Fellow Young-Adult Catholics: I Need Your Advice

A lot of us have siblings. Sometimes you love them with all your heart; sometimes you get really frustrated with them and “hate” them.

Siblings arguing

Photo Credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1206170/Why-does-caring-elderly-parents-turn-squabbling-children.html

Sometimes your siblings frustrate you on a much deeper level than the typical sibling conflicts. Sometimes, they don’t share the same religious views as you do. Well, I face that reality with my two older sisters, who currently do not practice the Catholic faith. I am a cradle Catholic; my mom was born and raised Catholic and my dad converted a few years after he married my mom. My family went to mass, my siblings and I went to CCD and junior/senior youth group; heck even my middle sister and I went on a few Catholic Heart Workcamps. However, my sisters ultimately made the decision to stop attending Church.

Long story short, my oldest sister stopped attending church when she went to college and my middle sister disagreed with the Catholic Church on many social teachings, so she left as well.

That leaves me. I still try to practice my faith with great zeal. I am active in my Catholic Campus Ministry where I participate in faith-sharing groups, mass music ministry and service trips. I also attend Mass on a weekly basis and heck, I even have a faith-based internship. On a relational level, I pray with God almost every night and read the daily scriptures to see what God might be trying to tell me on any given day. Needless to say, I try to be the best Catholic and Child of God that I can be.

CHWC

Photo Credit: Jacob Clore

However, I often struggle with my faith in one aspect; evangelization. And I mean the talk about your faith evangelization, not the “do good works so everyone sees Christ in you” evangelization.

I am a people pleaser and I absolutely cannot stand the idea of people being frustrated or upset with me. I also tend to get really worked up and nervous when it comes to talking about intense topics like religion and politics, so I tend to remain silent.

Hold your tongue

Photo Credit: http://www.heyladypublications.com/jeanna-ellsworth-blog/when-to-hold-your-tongue-an-excerpt

So what does all of this have to do with my siblings who no longer practice the Catholic faith? Well I always feel like I am failing in one aspect of my faith and that is somehow convincing my sisters to start practicing the Catholic faith again. Now I know that it is ultimately their choice whether they start practicing again, but I feel that it is my responsibility to at least talk to them about it.

But I can’t. I am so afraid of breaking the status quo and actually letting them know my thoughts. I am afraid of getting nervous while telling them or making them upset with me and creating a divide in our relationship. I know simply being a “Good Catholic” in front of them isn’t working, but I am fearful of actually talking to them about it.

what-should-I-do-now

Photo Credit: http://www.webvitality.co.uk/blog/what-to-do-now-that-penguin-2-0-is-in-town/

So I am looking to you, the readers, who have been in a similar predicament. How have you dealt with having siblings who do not practice the Catholic faith? Have you ever tried getting them to come back to the faith? Have you been successful? Because I sure do hope that I can be.

Blog Profile Pic Jacob Clore – Contributor and Editor

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One thought on “Fellow Young-Adult Catholics: I Need Your Advice

  1. Hi Jake! Great post, I think many people struggle with this. Admittedly, when asked at CCM to take on the role as Evangelization Minister, I felt many of the things you felt, not with my siblings, but with close friends who were thinking about leaving the church (and subsequently — have left) and friends who don’t like Catholic teaching, particularly on social issues. Is it appropriate to rock the boat and witness? Will they hate me for disagreeing with their choices/worldview? There is no one answer to these questions, and every situation and every person is unique.

    The first thing I would advise, always, is prayer. Particularly the rosary. Pray for your sisters, and also for yourself, that you live God’s will, especially in this area. Additionally, you may consider making a small sacrifice such as fasting on their behalf. It doesn’t have to be huge. One thing I do for my intentions is take two days a week to specifically abstain from Sweet Iced Tea (which I drink very frequently otherwise). More small sacrifice ideas include skipping the morning Starbucks run once a week and giving the money to charity, swipe for someone at the dining hall, or any small act of kindness: hold the door, listen to/be with your friend who is having problems, giving up your seat on the bus…and then offer it up to God for the sanctification of others (including your sisters).

    Secondly, don’t be afraid to witness when the time is right. Many times my parents taught me about Church teachings that I didn’t want to hear or that I didn’t agree with. Eventually I came to respect, accept, and deeply admire the position that the Catholic Church takes as well as the people who live out those teachings. You might say, okay, but how do I know when the time is right? It’s depends on the situation, again, but I find that if you feel the stirrings in your heart to say something (especially in defense of something that somebody else may have said) you probably should say something. Don’t pick fights because you’re right, that will create a divide in your relationship. Pray that God will give you the words. One last note, if the person is argumentative or trying to pick a fight with you (such as saying “THE VATICAN IS CORRUPT!” or “THE CHURCH HATES [insert group of people/ideas]!”), simply say “That’s not true” and refuse to further the conversation, because it is a one way ticket to nowhere.

    Thirdly, get educated. A lot of times we are insecure and don’t say anything because we’re worried that we’ll get tripped up and look like we don’t know what we’re talking about. Learn how to defend the faith so when you discern that it is time to witness, you have answers and the confidence to supply those answers.

    I know this is a lot of information, and evangelization is not easy. We can’t pry open somebody’s heart. God is love, and love is never forced. Trust in God, because ultimately evangelization is up to Him, and we just have to not get discouraged when we don’t see the progress that we want to see, because God has a plan!

    Some scriptures to help you:

    “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God. He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began…” –2 Timothy 1:7-9

    “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” –Matthew 22: 36-40

    “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the LORD—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” –Jeremiah 29:11

    I’m keeping you & your family in my prayers, Jake! I did not intend for this comment to get so long but here it is! 🙂

    Like

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