Non-Catholic family members

My sister asked me this morning why I didn’t go to Mass with her. A question mark appeared in my head and I told her there is Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday, but that is in the evening. It turns out she went to Morning Prayer, which is not Mass obviously. She is a non-practicing Catholic and doesn’t seem to “get it” with the Catholic faith. She thinks that just believing in “a” god/God is sufficient enough for her and that she doesn’t need to attend Mass (she never does). She doesn’t seem to understand or contemplate what the Mass is, especially the Eucharist.

What has happened to detach such individuals from really understanding the meaning of Mass and Catholicism? Or rather, what prevents someone like her from really looking into the meaning of why we go to Mass? She was Confirmed and everything…I notice many teenagers now have really no interest in Confirmation. I was one of those people back when I was Confirmed in high school. Bad catechesis? Lack of interest? I know the parents need to be involved to a high degree and if they’re not practicing, you can be rest assured that the kids/teenagers will not be either. My mom however, was highly involved in our Confirmation classes (she taught some of them).

My sister has no interest in discussing Catholicism with her. I guess it’s aggravating for me, because I lack the patience to deal with non-Catholic family members; my father especially hates the Catholic faith. It’s one thing to deal with strangers, but it’s so much harder dealing with family members. My sister and I are just 360 degrees away from each other when it comes to Catholicism. I was once a staunch individual like her and now that I’m “re-converted,” I can no longer understand why I chose to be that way.

I have found that it can be easier to share my faith when I share the Rosaries I make. I would hope the Rosaries I make are “planting seeds,” but the one I made for my father just got thrown onto his dresser and now sits there, wasting away. It really does hurt me inside, for whatever reason. Other than that, I have no other idea how to share my Catholic faith.

Obviously I’m not the only one who has encountered these problems?

God bless you.

What I can offer you is something from my own experience. Try to do all you can to feel sympathy for your family members instead of irritation. Each time you are moved to feeling aggravated, remind yourself that they have not been blessed by God’s abundant grace and mercy as much as you have, and they are in much need of it. This should help soften your heart, I know that it did for me.

Try too and open your ears with your family instead of your mouth. People are in great need of others that will listen to them, far more than someone who will lecture them. If you want to know more about your sister’s faith life, simply ask her. You don’t have to ask her about Catholicism, but ask her in a nice way about the prayer service that she attended. Ask her what it was like, what they did and what prayers were said. This way you can gain a lot of insight into what she believes and what your sister is thinking. After you have done a great deal of listening to your sister and have a better handle on what she thinks, then you will have a better chance of discussing the Catholic faith with her, but you have to know where she “is at” first and show that you respect her first. If you establish this kind of relationship with others, people will actually SEEK YOU OUT! People will enjoy talking to you, you will have a reputation as a man who listens and respects others. Really, how often does someone really listen to others share their faith and not lecture, they are rare people indeed. After you have established that you are a kind listener, only then can you occasionally plant little seeds about the Catholic faith, and then they might take root!

Remember too that it is the Holy Spirits job to evangelize, not yours. You and I are merely His instruments. Always be open to His will, pray a lot and don’t be discouraged. You may not see the fruits of all that you do, think of what the Apostles saw. Most of them probably felt like failures, their lives ending miserably, yet they were not failures were they! We are not called to be successful or to see our successes necessarily we are called to be faithful. Hope this helps some, I know what you are going through is very painful, God bless you.

i think it’s also important to remember that just because parents are devout and try tol bring their kids up in the faith the best they can, it’s not necessarily their fault if the kids stray later. Jesus said it would happen; reminds me of the story of the prodigal son. just be kind, talk to them, invite them to events that may not be so strictly solemn and religious and maybe it’ll start from there

I have three siblings. We were all cradle Catholics, but we all fell away as adults. I eventually found my way home, and I hope that my siblings will join me someday, but all I can do now is pray for them. They would not welcome any sort of dialogue about the Church; one has become very anti-Catholic. So, I know how you feel.

Next time, don’t worry that it isn’t mass. You can do that later and fulfill your obligation. Just tell her you’d love to go to the prayer service with her. (Maybe invite her to go next time.) She just might be more ready for faith than you think. Perhaps it was her way of reaching out?

All you can do is be loving, prayerful and ready for that hoped-for moment when one of them asks you a question or seems curious. Don’t risk the relationship. For them you are “the Church”. Try to live as Christ’s example of Catholicism to them in every moment.

Don’t diminish your gift of the rosary to your father. He could have thrown it away instead. Its very presence means something. Every time he sees it, every time he moves it, he is exposed to a little opportunity from the Blessed Mother. When he is ready, she will guide him.

Never underestimate the power of little things! Even mustard seeds create great trees!

Tous Logous said** : "My sister asked me this morning why I didn’t go to Mass with her … It turns out she went to Morning Prayer, which is not Mass obviously. "**

Morning Prayer is what all Religious say every day.
This is a Powerful and humbling Ritual of the Catholic Church.
The Prayers, the Readings, and the Songs are packaged together, to Lift the Soul.

I pray the Morning Prayer at 2 different Churches.
One is a local Church, and the Morning Prayer is performed on Fridays, after Mass.
And the other is a Monastery, where (twice a week) I pray the Morning Prayer, and afterwards is the Mass service.

I am surprised that you flatly Refuse to go with your Sister to a Catholic Prayer Service.
Most of the people there are the Devout Believers, and it feels like that, during the Service.
If you want your Sister someday to go to a Mass with you, it would improve your Chances to succeed if you accompanied her to a Morning Prayer service.
In fact, it may increase your Faith, being surrounded by deeply Spiritual people.

