Help...my children have left the Church...

My mother asked me to post this question on her behalf. Thanks

Please help me. I am the mother of six children, grown children.My three oldest boys have left the Catholic church and my heart is broken. My oldest boy left when he married a methodist girl and now they go to her church. My third boy left when he got a divorce and is now living with a woman. It is my second son that disturbes me the most. He was in the seminary for 4 years and came out. He married a Catholic girl and all was fine until he met and became friends with some fundamentalests. And now he is “born again”. He actually was baptised in a river. He hates the Catholics and denounced the Blessed Mother that he had once dedicated his life to among other things. His hate for our faith is so hurtful, I pray everyday for him and my other boys. I feel responsible for their leaving the church and only God knows if it is my fault. But I live in fear that they will all die without being in the state of grace. My questions are these:
How can a mother be happy in heaven if her children are not there?
What can I do, besides praying, to bring them back to the church?
Is the son who denounced the church worse off because of his knowledge and his hatred? Is he in the grips of Satan?

Certainly one of the most difficult trials for a Catholic mother is when her children abandon the faith. You are not responsible for their leaving the Church. Do not blame yourself. Each of your children has free will. But, no matter what happened to cause your children to fall away, always keep in mind the efficacy of God’s grace. Continue to pray for your children’s repentance and return to the sacraments. Do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Discouragement is one of Satan’s greatest weapons. When discouragement comes, simply say “Jesus I trust in you”. This simple prayer will dispel all discouragement. I use it all the time! (2 Samuel 22:29)

The devil strains every nerve to secure the souls which belong to Christ. We should not grudge our toil in wresting them from Satan, and giving them back to God” –St. Sebastian

Above all, never forget that God loves your children even more than you do. He died for them. Although we do not know precisely how God will deal with your children, we do know that God doesn’t want anyone to perish, but that all should come to repentance (1 Peter 3:9). We also know that he is a merciful and just God (Psalm 136).

Also, keep in mind that your children’s conversion is not dependent upon you. The fact is God doesn’t need you or me to convert a heart. We’re his instruments, but he does the saving (1 Cor. 3:5-7). I’m sure you have borne your testimony to the truth lovingly. Beyond that, what can you do except to keep praying for your family and keep loving them in the Lord? Surely the fact of your unfailing love will communicate itself to them eventually, and then perhaps their hearts will begin to open to the working go God’s Holy Spirit and his Truth. As you turn to him for guidance, and trust him for direction he will give you the graces necessary to persevere.

Continue to grow in your understanding of the Church’s teachings so you can witness more effectively. Get a copy of the Catechism. It’s the best single reference book for communicating the faith and correcting errors. Pray for opportunities to share the faith with your children. God will open the doors!

Is your son who denounced the church worse off because of his knowledge and his hatred? Your son could be innocently ignorant of the truth of the Catholic faith. This would be the case for a person who was raised Catholic but was never truly catechized and who had seen no evidence or insufficient evidence for the Catholic faith. Such a person could be innocently ignorant. This is a real possibility in this age of inadequate catechesis, in which some people are never taught that the solemn teachings of the Church are infallible.

Below are a few verses I’ve committed to memory for those times when I needed immediate spiritual help….

When I’m anxious about things I cannot change:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6

When impatience and frustration increases:
“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent of praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

When I don’t know what to do, or what to say:
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you”. Philippians 4:9

Lastly, you asked how a mother can be happy in heaven if her children are not there.

There is no sorrow I heaven. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” (Heaven: secondexodus.com/html/catholicdefinitions/heaven.htm).

God bless you!

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