I am having a conversation with an aunt of mine, and I need some pointers on how to discuss some things with her. Her backround is she was raised a Catholic, and married a Jewish man, but remained a practicing Catholic for some time, and then fell away. She could be described as a new age type of person, believes in God, but does not accept God as God the Father, more like a genderless God if you will. She really doesn’t believe in the Scriptures, the Church, possibly not even in Jesus, doesn’t attend any church, and disregards most of Catholic history and the Fathers. She kinda has like her own faith, but she does wonderful works with a missionary in Africa. I’d like to bring her back home, but where do I start. Thanks…
It starts with you.
Do the basic catholic things really, really well. Example: When I eat at the hospital cafeteria, I always say my prayers before any meal. When I’m done with the prayer I make the sign of the cross on myself…not the indistinguishable little circle thing that some catholics do to disguise what they are doing.
I pray the Rosary everyday. I go to the hospital chapel which, most of the time is empty. But, from time to time one or two people will flow thru and on rare occasion someone will ask about the Rosary.
However, it’s not so much the ones that will openly ask about my obvious, catholic devotions…but the ones that see and don’t ask. Those I am sure have pondered in their hearts and questioned how their life of prayer is oredered. Only the Lord knows about the larger number, I only know the ones that approach me.
I find that my preaching and example are simple, obvious and powerful. And this latter because Jesus is powerful.
Sometimes I even use words.
We always go to God about man before going to man about God. (Or as in this case, woman. LOL)
Here’s a good approach, in addition to what Mangy Dog said.
Pray, and get others to pray with you, for her soul.
Offer sacrifice, penance, etc., for the conversion of her soul. Fasting is excellent. Get others involved, too.
Offer Mass and Communion whenver you go.
When I was younger, we had a group at our parish for just such purposes. There was a “recall roster” of about 50 people. Whenever such a spiritual need came up, someone initiated the recall roster. One of the members was a school bus driver who owned his bus. He would drive around and pick up those who couldn’t or didn’t feel like driving. Everyone would meet in the Church at about 2am and do a holy hour for the particular cause requested. Most did the holy hour on their knees on the hard marble floor. Many spiritual “miracles” came from this practice. Healings, conversions, etc. Eventually it broke up because some bright soul suggested that instead of 2am, we do it at a more convenient time like 8pm. We loss the sacrificial edge, as it were, in my opinion.
But that notwithstanding, I formed a spiritual group with four other friends. We would pray for someone like your aunt, do penance, etc., and select a day and time for one of us to approach that person. On that day, the rest of the group would be kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament while the selected person went to talk with the object of our prayers, etc. It was very successful. Not all the time, but more often than you would think.
I recall the late Bishop Fulton Sheen talking about this once. He said he was in the cathedral, hearing confessions late one Saturday night. A woman came in and said, “I don’t want to go to Confession, I just want to kill a little time.” He asked, “Oh, and how much time would you like to kill?” She said, “Oh, about five minutes.” He asked, “Who are you trying to fool?” She said, “My mother.” He asked, “Are you afraid?” She said, “Yes!” So, he asked, “If you will allow me to move this little curtain aside and turne the light on and see you, I might be able to make your confession for you.” She said, “Are you some kind of wise guy or something?” He said, “No, but if you will allow me to look at you, I may be able to help.” So, she said, “Yes.” He looked at her and said, “You are a prostitute.” She said, “Yes! But that’s not all!” So, he pleaded with her for fifteen minutes to tell him the rest, but she refused and ended up leaving. So, he said every penitent that came to him after that, he assigned as penance, the recitation of the Rosary for the conversion of a great sinner. They all said they would except one crotchety old woman who refused, saying, “Why should I have that big a penance? I didn’t do anything that bad!” So, he finished hearing confessions and went and knelt before the Blessed Sacrament. 9:00, 10:00, 11:00… About midnight, he heard the door to the cathedral open and thought maybe the police were checking to see why the lights were still on in the cathedral, or maybe one of the other priests checking on him. It wasn’t. It was the young girl, in tears. She came back to finish her confession. He said the price had been paid for her conversion. He said some souls are cheap, some souls are expensive. St. Monica prayed for St. Augustine for 30 years before he converted back to Christ!
We never know. We just work the Lord’s soul garden. Plowing, planting, weeding, watering, etc. It is for Him to say when the harvest takes place. We may never see it on this side of heaven. We’re just to do our jobs the best we can, and help Him build His kingdom!