Saturday, April 10, 2010

When friends feel they are losing their faith....

When friends feel they are losing their faith... and they call upon you, trust in God, listen with great interest until they have poured out their heart, only then share from your mind and heart, and put your confidence in God to save them from their trouble and bless them through it.

Question: What do you do with a friend or anyone who comes to you with doubts about their faith or feelings they are losing or have lost their faith? When I try to reassure this person and tell them we all have doubts so it's not a big deal, to try to diminish their distress, it doesn't work, doesn't help.

Response: First I must say it is commendable that you care about your friend, and he or she is blessed to have someone like you willing to be touched, moved, and concerned with their faith struggle. Now, there really is no ready made answer or strategy for such situations. However, I can tell you how I approach these things with people.

So far, from what you have written, if you don't mind my saying so, you have been far too quick to try to supply answers to her questions. That is not what she needs from you, and you can get out from the burden of feeling responsible to make her feel better. That is not our calling in life as Christians, to make others feel better, although we are called to give comfort, but not by resolving other people's struggles for them.

1. She must find her own answers, as we must all do. We are called by God to give meaning to our lives by the decisions we make, by the questions we ask, and by the answers we find, sometimes in what others have said but most often in reflecting on our own experience and questions.

2. Make more effective efforts to take interest and show your interest in what she is experiencing. Gently and with interest ask her to tell you more about what she is experiencing, thinking, wondering, and so on. As she sees you are really interested and will no longer try to stuff your own answers into her, she will slowly open up and share with you what it is she is experiencing, feeling, thinking, asking, wondering.....

3. Before you even approach her again, pray intensively to God for her with all the love you have for her. As you pick up the phone or go over to her place or anticipate seeing her at work or wherever, pray for her some more. While you are with her, keep prayer and love for her simmering on the back burner of your soul deep inside. In other words, let the Holy Spirit keep prayer going on inside you for her constantly... and you will find the Holy Spirit guiding you in your approach to her.

4. Don't worry about making a fool of yourself, or not knowing what to do or say next, and so on.... We are called to make fools of ourselves for Christ, as Jesus made a fool of himself before others for our sake. This is how the love of God makes itself known in the world, through the faithful hearts of those who have been touched by the love of God.

5. Know that in the journey of love, faith, and hope, even our mistakes are used by God for his glory and the good of others....

Be at peace dear friend.... in Jesus....

“Were not our hearts burning within us as He talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us

Christ is Risen ! Alleluia ! Alleluia !

Christ est ressuscité ! Alléluia ! Alléluia !

1 comment:

  1. ... in response to JP who previously said...

    Well said, although you lost me at the gestures for the Our Father...

    Are these gestures present in the rubrics of Mass? I've never seen or heard tell of them. JP

    Dear JP,

    The rubrics say nothing about how the Our Father may be prayed or sung or otherwise rendered. It is common practice in parishes with young families to pray or sing the OF with gestures. These are the gestures I wrote about. You can email me through my website fathergilles.net and I can send you the gestures. Fr Gilles

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