About My (Best?) Friend


#1

First, let me apologize for the length of this post. For anyone who makes it to the end, despite their own busy lives, I am grateful. This post concerns a friend of mine whom I have known for 9 years – we met at college orientation back in 2000 – and, at various stages, have been each other’s best friend. (I even wrote a story about our friendship several years ago.) We know one another rather intimately, though I’m beginning to realize that we don’t know each other at all.

Preface

Religion and philosophy are among the primary topics which he and I have discussed among the years, especially as I have progressed through experimenting with Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and finally landing at Catholicism, which is how he was raised by his regular Mass-attending parents. I shouldn’t judge his beliefs too harshly, since I will never fully know how he relates to the Creator, but I know that he engages in pre-marital sex and supports gay marriage in addition to other things – and I really doubt that he has been to confession in a long while since, as he explained to me last year, “I don’t really feel sorry for any of it.” He doesn’t know the faith very well at all, not even knowing that masturbation was a mortal sin; nor has he ever read the Gospels.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been the best example of a Catholic to him, either. As I always try to point to those here on CAF who may not know my history, I walked away from the Church for about 9 months so soon after being confirmed, and during that time I engaged in some seriously disoriented behavior. My friend witnessed alot of that behavior. :frowning:

He’s been away these past few months attending graduate school at West Virginia University. Needless to say, our contact over these past few months has been infrequent and brief. Not only does he not know how seriously I am *trying *to take the faith now, but I sort of think that, given my rather fickle history with commitment to religion, he would regard my current “commitment” as no better than all those past experiences which I’ve related so intimately to him.

Ashamedly, I find myself relieved that he’s away at university. Prior to his going away, I’ll admit that I was reluctant to sing the hymns or to act too piously during Mass with him sitting right beside me, frequently talking or pointing out observations during Mass, such as, “That guy behind us has a mohawk!” or “Vanessa looks really pregnant today” – and sit beside him I must (but more on this later). I was self-conscious, prideful, and disrespectful to Our Lord in order to maintain some “image.” Now that he has been away, my spirit has been able to be set free, to sing the hymns, to pray the prayers, to act and react with great bodily attention to what is happening. In short: I’ve changed, and praise be to God for that! So, when my friend came home for Christmas, he, of course, attended Mass, and I knew he would be attending Mass, and I felt conflicted. I tried to sit in a location where he wouldn’t notice me, so that I wouldn’t be invited to sit with him, but like clockwork, the moment I finished my prayers, he rallied right up beside me and invited me to sit with his family – and I, not wanting to seem uncharitable or unfriendly, took up his offer. I was fearful because I didn’t want his presence to hamper my worshipping the Lord, *and so I didn’t *-- I sang the hymns, I prayed the prayers, and I acted and reacted bodily to what was happening – but this didn’t stop him from talking during Mass: “Eveline’s husband’s hair is really stupid looking.” I just smiled and/or nodded. :shrug:

The issue

The point of all of this is: I don’t know what to do or if what I’m doing is right. I don’t know if by sitting with him, allowing him to talk to me, is being disrespectful to the Lord, or if maybe I’m doing the true charitable thing by sitting next to him and worshipping, showing him what is appropriate during Mass. In some respects, I cannot help but see him like a leper in my life, but it’s hard to administer to this particular leper when I’m well-aware that my own leprous past has proven scandalous enough times for his and my own good.

I *try *praying for him – but it’s so difficult to pray for him. I, sometimes, don’t feel like praying for him; rather, I’ve sort of consigned him as among the hopeless and the reprobate, which reflects my own sinful nature, I know, but it’s just so difficult to pray for him. And, in all honesty, I think it’s difficult to pray for him because, should he experience the much-needed conversion in his life, it’s very likely that he would excel beyond me in holiness, become the charismatic individual everyone looks to in the parish, etc. In short: I’m fearful, I’m resentful, and I’m jealous. I’m fearful, resentful and jealous because, in the past, it’s always been *him *who has gotten all the attention, *him *who everybody loves, *him *who has always pointed to me as *his *sidekick, and there’s a whole host of examples I could cite. I know I need to forgive him, and I thought that I had, especially now that he’s gone, now that he’s at university and residually out of my life, but I see that now that he’s returned, and due to this conflictedness which I’m experiencing, I haven’t forgiven him for anything.

