Advice needed & also prayers


#1

I am new here, but wanted to post this. It's a bit long, so bear with me. :)
My oldest kids are twins, a boy & a girl. They were born very premature & this resulted in my daughter being blind. At the age of 6, she started attending the blind school in our state. She stayed at school during the week. She went up on Sunday afternoon & came home Friday evening. This went on for her whole education. She graduated this year after 13 years at the school. This has caused her to be influenced by the people at school more than her family.
My problem is this..............
During the past 4 or 5 years she did a Bible study with her friends & a teacher after school on Wednesdays. It started out harmless enough. Out of the blue this past fall she told us she was questioning her faith. She was the only Catholic in the study at school. We right away got her godparents involved & started meeting with a priest to help answer her questions. I thought we were making progress, but it doesn't look that way.
She called a local church out of the blue & had someone pick her up one Sunday. She has joined this church & goes every week. She was actually going to move out of the house over this, but because of her blindness & no income she didn't really have a choice. We told her as long as she lives in our house she will go to mass. I believe it is a sin to miss mass & I am not going to change my beliefs to suite her. So, she goes to mass on Saturday evening & to this other church on Sunday.
This is causing a HUGE problem in our home. I have 6 other kids to set an example for. I do not like the fact that she is going to this other church. Should we tell her as long as she lives in our house she should not go to that church? She was baptized a few months ago. She got mad when I wasn't excited for her. I told her she had already been baptized. My biggest problem with her attending this other church is her rejection of the Eucharist. They have communion, but I told her that is not the Eucharist the way Jesus intended.
She is 19 & I know she is an adult & can make her own decisions. I also feel as long as she lives in our house she needs to follow our rules. I feel her soul is at stake. She has been lead to believe so many things that just aren't true. I haven't had a chance to help her see the truth as she jumped from the study at school into this church with no break in between for us to work on this.
So, do we keep trying? Do we throw up our hands & forget it? Any suggestions on what we can do? Praying is already covered. :D She is of the belief that all she needs is to have faith & be a good person. She just wants a personal relationship with Jesus. I told her you can't get more personal with Him than through the Eucharist. If it's not in the Bible it's not important enough to be useful, according to her.
Any help or advice would be great.


#2

First, Welcome to the C.A. Forms. I am sorry that you and your family are going through this and will include you, and your daughter in my prayers.

[quote="MrsWendyW, post:1, topic:206095"]
My problem is this..............
During the past 4 or 5 years she did a Bible study with her friends & a teacher after school on Wednesdays. It started out harmless enough. Out of the blue this past fall she told us she was questioning her faith. She was the only Catholic in the study at school. We right away got her godparents involved & started meeting with a priest to help answer her questions. I thought we were making progress, but it doesn't look that way.

[/quote]

As the father of 3 older boys, I know what you are going through. Almost all children go through the phase where they question their faith, their parent’s beliefs, and think that they have discovered some new and better way of doing things. Most often, these same children eventually see the wisdom in those things that they left behind and return. This may be what is happening in your daughter’s case.

[quote="MrsWendyW, post:1, topic:206095"]
She called a local church out of the blue & had someone pick her up one Sunday. She has joined this church & goes every week. She was actually going to move out of the house over this, but because of her blindness & no income she didn't really have a choice. We told her as long as she lives in our house she will go to mass.

[/quote]

:thumbsup: Completely acceptable. You and your husband did the right thing.

[quote="MrsWendyW, post:1, topic:206095"]
I believe it is a sin to miss mass & I am not going to change my beliefs to suite her. So, she goes to mass on Saturday evening & to this other church on Sunday.
This is causing a HUGE problem in our home. I have 6 other kids to set an example for. I do not like the fact that she is going to this other church. Should we tell her as long as she lives in our house she should not go to that church?

[/quote]

IMO, no, you should not try to force the issue as long as she IS meeting her obligation of attending mass on Sunday (or Saturday evening) and on Holy Days of Obligation. Her decision to attend a Protestant service on Sunday, is not sinful. Further, if you push this issue, she may feel that you have left her no sense on independence when it comes to making decisions for herself. If that happens, she very well may find a way in which to move out of your home and from there it could be worse than it is now because you and your husband won't be in her life on a daily basis. Telling her that she must attend mass is good, forbidding her from attending protestant services after she's made her decision on the matter tells her that you don't respect her right to decide matters for herself.

[quote="MrsWendyW, post:1, topic:206095"]
She was baptized a few months ago. She got mad when I wasn't excited for her. I told her she had already been baptized. My biggest problem with her attending this other church is her rejection of the Eucharist. They have communion, but I told her that is not the Eucharist the way Jesus intended.

[/quote]

:thumbsup: Nothing wrong with telling her the Truth.

[quote="MrsWendyW, post:1, topic:206095"]
She is 19 & I know she is an adult & can make her own decisions. I also feel as long as she lives in our house she needs to follow our rules. I feel her soul is at stake.

[/quote]

That may be, but as hard as it is for a parent "to let go and let God" when it comes to their children, I believe that it is imperative not to try to force the Church down her throat OR vilify the Protestant Church she is attending. Answer questions that come up truthfully, be charitable in the answers, defend the Church when it's called for, but trust that God won't let her stray too far for too long. Anything else may make things worse.

