Continuing the Pentecost theme I am thinking - again- about how I as an individual and we as a family bare witness as Christians, and most specifically as Catholics to those around us who have fallen away from their faith, or never had any to speak of.
I have a friend who I suppose I would describe as 'difficult'. She suffers a great deal from agitated depression and aggressive outbursts. She has not been able to sustain solid friendships and her boyfriend situation is - rocky, to put it mildly.
I find it strange sometimes that I know the root of her terrible agitation is the fact she has had two abortions, but she cannot talk about them other than in passing-and then she runs away.
I so want her to find God and His Mercy and Forgiveness, but she is not at all open to being told about Him. So what do I do?
The best thing I can think of is to be here for her when she needs sanctuary. I have noticed that our home is sanctuary to her. The little ones offer her affection and a distraction from her worries and irritations, while I am there to listen and offer tea and company.
Obviously she knows we are a Catholic family. She knows we go to Mass and she knows from my 'wall of Hahn' and holy pictures etc that the faith is important to us.
I pray for her of course, but what else am I to do?
Her God shaped hole is gaping and raw, but she can't see it. I wish she could find Him, and I hope that as she sees this family and how we deal with things she will think about that.
We have had to cope with some pretty nasty crisis as a family and I would like to think the way we dealt with things is part of our witness as a family. Who knows...
When I first returned to the Church-I spent rather a long time in the Cafeteria-I was helped by the holiness of a couple of good Catholic families I knew. They didn't preach, they didn't need to, I had my Scott Hahn tapes for that, but they LIVED it, and that was a powerful witness to me.
Sadly I quickly got burned. I joined a group of Catholic women thinking their 'orthodoxy' would help me learn more of my faith and confirm me in it.
I was pretty shocked by the snide remarks about protestants and the spite against less orthodox Catholics. One woman simply assumed that everyone in her parish used contraception.
There was bullying and nastiness in the group and this was topped by a member literally showing off about how she had dropped all her lapsed friends and family members!!
Needless to say I left that group.
It was a hard lesson, but one I faced with the help of a friend who made me realise that healing was to be found among the other sinners, not those who considered themselves well.
Be careful my brothers and sisters in Christ, many of us who are seeking can be wounded by you, and those of us who have finally found the pearl of great price need to share it with respect, not chuck it hard at others-however frustrating they may be.