First of all, don’t worry about what words to use when you begin to pray for someone who has been away from the Lord – from the Church – for a long time. Just talk to God about the situation as you would to a good friend. In your own words, tell God your fear, your concern, perhaps your sense of hopelessness/discouragement.
What a great question – it can be such a difficult thing to invite someone into practicing the faith without coming across as self-righteous or as somehow a bit “off.” A big part of the process of bringing someone back is to start with the recognition of a couple of points.
First, remember that what you are desiring is holy; it’s good. Sometimes, what we desire isn’t so good, isn’t so holy. You have in your heart a hunger to bring someone back into a communal practice of the faith and that is a blessing. You desire something good.
Feast Day: November 4
Born amidst the turmoil of the Protestant Reformation and troubled sixteenth-century Italy, Charles Borromeo set his sights on reform from a young age, and helped to reinvigorate the Church during the Counter-Reformation. Born into a wealthy and powerful family in northern Italy in 1538, he joined the ranks of the clergy at age 12. While preparing for a career in the Church, Charles was given the income from a rich Benedictine abbey by an uncle, and he insisted that all funds not used for his education be given to the poor.
Pictured right: Pope Francis blesses a nun of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity during the audience for workers and volunteers of mercy at the Vatican
Jesus teaches us that power should be used so that there might be life, and life to the full. In other words, power should be exercised mercifully. However, is there something required of us in order to experience the merciful exercise of power? Are there “preconditions” that dispose us more readily to experience, for example, God’s mercy? Is there something that “enables” God’s merciful action to take effect in our lives?
The witness of the Gospels
Consider each of the following accounts:
These are two very good questions which require a clear answer, especially in the times in which we live. Noise surrounds us these days – more than ever before. Between keeping up with our jobs, schoolwork, social media and the daily news – not to mention spending quality time with family and friends each day, we are squeezed for time. We struggle to keep up.
But if we are going to make a real effort to keep God in our daily lives, we have to shut out the noise, at least for a few minutes here and there. Once we have made that commitment, we need to pray for greater faith: