We all have people in our close circle of friends and family that we want to get into the Church. How to do this is the difficult part, as they see our own hypocrisy and weaknesses. I saw this talk on youtube and took notes, mainly so that I can use the information for my family, but included them here in case it might benefit someone else. I cannot find the name of the priest who gave the talk. Full video below.
Never forget, the conversion of a loved one is a work of God’s grace, and never our own achievement.
We are instruments of God’s grace.
How often do we desire to leap in and begin the work of conversion in the reverse order, saying whatever is on our mind to draw longing to hear our own voice, our attachment to our own words, and only afterwards consider the example we set and how much we commend these souls to God in prayer.
Consider prayer first of all. Do you have friends or loved ones whom you desire their conversion, place these souls on the paten, as you see the priest holding it up at the beginning of the offertory at Mass. Recommend them to Him especially in the most august sacrifice. Give them to our Lord at the moment you receive him in Holy Communion. Always form the intention of bringing them with you to adoration, placing them within the pierced side of our Savior. It is our blessed lady who obtains for them the graces necessary for conversion and disposes them, even remotely, for the worthy reception of the sacraments. Let these souls of yours always be found among her beads. Always think of one of them as you pray a decade of the Rosary. And never forget the example of St. Monica and make a prayer out of your tears. Tears springing from natural affection will not obtain the grace you seek. They must well up into tears of true charity – unconditional love that seeks not mere satisfaction – having a friend or family member in the pew, but only that person’s eternal good, regardless whether you ever get a thanks or acknowledgment or whether his conversion is something you even get to see, or enjoy or take credit for.
And here we must consider the terrible stumbling block to conversion posed by hypocrisy. But I think it is important here to distinguish here hypocrisy from simply not living up to the principles we espouse. Of course we all fall short of practicing the faith we profess. This does not mean that our beliefs are false and it does not necessarily have to be a stumbling block to anyone. Of course people of bad will may call us a hypocrite nonetheless. But what we should truly be mindful of is that there is one thing that people scarcely ever forgive or forget, and that is arrogance. Even if we fail at being good Catholics this does not need to keep our loved ones away from the faith, as long as we are humble.
If you want to get serious about winning your loved ones for Christ, start acting like your master. These are the people before whom above all you must humble yourself, meekly suffering injuries from them, helping them, showing a genuine interest in their lives apart from any question from the faith.
There are words to be said. But even after prayerful discernment you determine that there are things you should say in a given situation, always remember the more you say, the less well you say it. Every time you add a word, you cheapen all the words that came before it. As soon as you are talking to win an argument, rather than win a soul, your fish is already off the hook. Again, St. Paul tells us today if a man be overtaken in any fault, instruct him in a spirit of meekness, considering thyself lest thou also be tempted.
Certain things cannot pass without a word. Specifically when someone blasphemes the holy name of God, His blessed mother or any of the truths of our faith. When someone mocks your faith, you don’t need a clever comeback, you need outrage, tears over the injuries your God has suffered from His creatures or even a raised voice to put to silence the mouth of the blasphemer. St. Paul says we must be all things to all men, in order to gain them for Christ. One of those all things is being severe, or even angry, when the rights of God demand it. Very often this is the start of a conversion. Such a person may remember his good manners at least and apologize saying, “I didn’t mean to offend you.” You can reply, you didn’t offend me, you offended my God, and yours too. Sometimes this means the person will turn to mocking you instead of God. But that should not trouble you a bit. That’s what it means for being a fool for Christ’s sake. And that too can be the cause of conversion, at least for those who witness it.
Place your wayward loved ones under the compassionate care of our heavenly mother. Remember that we invoke her as our lady of sorrows, not our lady of worries. Her sorrow has always been deep, knowing how many souls reject her son’s gift of redemption. But that sorrow has always been mixed with joy, not with doubt or disquiet. The tears that flow from her Immaculate Heart intercede at every moment before the throne of God, for those whose hearts are hardened to the truth, take courage, a child of those tears shall not perish