So many thoughts have occupied my mind during these last few months. One of the foremost being, that some of our family members have moved to another Christian denomination. What should be our attitude towards them? Should we denounce them, attempt to reconvert them, break ties with them, look down on them or just pray for them?
Unlike us, who have found our strength and encouragement in CFCI, it was another Christian denomination that reached out to a part of our family when they were going through a crisis. This group gave them love and acceptance and introduced them to daily Bible reading. Yes, they could have found it with and through us, but you know the saying ‘a prophet is not accepted in his own country’. Perhaps we were concentrating more on the problem and less on them as people to be loved. The need to be accepted as they are was probably why our relatives found comfort with strangers.
As I draw closer to God through Bible reading and prayer, I often find the demon of arrogance creeping in and letting me believe that I am better than several others. I therefore revisit the Bible to see what Jesus says should be our attitude towards other Christians who are not Catholics.
The first ecumenical statement was made by Jesus
(Mk.9:40; Lk.9:50) “Anyone who is not against us, is for us”.
With this in mind, I can take a more liberal view of a Christian denomination where Jesus is still the focus.
Looking at the ‘desertion’ from a less biased and more charitable point of view, I see that they are more at peace with themselves; they attend their church much more eagerly than they ever attended the Catholic Church and they are very attentive to their daily Bible reading. They are showing, by their fruits (Mt.7:16; 20) that they are on track.
If then, being Christian is enough, what is the point in being a Catholic? The strength gained through receiving Jesus in the Eucharist which is available to us daily at Holy Mass is the most wonderful gift of the Church. Add to this, its guidance and interpretation of God’s Word provided us through the Church Fathers and the Sacred Tradition and we have an unbeatable combination.
Musing on the above, I come to the conclusion that these family members deserve my compassion, continued love and prayers. Do I give up on them? No. St. Paul offers me a path to follow:
Col.4:5-6: Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.
And if, one day, they return fully to the faith I will say “Thanks be to God”.