From time to time I am approached by a Catholic who has fallen away from the Faith. Usually, the ones who contact me, were not lured into some cult or even left the Church for the usual reasons (bad sermons, sex scandal, wouldn't let me marry someone after I divorced, the lady at the office was mean to me); rather, the simply drifted away. No anger issues, no beef with a certain priest or a doctrine of Faith - just stopped going, stopped participating. And when the roof did not fall in on their heads or lightening strike them on the golf course they figured they were in the clear.
Until something happens: They find themselves at a wedding being advised by a faithful Priest that unless they are a Catholic in good standing (attending Sunday Mass, going to confession at least once a year, receiving the Eucharist at least once a year, supporting the Church, attending Mass on Holy Days of Obligation) that they cannot receive Our Lord in the Eucharist. They find themselves at a Rosary for a friend who has passed away and they cannot remember how to pray the prayer their mother's taught them when they were seven years old.
Oddly enough, this type of fallen away Catholic always ends up sitting next to me. And since I seem to have the word "Catechist" mysteriously visible to these people on my forehead, they always ask me 'what do I do?' - and I get to tell them.
AND I LOVE IT!!
Sometimes, being able to do a quick 2 minute Catechises with a big smile and lots of excitement in my whispers gives them the right impression:
We missed you. Welcome back. I know you think it is only for one day, but here's my phone number. We want you here, with us...with the rest of your Catholic Family.
With the Body of Christ.
Recently, I sat next to someone married to a fallen away Catholic who was fascinated by the Rosary I held in my hand.
"What is the Rosary, exactly?", he asked me.
I whipped out my iPhone with the Catholic Cheat Sheet Ap (yes, there are SEVERAL Catholic Aps that I have and I love) so that I could show him the Mysteries, how those Mysteries take us through an incredible meditation on the life of Jesus Christ, how praying with His Blessed Mother allows us to see Him through the eyes of the First Christian - the Woman, the Mother of us all.
I don't know what he heard, but today he called and asked me if he could learn more about being a Catholic.
Now, listen. I know that this doesn't mean we have another convert about to embrace all the Teachings of The Truth. What I hope for is that we may have one more person willing to open the eyes and ears of their heart to the whispering of The Holy Spirit. I know the journey for many people trying to figure out where they live in relation to their Creator is long and loopy and bumpy and rough. The joy, I think, is in that journey not necessarily in the arrival.
One comes into full communion with Truth and that is one stage in the journey towards heaven. It is not the end by any means; rather, if one wants to be truly Catholic, one spends the rest of their lives on earth delving into the vast and endless spirituality that is Holy Mother Church. And then, if one is really blessed, we get to do what people like St Therese is doing right now - spending her eternity showering the earth with Roses picked from the heavenly garden, Roses that are the Love of Jesus Christ for His people.
Please pray for those far from Truth - people like my own family members who are either living in mortal sin or who have left the Eucharist because of some trivial reason, looking for the all-inclusive, politically correct way to worship Jesus Christ. They need to Come Home.
We all need to Come Home...and if we think we have arrived, then we need to keep going...because like St Paul we must be willing to run the race to the end.
Anyone else interested?