If nothing else, I’m asking for your prayers. Pray for me that my heart of stone will be made into a heart of flesh, and that I will be satisfied with what the Lord makes of me. And pray for him. Pray for his conversion and his growth in holiness.

Thank you.


#2

I wouldn’t worry about it. I would continue to sit next to him, but continue to participate in Mass like you’re now used to. After a while, he’ll catch on that you’re no longer interested in talking during Mass and he’ll stay quiet.


#3

In St. Mary Faustina’s diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul she relates an experience that your words remind me of, when she goes to visit her family and so cannot pray and wants to apologize to Jesus for it. Instead he says to her,

#404 When I entered the chapel to say goodnight to the Lord before retiring and apologized for having talked so little to Him when I was at home, I heard a voice within my soul, I am very pleased that you had not been talking with Me, but were making My goodness known to souls and rousing them to love Me.

saint-faustina.com/Diary/DMIMS9.shtml

As St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel, if necessary use words” and I once read a story, have no idea unfortunately whether or not it is true, that one of the soldiers who crucified Jesus was healed of his blindness by Christ’s blood dripping out of his side. Sometimes it is the spiritual “lepers” hanging out so close to us who are the only ones that we can preach the Gospel to because they are the only ones who are truly close enough to us to appreciate and recognize the change the Gospel works in our lives over the long-term when they see it. :eek:

Anyways, some consolation on the life of a side-kick. St. Monica is not known for an incredible amount besides being holy and devout and praying for St. Augustine of Hippo, her son, and his father her whole life long. Yet, Santa Monica Pier in California is named after her. Neither is St. Bonaventure known for an incredible amount in my extremely limited knowledge other than imitating St. Francis of Assisi and various praises he composed of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, yet HE is, as of yet and things may change, one of the 33 Doctors of the Catholic Church. No-one even knew how holy St. Therese of Liseux was while she lived, they thought she was just an ordinary convent woman. Yet, it is now here who bears the title of one of the 3 female Doctors of the Church, called “the greatest saint of modern times” and was the one for whom Mother Teresa, originally named Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, named herself, which may be deep and profound since St. Therese of Liseux is the patron saint of missionaries who was too sickly to do more than pray for other missionaries and died at 24.

God’s ways are not our ways; yet it might not be wise to think of the treasure that we have the chance of receiving though we think we are too pitiful for it since it might distract us from doing all we can for the love of God. We must attempt not to become like the Five Virgins with the Oil Lamps who slumbered and slept (maybe spent time criticizing/worrying/etc.) instead of taking oil (uniting ourselves as perfectly as possible with the will of God). You are in my prayers! :slight_smile:

May the Holy Spirit through the Immaculate Heart of Mary grace us with the gifts that we most desperately need, particularly love, mercy, courage, discernment, wisdom, patience, and longsuffering!! May the LOVE and MERCY of the Sacred Heart of Jesus be glorified, adored, loved, respected, believed, trusted in, venerated, and known throughout creation, by all souls, in all time!! May the WONDERS of the Immaculate Heart of Mary be known, venerated, loved, believed, and respected by all souls, in all of time, in all places!! AMEN!! AMEN!! AMEN!!

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *

Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse.

For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *


#4

Maybe honesty would be the answer here. Tell him that you are at mass to participate in it not to gossip. If he can’t accept that then you will have to politely refuse to sit with him. That way you remain pleasing to the Lord and set a good example to him at the same time. There is plenty of time to talk after mass. Also, you need to continue to perservere in prayer for him. The devil doesn’t want him to change and might be whispering to you that your prayers are useless. God can do all things. Just look at Paul.

Also, maybe sitting next to him gives him the near occasion to start talking. If you weren’t around would he be gossiping with others? Just a thought.


#5

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