept me the kind of mother I feel God wants me to be. “The Rules” that make it so hard to be a Catholic for some of our children are for our own superior good. Her leaving is like a death to me. I need prayer to get over the sadness and sorrow. My weekday mass is pulling me through. How could I have anything better at this time. One of my grandchildren is also my Godson. What would you suggest I do? My daughter has informed me that I better not talk to him…just don’t try and make him Catholic again. I need some suggestions.”

Marcia would like some advice on how to handle this difficult family situation and I would ask that Catholic readers in particular, share their thoughts with Marcia in the combox of this post, and endeavour to pray for her and her family.

Thanks!

Here’s my response:

Marcia, thank you for taking the time to share with me about the difficulties you are experiencing right now. I can sincerely empathise with you as one of my teenage children has rejected the faith they converted into and no longer attends Mass, saying he doesn’t believe in God any more. This has been exceptionally painful for me and I know exactly what you mean when you write that it is like a death to you.  At the present time, reception of the Sacraments and going to Mass,  along with the prayers of  friends and family is what is keeping me going right now. Embrace all of these and seek refuge in the Lord. Share with Him how you feel, even when you are sad and angry…in fact, especially when you are sad and angry!

I think it is important to accept that though we can raise our children in the ways of the Lord, they need to develop their own personal relationship with Jesus and we have to let our children make mistakes, even when we know it will harm them either spiritually or physically, or both.

The good thing is with your daughter and family, at least they haven’t rejected God.  Hopefully they will one day understand that the Sacramental life offers more than any manmade denomination can.

It is a hard thing to stand by and watch as our children meander down pathways that take them away from us and from the Church that Christ founded, but we must never underestimate the power of our prayers for our children. I’m sure you are praying lots for your family already, but perhaps you could regularly pray a Chaplet of Divine Mercy or a Rosary specifically for them, you may also find solace and hope in attending Adoration and praying before Our Lord about this matter.

It’s a hard truth but ultimately we have to place our children in the hands of God and entrust Him to care for their physical and spiritual wellbeing….of course, they have to co-operate with His grace…we can pray for their hearts to be softened by God but it is their responsibility to live according to the will of God, or to choose not to.

It is especially harsh on you that your daughter has forbidden you to talk about your faith with your grandson, perhaps you could ask her if she really believes you should abandon the promises you made to God at his baptism? That was a promise to God. Are promises to God to be so easily broken ? Why can not the child hear all sides and make up his own mind?

I would suggest you go very softly softly with your approach, as i am trying to do with my own dear son.  St. Francis of Assisi  is attributed with saying ‘Preach the Gospel always, and when necessary use words”.

I think those are very wise words indeed! Live your faith and let your family see the beauty of your Catholicity!

Marcia, i will remember you in my prayers, take heart, for this too will pass.

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6 Responses to A reader asks for advice from fellow Catholics….

  1. Angela M. says:

    I can’t add anything to Deb’s perfect response but I will pray for you Marcia.

  2. Coincidentally, I use this quote in my Blog today:

    “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength … Love your neighbour as you love yourself. There is no other commandment more important than these two.” Mark 12:30-31.

    Your daughter, and her family, may have left the “Church” and become Baptists. But presumably they still abide by the above commandments – as do Baptists, Methodists, Anglicans and many other Christians.

    Heaven is not reserved for Catholics alone.

    Of course, you’re hurt. Your daughter and her children, for now at least, are not following your version of the Faith. But you can only live your life – you can’t live other peoples’ lives for them.

    However, you can pray for them. Earnestly and in all trusting Faith hand them over to God. In your own words say: “God you know what’s happened. I love them. I hand them over to you to protect them and see them safely one day in Heaven. Your will be done.”

    And really mean the last four words. It is His will which is paramount. Not yours. Not mine, nor anyone else’s.

    Treat your daughter with love and respect (which I’m sure you do) and for the time being agree to her wishes. Do not raise this matter with her again or make an issue of it. Otherwise, it risks driving you further apart.

    I am praying for you and yours in the full knowledge and confidence that God knows best and has this whole situation well and truly under control.

    God bless.