And Tous said :** “My sister has no interest in [me] discussing Catholicism with her.
I guess it’s aggravating for me, because I lack the patience to deal with non-Catholic family members.”**

Yeah, just like Dirty Harry said : “A man has got to know his limitations.”
So, for you, discussing the Catholic Faith with a person is not the way that you can do it.

And Tous said : "I was once a staunch individual like her, and now that I’m “re-converted,” I can no longer understand why I chose to be that way."

And, obviously you can’t cut your Sister some slack now that she feels like you did for many Years.
How did your Sister treat you, when YOU were so Stupid as to not be a Devout Believer?
If she treated you well, then why do you refuse to have Compassion for her**?**
In fact, even if she taunted you for doing it … that is STILL no reason for you to have no Compassion for your Sister’s lack of the amount of Faith you think that she needs to have.

And Tous said** : “I have found that * share my faith when I share the Rosaries I make.
I would hope the Rosaries I make are “planting seeds,”
but the one I made for my father just got thrown onto his dresser, and now sits there, wasting away.
It really does hurt me inside, for whatever reason.
Other than that, I have no other idea how to share my Catholic faith.”*

WOW ! Just because your Father chooses to NOT recite the Rosary, you are upset.
I imagine that several other people who you gave Rosary Beads to, have likewise not used it.
And, you claim that you can’t think of any other way to share to your Faith than handing a person a Rosary, and Demanding (in your mind) that they use it.

I recommend that you stop making sets of Rosary Beads.
Then, get a book about how to share your Catholic Faith with other people.**

Tous responds to my Post :
1) "I know what Morning Prayer is because I have prayed it myself.
My sister never actually told me that she was going to Morning Prayer, which is why she confused me when she asked me."

OK, but why won’t you go to a Morning Prayer service any more?
This is especially so, if your Sister asks you to go with her to it.
(Obviously, you knew that your Sister was asking you to go to Morning Prayer, because you clearly stated that she never attends a Mass service.)

2) "Also, calling me stupid is not a very “Catholic” thing to do, is it?
If you will re-read my Post, I didn’t call you Stupid.
I was simply relating to the period of Time when you were acting like your Sister is now.

It was included to attempt to coax some Compassion for your Sister, but instead, you turn it around into an Attack against me.
This may be ONE reason that you have no success in Converting others … you Pretend that it is ALL ABOUT you (and not about THEM).
I don’t know what it is, just offering up a thought.

3) "And no, I will not stop making Rosaries. I don’t really “demand” people to use their Rosaries."
I didn’t say that you demand that people use them (just that the result is the same , in your mind, as if you had demanded them to).
But, instead, that you BLAME your Father (somehow) for not reciting the Rosary on the Rosary that you gave him.
That is a Control Issue … you expect a person to behave in a Certain Manner, and you are Upset when that person does not behave in the way you want them to.

So, if you don’t want to feel rejected if a person refuses to use your Rosary, then find a way to get over it (e.g., by not setting yourself up for a loss).
And, I repeat my Advice to you :** “Then, got a book about how to share your Catholic Faith.”**

You are absolutely correct. The good points made by the poster were dispensed with vinegar rather than honey. Another approach would have been kinder and more persuasive.

And no, I will not stop making Rosaries. I don’t really “demand” people to use their Rosaries, but we obviously want people to pray the Rosary if we give them one. If not, perhaps to give it to someone else who might.

Certainly don’t stop making them! When our family members become part of the picture, we act/think quite differently than we would in other circumstances. You love your dad and you want him to approve of your choices. That’s understandable. Just remind yourself that if a gift comes from your heart, it is a blessing even if the recipient refuses or misuses it. It is their right to do so. It does not reflect on you or the gift. Make the gifting the point rather than the gift.

:slight_smile:

chefmomster2 said : "The good points made by the poster were dispensed with vinegar rather than honey.
Another approach would have been …more persuasive."

Gee, chefmomster, do you REALLY believe that?
Exactly WHAT approach are you referring to, that would have persuaded her?

Do you believe that if I had sugared-up my Post, that the OP would either :

  1. Actually answer even ONE of the Questions that she was asked?
  2. That the next time her Sister asks her to go to Morning Prayer, that she would say YES?
  3. Realize that she was Mean to her Sister, by pointing out to her Sister that a Morning Prayer is NOT a Mass (and then refuse to go)?
  4. That she would STOP condemning her Sister for acting just like she did a few years ago.
  5. Stop resenting her Father, because he won’t “use” her Rosary? . . . or,
  6. ANY of other things she does, which are less-than-Kind?

I think you are putting too much Pressure on anyone who would offer this OP advice.
Personally, I do not Spell-check every Behavior Suggestion that someone gives to me.
Instead, I open my Heart, and Contemplate the “gist” of their advice.

I think that if someone “requires” that things be presented in a certain way … OR ELSE I will ignore them …
That this person is “Standing on Formalities” … or is very Spiteful and Contrary.

OP, I sympathize with you.
It’s frustrating when a person loves their faith, and people who raised in the faith don’t take it seriously, or don’t seem to be very engaged.
But we can’t know what God has in store for them…right up until the moment of death, God is prepared to show us mercy if we truly repent. Pray for a softening of their hearts.
Try to be as gentle and loving as you can. This is what brings people back to the faith. Kindness and love always prevails.
This is what Jesus would do.
Continue to make your rosaries. Our Lady will touch their hearts one day, and they will be glad that you thought enough of them to gift them with one.
Peace.

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