There is an old saying in my 12 Step group: Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. I happen to agree with this idea; however, I always emphasize to those I sponsor that there is more to doing the next right thing than integrity. Courage is also important and in my opinion, courage is doing the right thing when EVERYONE is looking.
I am blessed. I am blessed to be surrounded by a group of people who honor choices they do not agree with even if those choices make them sad. I have a dear friend, a faithful and prudent Catholic mother much like my mom who has to stand by and watch her son declare he is 'searching for his own truth'. She can do nothing for this adult other than pray, I have to stand by and watch family members and people I love more than my own life make some of the stupidest life decisions known to mankind and do the same thing. We trust Our Lord. We know that Jesus has a plan for these people. We also understand the nature of Free Will and danger these people are putting themselves in but all we can really do is stand fast in Truth and pray. Knowing that prayer is powerful, that we are not the first to go through this and that one of our greatest saints was brought to Truth through the constant and ardent prayers of his mother gives us comfort, but it still makes it hard for us to stand without them in the pew on Sunday.
We honor the choices our loved ones are making. We recognize that nothing on this side of the Veil is written in stone and that God's time is not our own and we trust in His infinite Mercy. We also are very aware that one of the privileges of being loved is the privilege of Free Will. God did not make us organic robots. He does not need us, He WANTS us...and He knows that love not freely given is not really love.
We are not always gracious about the pain their choices cause us, but when we speak out of turn or try to 'make' them see what they are doing, we know where we need to go. We will silently nod to each other as we stand in line for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We know why we are there....and we know that the grace we will receive from that Sacrament will help us resist the temptation to manipulate or force someone to love what we Love.
Both of us understand that part of our own suffering stems from our past. We can remember when WE caused someone we love pain. We know the part that loved one's prayers played in our reconversions. We truly want to make amends for past behavior....we understand how it happens and we know the underlying fear that keeps people away from He who has only our best interest at Heart. In fact we know more about what the object of our despair is going through and doing than they know themselves because we have been through it and come through it and now rest on the bank of Faith...we took the step from ship to shore and we just want those we love to experience the joy we have experienced...the joy of Coming Home.
During the next month, a time known as Gratitude Month, I will be praying even more for the Lost and the Lonely. I will be asking for God to intervene in their lives in a significant way. I will pray for their salvation, for the totality of their love to be given to the source of all. I will ask God to bless them on their journey.
I ask you all to join me this month in prayer for those who are far from Truth. Let the Light of Reality lead them home to Love.