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.
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.