Please help me find the right words


My mother in law, a faithful Catholic, has challenged the brood of us to give a gift to Jesus this year in celebration of His birthday. For my gift I have decided to give a little talk to the family about the importance of the Church, and the importance of Jesus’ life and death (a little “spreading the good word”). Before I continue, a little background: my brother in law is Catholic by name but has fallen away, and has raised his children very liberally. They only attend mass when my MIL requests them to (namely, the holy days of obligation) but the problem is they don’t have Jesus in their hearts. When attending mass, it’s just ‘going through the motions’, if you will. BIL is newly divorced, and has custody of his children, ages 19, 15 and 10. The kids are troubled, especially the older 2 which are girls.

A few days ago, we were trying to decide which Christmas mass service we would attend together as a family. BIL chimes in “the girls are going to their mothers on Christmas, so they won’t be going to mass.” This broke my MIL’s heart because he was ready to dismiss the importance of the mass for his children without a second thought. There are quite a few masses held on Christmas Eve, so we suggested we go to one that night, with he and his girls, and he agreed. But had we not suggested it, he wouldn’t have gone and not cared in the slightest.

So as a gift to MIL as well as to Jesus, I was hoping to have the right words to help him and his children understand Gods love, understand the importance of worship, the dangers of not, etc without sounding “preachy”… know what I mean? I don’t want to turn them off or make anyone defensive. So I need your help! Any suggestions on what I can say that will have any impact on them? Please and thank you!


Hi Peacefulwishes :)

that's a good idea. I would suggest, try to focus on talking about what is beautiful about our faith, rather than about the negatives because that could make them feel judged and not accept what you are saying. I had this happen to me once. Also what really works sometimes is just sharing your own story and talking about what your faith means to you... it's pretty safe cause no one can argue with a testimony, yet you are also showing your family the importance of the faith :) more sharing, less preaching, tends to work as well. It's hard to find a balance. I often say things I didn't mean to say, etc... its good to have your talk planned out.

God bless!


I would agree with Monica - please don’t target your BIL and his kids, because it sounds like that is what you want to do, out of caring and love of course, but it may make him defensive and make the kids uncomfortable. Sharing your personal story, and how you get so much out of going to Mass, would be fine, and it doesn’t have to be a long story. You know how they say, “Actions speak louder than words.” Always be the best Catholic you can be to your nieces and nephew, show them the love of Christ whenever and however you can, and use words when you must!


I may be way off base, but what about framing what you plan to say in terms of how we ARE a gift to Jesus, in the ordinary way we live our lives? Maybe you shine a light on those times when others were Christ to you this year, and maybe you tell how hope to be HIs hands and feet in this world in the days to come. . .

And maybe by illuminating the ordinary holiness of life, you can be this for BIL and his family and give them something to see/think about in that non-preachy way?

Just a thought.

Merry Christmas:o


St. Dominic preached only about the rosary and converted thousands.

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