Articles of the Month
What Can You Do If One of Your Family Members Is Not Following The Catholic Church?
This is a very good topic which I'm sure many Catholic families face at one time or another. There is no easy solution for this type of problem that can come up at any time in a family. I myself know of some Catholics who were born into the Catholic faith but for some reason, they decide that they no longer want to follow their God-given faith anymore. It can leave a family heart-broken, sad and desperate for help for their loved one. There are a few things that family members can do to help bring their loved one back into the Catholic faith once again, although nothing is full-proof or guaranteed. We must remember that even though we may offer assistance to the person in question, God gives everyone their own free will to decide whether they will accept Him into their lives or reject Him.
One of the best things that we can do for our "Catholic-absent" loved ones is to pray for them. Although you may be thinking, "That's not going to help very much" or "Can't you come up with something better?", you must know that prayer can move mountains. Jesus said, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed and you tell the mountain "move", it will move!" Prayer and faith go hand in hand. The Rosary is the best form of prayer because when you say the Rosary, you are asking Our Blessed Mother for Her direct intercession for your intentions. Our Blessed Mother always outdoes Herself and many miracles have occurred through Her intercession. You can recite your daily Rosary for your family member who has left the Church and ask that Our Lady help direct him/her back into the Catholic faith and Sacraments.
You can also pray Novenas to the saints. St. Monica is an excellent example of a saint who endured great misery, sadness and trials because of her son, St. Augustine, who left the Catholic church when he was a young man. Augustine led a wayward life of lust, pleasure and power. Even though St. Monica was met with insurmountable odds of her son ever returning to the Catholic faith, she continued to weep, pray for many years and ask God to forgive her son and return him back to his Catholic faith again. You can pray a novena to St. Monica so that she can pray to God for your loved one. You can also pray to St. Augustine to help your loved one see the beauty of the Catholic faith.
You can also share little hints to your Catholic-absent loved one about the beauty of the Catholic Church and how it is the only religion that has been started by Jesus Himself. All other religions were not started by Jesus and we know that salvation can only be given through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation cannot be given through Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. It is very essential that we partake of Jesus' Body and Blood; otherwise, there is no salvation for us. And where can you find all of the essential requirements for salvation?--in the Catholic faith alone. If your loved one asks, "Where does it say that you can only get salvation from the Body and Blood of Jesus?" Just tell them, "Jesus says it in the Bible (John 6:54--So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.…").
You can also refer your loved ones to CatholicsComeHome.org where they can look on the site for information which concerns Catholics who have left the Catholic faith. There are many videos on the site of Catholics who left the Catholic faith for many reasons. Perhaps their stories can help your loved ones by helping to relate to their own stories. It is with prayer and faith in Our Blessed Mother, Our Lord Jesus and Almighty Father and subtle hints to our loved ones that will hopefully be enough to spring them back into the light of the Catholic faith. May God bless you all and may Our Lord and Blessed Mother protect all of your families from evil and bring you into eternal life.
Single Catholics Should Be Praying For The Gift of Fortitude
"Fortitude is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit; it gives a person a special strength of will. This gift confers an extraordinary readiness to undergo trials for love of God or in fulfillment of the divine will; unusual courage to bear difficulties even for many years; firmness in carrying arduous tasks to their completion; perseverance in a lifetime fidelity to one's vocation in spite of heavy trials or disappointments sent by God; and gladness in being privileged to suffer persecution or humiliation in union with Christ and for the sake of His Name." Many single Catholics lack Fortitude in their life because this is evident when some single Catholics forget about their morals and commit sins like having sex before marriage, having children out of wedlock, cohabitating with their boyfriends or girlfriends, taking birth control pills and having abortions, etc.
When we were confirmed in the Catholic Church, we were given this gift but we need to continue to pray to the Holy Spirit for this very special gift of Fortitude because without it, we are like a sailboat without an oar. We can drift into harmful and dangerous waters (sinful ways) and we will not have any help to dissuade us from continually committing these terrible mortal sins. Some people say, "Well, just make up your mind and don't sin anymore!" Easier said than done. People need to pray every day. There's no other way around it. Without prayer, we are just relying on will power and not on God or Our Lord Jesus. We sometimes cannot do it alone. Even Jesus said, "Without Me, you can do nothing." That is very true! Yet, many people still try to rely only on themselves for strength and many times fail miserably later on down the road.
Fortitude also helps one to be steadfast in their particular vocation such as in marriage, in their singlehood, in their religious or priestly vocation, etc. Fortitude can also give you the gift to suffer patiently, even for many years. It gives you the courage to unite any suffering you may experience with the suffering of Christ. Living a single life can be very trying and very difficult. Living one's life in union with the life of Christ is, according to society's way, very counter-intuitive. Our current society does not understand that being a Catholic means to sometimes die to our temptations and desires. When singles choose to live for Christ, their life needs to reflect the life of Christ and Our Blessed Mother. We need to live a completely different life, sometimes completely opposite to what society thinks is "normal". Society thinks that it's "normal" to go against God and Our Lord Jesus. We as Catholics should know better than that!
Being a Catholic should instill in us a willingness to suffer humiliation sometimes from acquaintances who cannot understand the strict laws of our Catholic faith and try to make jokes about our faith, morals and about us in front of others. Jesus and many of the saints also suffered humiliation too so we are in good company. When we pray for the gift of Fortitude from the Holy Spirit, we begin to gain strength, maybe not overnight, but steadily we see that it becomes easier to avoid sin, we begin to bear suffering a little easier and begin to persevere to a greater degree in our Catholic faith. We may then be able to bear our sufferings and trials a little easier and so on.
Since we as single Catholics can see that living a life without sin amidst our current society becomes more difficult, it is adamant that every single Catholic pray for the gift of Fortitude which will help strengthen us for the days and years ahead of us. We pray that the Holy Spirit will help us live our lives and deliver us from temptation which can lead us to mortal sin. May God and the Holy Spirit continue to bless you and all single Catholics with the gift of Fortitude which will help you to avoid sin and remain faithful to God and to Our Lord Jesus Christ.