  3. Rita says:

    Maybe you could turn this on its head and say to your daughter that you really wish you could be as holy and Christian as she is by entering the Baptist Community. Say that you are the weakest of creatures because you can not believe that you are “saved”, as the Baptists do. Your Catholic path is the hardest because you are the weakest of creatures, you are in constant need of the sacraments and forever asking for God’s forgiveness. You could ask your daughter for her forgiveness for any wrongdoings (real or imagined) committed against her by you. It is a humility thing.

    Humility, if genuine, is NOT about heaping coals on your back and feeling you are a terribly bad person. It is a very Catholic thing to put yourself beneath the person who has offended you and ask their forgiveness. It completely stops the other party playing the blame game and can sometimes be the only way to demonstrate your love for them.

    It is a great way of turning your actions into an active prayer and sacrifice and shows your daughter she still has your blessing.

    Or perhaps, you could think of yourself like the father of the prodigal son when the son went away, taking much of the father’s wealth with him. The father did not interfere with the son’s free will. It is that “let go, let God” thing.

    Prayers for you all.

  4. Elena says:

    Adopt St. Monica as your patroness and just continue to pray for your daughter. In the meantime though, if you were not well catechized yourself, it might be a good idea to make sure that you really know and understand your Catholic faith, because no doubt you will be tested many times in the months and years ahead. The way you meet these challenges may be crucial.

    God bless you.

  5. Joseph David says:

    Talking about rules, it is important to realize that rules are man made. What keeps Christians going is the grace of God, not the Law.

    In the Old Testament, the law was the main driver of life. But unfortunately, man had always failed to keep the law, simply because the law has its limitations. The law is only a signalling system that shows up when lawlessness prevails. For example, you are stopped by a traffic cop only when you break the law. In the absence of lawlessness, the law is not relevant.

    In Exodus 20, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments as a benchmark to set their lives upon. But man always failed, and God had to judge them by the same commandments. In short the law brought judgment and death, not life.

    There are three articles placed inside the Ark of the Covenant; manna, the rod of Moses and the tablets containing the Ten Commandments. The ark, made of acacia wood was then covered with a gold cover and God instructed that man should never again open it.

    The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:7 that the Ten Commandments is the ministry of death, because no matter how great the law is, it cannot make us righteous or holy. No amount of fines or years of imprisonment can ever prevent one from repeating the offence.

    And that is why Jesus came, not to enforce the law, but to bring grace. John 1:17 says that the Law was given to Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

    This does not mean the law is not valid. ‘Thou shall not steal” or any other commandment are still valid today.

    The difficulty in following the law or rules is because our fallen nature (thanks to Adam and Eve) doesn’t allow us to be lawful. But Christ came and established a New Covenant by His atonement on the Cross. Because of that work He did, we are no longer sinners, rather God sees us as righteous people through the lens of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Hebrews 8:10-12 says that:
    10 I will put My laws into their minds, And I will write them on their hearts. And I will be their God, And they shall be My people.
    11 And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, And everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ For all will know Me, From the least to the greatest of them.
    12 For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And I will remember their sins no more.”

    This is the New Covenant which enables us to keep the law, because it is now embedded in us through Christ. The law is no longer outside us that we should strive to comply with; it is now in us. Being a new covenant Christian is no longer about ‘having to’ keep the law; it’s about ‘wanting to’ keep the law.

    Jesus said that He didn’t come to abolish the law, but to fulfil it. He did it by embedding it in us. Through the Atonement on the cross, ALL our sins – past, present and future – have been forgiven and forgotten by God.

    Marcia, I know it’s difficult when things like this happen. But don’t fret over it. Rather, draw grace from the Father by thanking Him for what Jesus finished on the cross.

    The important thing here is not to worry about which organization a person is affiliated to. Rather, pray that they will grow deeper in the Lord and have greater revelations of Him. The relationship with God is more important than attachment to an organization.

    As for the Baptist church, be happy because they are very firmly grounded on the Word of God. Thank God your daughter and family did not choose a mosque instead.

    God bless you abundantly.

  6. Elena says:

    Baptists don’t have rules?

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