I have a friend, who, for various reasons is becoming disillusioned with the Catholic Church. Without going into details, she has had several encounters with her pastor over the last few years that have bit by bit shaken her faith and trust in “the Church”. I asked her recently if she is still attending Mass and she said yes, every week, but she is “more spiritual than Catholic these days”.
Any advice on what I can say to her? At one point I talked to her about switching parishes, but she does not want to do that.
You can pray for her, and trust that God will lead her spirit back to the faith whch will best glorify God. We cannot choose for her, and we cannot simply be careless. The Priest should be the one to follow back with those that are lost. Right?
Perhaps she is not lost, just a bit confused. Perhaps life has been rough on her.
She will find her path.
I agree with Sara753. The best that we can do for anyone, whatever their problem, is pray for them and trust God to have his hand on the person in question. I am sure that this young lady will find her way with our prayers.
By the way, how can you get more spiritual than to have the real presence of
Christ, body, soul, and divinity, present on the altar during Mass?
In addition to the recommendations already given here, perhaps you could suggest that your friend read books that elaborate on the Catholic faith and spirituality. Good books can kindle a renewed spirituality and enthusiasm for the Church.
I highly recommend St Francis de Sales “Introduction to the Devout Life”. I would also recommend books by authors like Dr. Scott Hahn and Fr. Benedict Groeschel that provide insights into the teachings of the Church. Reading these books can help your friend re-connect with the doctrines of the Church and the beauty of the sacraments. I often listen to audiobook versions of books by Catholic authors during my daily commute. It’s an ideal time to read/listen to books that help strengthen my faith, and I might not otherwise take the time to read these books if I didn’t have the option of listening to them.
Christmas is coming up. Perhaps you could purchase a CD version of a good book for your friend as a Christmas present. St Joseph Communications website has many titles to choose from, if you cannot locate an audiobook CD at your local Catholic bookstore.
Remind her that her faith is in Jesus. It is not in her pastor, her bishop, the pope, or any group of clerics. They are not the Church, though they are our shepherds whom God has placed in positions of authority over us. We certainly hope, pray, and expect that they are good and holy shepherds and are faithful to Him and to their vocations, but our faith is not in them. It is in Jesus. We laypeople are not the Church either. We all happen to be the ones who are members of the Church right now on Oct. 28, 2011. The Church is the Body of Christ. Her Divine head is Christ. Her Spirit is the Sanctifier, the Holy Spirit, who unifies us and guides us into all Truth, even if no one wants to hear it or follow it. The Church rests on the infallible and unshakable promises of Christ Himself and is founded on the Apostles and Prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. These things can never change, no matter what the members of the Body of Christ at some particular time and place do or don’t do. The behavior of Her members can be discouraging to see, but they do not affect the essential constitution and nature of the Church at all. It is all the more meritorious and pleasing to God to remain faithful to Him and His Church through prayer, reception of the Holy Sacraments, and striving to be holy even when we see our family members and many others fallen away, teaching erroneous things, or just behaving badly (or whatever she perceives her pastor doing). And not only that. It is all the more *necessary *that we do so during these times, for their salvation and conversion, if only they would allow themselves to be converted by the grace of God. She should pray for him. We could all become apostate (God forbid), but the Church would still be the Body of Christ - One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic; it would just be composed of a bunch of unholy people at that time. Actually an apostate separates himself from the Body of Christ, but I think you get my general meaning. I’ll pray for her, too.
Thanks dcana. We’ve had this talk several times…that the Church is both divine and human and while the divine side is holy, the human side fails us sometimes, even in our priests and bishops. She “knows” this, but she has become so disillusioned and was so hurt by her pastor that it’s hard to “accept”. Please pray for her…and her children and husband (who has the same mindset she does) who will also suffer in their spiritual life and love for the Church, I am sure, because of their mom and dad’s frustration.
Often, the reason we become disillusioned is because we have created an illusion of how we think things should be. Without intending to, we put our faith in men rather than God. Whether a person (even clergy) has disagreed with us, criticized us, or even hurt us, we let that pain come between ourselves and God. Sometimes, we simply become frustrated at a situation that we have no control over and we are left to suffer the consequences. I know because I’ve been there. Nonetheless, as difficult as it is, we must look past this to the Mass, to Calvary.
If there is abuse, then it should be reported to the Bishop and your friend should go to another parish until the situation is rectified.
The previously mentioned devotions are great suggestions and I would also recommend St. Louis de Montfort’s Consecration to Mary. If we give what we have to Mary, even our pain, she removes our selfish motives and then presents it to Jesus. Mary always takes us to Jesus.
Even now, we mention your friend in prayer. God Bless.