My friend, who is a lapsed catholic, claims he doesnt believe in the church’s teaching in regard to sex before marriage and contraception. He feels that he would be a hypocrite if he started to go to Mass again and still engage in such behavior… How do I evangelize such an individual?
I would say to come back any way. I am sure he/ she will grow in the church more than out.
Nobody is able to live according to the Church teachings. We are all sinners. We have all fallen short, except for Mary and Jesus.
We all partake regularly in the Sacrament of Confession, which forgives all our sins, and we partake regularly in reception of the Eucharist, which forgives venial sins and preserves us from future serious sin. We avail ourselves of holy water and other sacramentals which remit venial sin. We gain indulgences which remove temporal punishment for the consequences of sin. The Church is a hospital for sinners, not just a museum of saints.
Your friend is afraid of sinning. That’s natural and normal. But he shouldn’t despair of God’s infinite mercy and grace. As Catholics we believe in Him, we trust in Him and His sacraments.
Well, if he has a guilty conscience about it, then it sounds like deep down he knows he is sinning. Also, isn’t it more of a sin to devote no time to worship God at all because of failure in one area of one’s faith. Isn’t it better to go and give God praise, as well as pray for guidance in areas of teaching that are difficult for us to understand/put into practice?
Nothing is impossible with God, He can change us with his grace!
An honest man with standards who knows he falls.
Sound like an obvious candidate to come back to the Church!
When I returned to the church I was riddled with mortal sin.
Many of them were instantly removed from my thought of repeating them with confession
Others were slowly removed with praying the rosary
The catholic church is like a hospital for people with need of spirtual healing many will never even enter the hospital
I have so much more joy in my life since coming home to the church
I still do tons of sports like skiing and surfing but life has such a fuller meaning
Your friend may not be sure that he can live the way God wishes him to live but we all wonder that at times. Reckon even the Apostles wondered the same. It’s called doubt.
All God asks, however, is that he at least try. That’s what i was taught.
Your friend has placed himself in excellent company: Saint Augustine, Saint Francis, Saint Ignatius-and then wasn’t it Saint Peter who denied Our Lord three times?
Considering the peer group, it looks like he has tons of potential and a wonderful homecoming to anticipate.
The Rembrandt in the link below seems to sum it up so beautifully:
May God bless and keep him. Amen.
I would ask him questions about times in his life that God has really come through for him. Try to get him reconnected with the love he has for God and God for him. Love is the only thing can motivate change.
Suggest “Naked without Shame” the theology on the body. This helped me soooooooooooo much.
Try reminding your friend that she is not alone in the struggle…that it is commendable that she does not want to appear hypocrite before God, but that it would be much more commendable to repent.
The Church is not God: She is not making up those teachings and imposing them on us. We are not free to pick the ones we like and reject the ones that don’t feel good. Christ did not like being nailed on the Cross for our salvation… Those teachings he does not believe into, they are commandments from God. They are written all over the Scriptures. Christ even said that a lustful look is enough to deserve us the name of adulterous. They are also written all over our hearts, for we know - regardless of our religion - that some things are just wrong.
Since he is Catholic, try reminding Him that nobody can do God’s will perfectly - we are not perfect, but sinners - and that Christ instituted Reconciliation for us just because He knew that on our path - like the Way of the Cross - we would be constantly falling under the burden of the cross - that cross which is not something we chose, but something placed on us.
Also remind Him that God and the Church are by his side, ready to help him in his struggle, and that priests, God’s ministers down here, will gladly help him understand the teachings of Holy Mother Church if only he tries to ask and find out.
But the choice is totally his choice. Remind him of the words of Christ:
“Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
John 6 is a reading that perhaps will be very edifying in urging your friend to come back into the Church:
Many therefore of his disciples, hearing it, said: This saying is hard, and who can hear it?
But Jesus, knowing in himself, that his disciples murmured at this, said to them: Doth this scandalize you? …]
It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I have spoken to you, are spirit and life. …]
After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him.
Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away?
And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
And we have believed and have known, that thou art the Christ, the Son of God.
Give him the Green Scapular, after being blessed, and have him put it in his wallet.
Then explain to him that it was Mary who asked Jesus to work his first miracle and she has been performing them for us every since. Just tell him that she will find a way. Tell him to keep it on him at all times and say every day, “Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.” And here are the things that go with those who keep the scapular on them and say that prayer everyday.
Conversion of those who do not have the faith
Reconciliation to the Church for those who have lost/strayed from the faith
Assurance of a happy death
Strengthening of the faith for those already in the Church
Protection from Satan for those who wear or promote the scapular
It is best that you also say the prayer for them everyday.
Mary said that if you have faith in her to do these things, then it will happen.
Would she not keep her word? And here are her very words:
“The greatest graces come from using the scapular but these graces come
in direct proportion to the degree of confidence in me which the user has.”
But she didn’t say when. So keep praying every day the prayer:
“Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.”
Once for yourself, and once for him.
Green scapulars do not have to be worn. You can keep it in your wallet.
Get a green scapular free by googling “green scapular”.
My father, a fallen-away Catholic, passed away several years ago. When he first became ill and was hospitalized, one of the Vincentian priest pinned a Green Scapular to his pillow. I know my mother was especially worried about his salvation, as he had not awakened following emergency surgery. He did awaken many days later, and that same Vincentian asked if he wished to receive the sacraments. He was on a ventilator, so he could not speak, but he could indicate “yes” or “no”, so the priest simply asked if he was sorry for any and all sins he committed, then he was given Extreme Unction. This was 2 years to the day of my auto accident, August 3rd. He died 2 days later, on the Feast of Our Lady of the Snows on August 5th. There is a promise attached to the Green Scapular that Our Lady will obtain the conversion of those who have fallen away from the True Faith. I’m convinced she did so with my father, the day of his death was clearly Providential.
=blaskoman;9555224]My friend, who is a lapsed catholic, claims he doesnt believe in the church’s teaching in regard to sex before marriage and contraception. He feels that he would be a hypocrite if he started to go to Mass again and still engage in such behavior… How do I evangelize such an individual?
HONESTY AND CANDOR SEEM THE BEST ROUTE:
INFORM HIM “HEAVEN AND HELL” ARE REAL AND ETERNAL.
WE; NOT GOD CHOOSE THEM
HE [SHE?] HAS TO THIS POINT SELETED AND OPPTED FOR HELL.
ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES
SINS WILL BE JUDGED BY GOD AS SINS!
Frightening him/her with hell will most probably not work in the desired direction and informing someone about heaven does nothing to express the infinite desirability of living a chaste life.
You are in a similar position here as St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, who prayed for decades to bring about the conversion of her son. One of the most important reasons for young St. Augustine not to convert to Christianity was sexual impurity, as you have probably read in his Confessions (you may recommend the book to your friend if you think it won’t bore him/her too much).
However I would like to remind you that “Keeping God’s law in particular situations can be difficult, extremely difficult, but it is never impossible.” (Veritatis Splendor, 102)
“It would be a very serious error to conclude… that the Church’s teaching is essentially only an “ideal” which must then be adapted, proportioned, graduated to the so-called concrete possibilities of man, according to a “balancing of the goods in question”.” (Ibid, 103)