I have a similar situation with my mother, with one big difference - the impetus for her “falling away” was the granting of an annulment of my parents’ marriage against her will. :eek:
There is a great deal that is unfortunate about this situation. My mother is obviously responsible for her own decision to leave the Church, but I often wonder at how much of that responsibility is shared by my father (who sought the annulment) and the tribunal that granted it. Now my mother refuses to recognize any organized religion, though she still believes in God. She’s one of the “I can find God on a mountaintop” crowd. My wife and I have invited her to Mass when we go visit, but she always declines. To my knowledge, the only times she’s been inside a Catholic Church in the last couple of decades were for my brother’s wedding and my son’s Baptism.
Another side effect of this is that my sister, being the youngest of us when my parents divorced (we stayed with our mom), grew up without any real education in the faith (she was Baptized, but that’s about it) and is now at best an agnostic/possible atheist who also rejects organized religion. She says it’s “impossible” for her to have faith and follow a religion. What is truly sad is that she believes she was able to make an informed decision not to be religious when in reality she knows very little about Catholicism and has rejected any offering to learn. She told my wife that she didn’t think that learning more about the “mythology” of our religion would help her believe.
My wife and I have often pondered how we can better evangelize my mother and sister both. I’ve tried so far to teach by showing, by having a good Catholic household, but I often get the feeling (with my sister in particular) that it’s only “okay” for me to be Catholic if I’m a good little boy who goes to his corner to pray and doesn’t talk about his faith. I find myself on a bit of a tightrope because on the one hand I want to be vocal about my faith and beliefs, but on the other hand I don’t want to be dismissed as a “religious wingnut” and lose any chance of evangelizing them. My wife and I pray for them every day.
Anybody have any helpful tips on evangelizing those “difficult” people in their lives?