Something occurred today at work that I felt compelled to share with others because it offers a great example at the powers of prayer and simple conversation. One of my co-workers (We can call him Bob) is a fallen away Catholic who has, over the last several months, become concerned about his faith and life direction. His thoughts are preoccupied with salvation and his eternal destination, and he is possessed of a fear of going to Hell for the various sins he has committed. Of these I know little because I never asked, nor wanted to know.
He had been in conversation with several other co-workers. One of them being a pastor at a local church who is more than a little anti-Catholic who has told Bob that he will go to Hell unless he accepts Jesus as his personal savior becomes baptized as a symbol of his faith and renounces his Catholic upbringing. Needless to say that caused Bob even more distress.
For some reason Bob decided to approach me about all of this. I am not completely sure why because while I do not shy away from talking about my faith it is not something I generally do, especially since I am borderline anti-social. So I asked Bob about his concerns and tried my best at calming his fears of damnation. I pointed out that he was validly baptized in the presence of the Holy Spirit, and explained that it was more than a mere symbol. I asked him if he still believed in Jesus, and that Jesus was his Lord and savior to which he responded: Yes. Then I asked him about his concern of going to Hell. He explained that he had made many poor life choices (I know drugs and alcohol were some of them), and that he regretted some of the ways he treated his family. I asked if he was sorry for those sins that he carries with him, and he said yes. I then asked when he last went to confession. That is where the conversation paused, and I began to explain the importance of confession and that way that it is more than helpful. I asked him if it was easier to carry a bucket filled with water or an empty bucket, and then asked him if he would go to a priest and have his bucket emptied before Jesus. I promised I would pray for him (I did), and told him I had to get back to work.
So that was all several months ago. Today Bob came into work a happy person, wide awake and ready to go. He sought me out early in the day to explain to me that over the weekend he went to a priest and confessed his sins. He then said he had a long conversation with the Father and had many questions answered and that he felt great not having to carry a filled up bucket. He then thanked me for that conversation I had with him all those months ago.