[quote="MrsWendyW, post:1, topic:206095"]
She has been lead to believe so many things that just aren't true. I haven't had a chance to help her see the truth as she jumped from the study at school into this church with no break in between for us to work on this.

[/quote]

It's not too late. Hang in there and try not to get discouraged. Speak with (not to) her when chances present themselves. Study up on Catholic apologetics to help explain and defend Church teachings against things that are untrue. These are a great source for doing this <Click Here> and can be found here at C.A.

[quote="MrsWendyW, post:1, topic:206095"]
So, do we keep trying? Do we throw up our hands & forget it? Any suggestions on what we can do? Praying is already covered. She is of the belief that all she needs is to have faith & be a good person. She just wants a personal relationship with Jesus. I told her you can't get more personal with Him than through the Eucharist. If it's not in the Bible it's not important enough to be useful, according to her.
Any help or advice would be great.

[/quote]

Again, I'd suggest a good Catholic apologist book(s). It/they can help you explain the Eucharist and the differences between what Catholics believe and most Protestants concerning the matter. Like, why if the Eucharist is only symbolic did Jesus lose so many disciples over it in John 6:51-66 (It's in the Bible so she should view it as being "important enough"). It was more than symbolic.

Take care and God bless you and your family.


#3

I think the previous poster’s advice was good. I too think it is very important that you respect her as an adult and not vilify her. She obviously had a unique set of circumstances which meant she was away from the family for a substantial amount of time through no one’s fault. To then be anxious about her affect on the rest of your children is laying quite a burden of guilt at her door when she does not have independent means to live separately if she wanted to.

This is causing you a great deal of anxiety and I think the first thing would be to give that to God and ask him to help you trust him and have hope for now and the future. Although books might be helpful she has possibly found her faith come alive in a context of intense fellowship with others. As you mentioned she is looking for a personal relationship with Jesus. Maybe a better approach as she is young and maturing in her faith is to find some Catholic fellowship groups for young people she could join, also look around for a spirit-filled spiritual director for her. I think it is typical for young people to examine their faith at this age. By the grace of God she has not rejected her Christian faith but it seems she is searching for a more experiential “hands-on” Christian life.

I think it’s important to listen to her and discover what the attractions are for her in the Protestant church. I don’t think it helps to say “your experience is not real” or “you must accept these dogma’s” when she is not yet there in her faith life. Approach her where she is and show her that what she is looking for does exist in the Catholic church. Have you a parish which has LifeTeen anywhere in your diocese? lifeteen.com/ if you look on the website under '‘Lifeteen Community`’ you can then click on 'Find Lifeteen near me". Our parish (which is very orthodox) has a LifeTeen ministry and it is a very positive ministry helping teens enter into a deeper faith life and fellowship with each other and ministering adults (who are usually married couples, youth ministers and others with a servant heart for teens). Our parish priest is very supportive of the LifeTeen program. If you found a ministry if your area you could approach the leadership team and ask them for advice in your current situation - I’m sure it won’t be new to them.

You obviously love your daughter very much and maybe this is a challenge sent by God to help you all grow in faith and learn to love each other in new ways as she enters adulthood. For example, maybe you could all do a bible study at home so you could share your faith life in a new way.

God bless you and all your family. I will keep you in my prayers.

(If there’s any way you can swing it “Steubie-West” is this weekend at the University of Arizona, Tucson AZ July 23-25 catholicyouthministry.com/experience/steubenville-west )


#4

Here is a good apologetics site www.biblechristiansociety.com/home.php it has great free mp3s maybe your daughter might listen to them also. God bless


#5

I have been thinking and praying about this situation and what strikes me is that her spirituality may be one of the only areas where your daughter experiences autonomy. It is normal and healthy for teens to take risks and stretch themselves towards independence as an adult. If you daughter is not free to strike out on her own in other ways such as leaving home, driving or whatever the case may be perhaps that is being expressed through her spirituality. I doubt this is done to hurt you or your family but more a quest to understand herself and to carve out her own path. The fact that she took the initiative to call a church and find a ride was interesting. She is not passive that's for sure.

What struck me on re-reading your post was that twice you mention she did things "out of the blue". I doubt very much that they were truly impetuous decisions made instantly. Perhaps there are aspects of her inner life that she is not sharing and is looking for like-minded souls to share with. Sometimes as parents we have to relax and let our children find new role models. Hopefully she can find those inspiring people within the Catholic church.

What is your daughter doing with herself now she has finished high school? Does she plan to go to college or have any other ambitions she is hoping to fulfill?


#6

What is your daughter doing with herself now she has finished high school? Does she plan to go to college or have any other ambitions she is hoping to fulfill?

She is actually at another school right now that is working on more independent living skills. After that she plans to go into massage therapy.

I have e-mailed the youth minister of this church. He suggested doing a Bible study with her. BUT, she will not even do that. If I mention anything about church she tells me she doesn't want to hear it & goes up to her room. He doesn't feel she is misguided though. Of course I want to tell him that he is also, but I am only concerned with my daughter at this time. ;)

She told me that she did not want to attend mass, but we told her that would go against everything we believe & we are not going to change our beliefs to suite her. She will attend mass if she lives in this house. If I am wrong in requiring that, then I guess I will deal with it at my judgement.


#7

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