10 Things to do in 2019 to Bring a Loved One Back to the Church [PART 1]
We all have family members, loved ones and friends who have left the Church. The ache of the broken heart is all too real for so many of us when we think of their absence. But what can we do?
Here are my top 10 things we can (and must) do to help bring them back to the Church:
Discern– ask for the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit to know what we can and should do. It may be that we need to speak up…or the Spirit may need us to be silent. To be honest, both of those options can be difficult depending upon the situation or person (so also ask for Fortitude from the Spirit as well). Moses wanted to end the oppression of God’s people, but his first attempt at it did not go very well (cf. Ex 2:11-15). Peter knew one of his duties was to protect Christ and the Church, but his first “swing” at it was not the right move (cf. Jn 18:10). While we know the Lord desires our loved ones to make it to Heaven, we need to be sure we are correctly working with and in His plans.
Invite – have we actually invited them back, told them that we want them back? Or what are we trying to invite them back to? Some might not be ready for Mass or Confession…but would they join you for prayer in a Blessed Sacrament chapel? Even that could be too much for some…maybe invite them to read a book, listen to a podcast, or watch a video…maybe it is just inviting them to a parish fish fry. Keep in mind that discernment is a major component of invitation, because if the Lord wants you to be silent then you may need to wait on the inviting.
Saints– get the Saints involved. Are they named after a saint? Or do you know their Confirmation Saint? Maybe there is a saint whose story is like their life or is patron of their profession. Pray and maybe a saint will come to your mind…just pick one! Begin to develop a relationship with this Saint asking them to partner with you to bring you loved one back into the Church.
Fast– one of the most powerful form of prayers is fasting. Jesus instructed that sometimes only prayer and fasting can overcome certain problems (cf. Mk 9:29). Now I am not implying that anyone’s loved ones are possessed (which does still happen BTW) but if it works for getting rid of demons it will work on sin. This could include fasting on bread and water, or fasting from a meal, or fasting from coffee or chocolate or alcohol, or giving up something until they come back to the Church. Be like Ezra, who fasted for himself and his children to find the “straight way” and the Lord granted it to him (cf. Ezra 8:21-23).
Walk– so many times we find ourselves in an “us” vs “them” situation, or they at least feel like that is the case. To avoid this we need to “walk” with them. “Walking” with someone is a form of accompaniment which hopefully turns into discipleship. By simply being present, listening, and developing empathy they will come to know that we truly do love them. (Of course, I am not saying that we condone grave actions or that we participant in any form something that would be sinful). The goal of walking with them is that hopefully they will begin to walk with us and in the right direction towards Home (cf. Lk 24:13-35).
In the meantime...here at Casting Nets we take seeking the lost seriously and we love to pray for souls in need of grace and conversion. If you know people that are currently away from Christ & His Church share their name with us (First Name, Last Initial) and we will add them to our Casting Nets Prayer Journal. We already have over 4,000 names of people we prayer for daily for their conversion, we would be honored to pray for your loved ones as well.
Chris Stewart Co-Founder & COO Casting Nets Ministries
We are a team of lay Catholic evangelists. We conduct dynamic and highly effective missions, retreats, and evangelization trainings for parishes, schools, and Dioceses aimed at leading souls to Christ and forming the laity for missionary discipleship.