If you have a loved one who has left the Church, or one who’s just fallen away, you’ve probably already learned what won’t work.
Nagging. Begging. Pleading. Crying. Yelling.
I’m here to tell you that none of that is going to be effective. And it was a great relief to read Maggie Green’s book, The Saint Monica Club, and be affirmed in this.
Yes, I said “relief.”
This is certainly not a club that any of us want to be in. Of course, we all want to be in that other club, the one in which people’s loved ones willingly and happily join them in the pew each Sunday and maybe even more often than that. The club where they can talk about church, and faith, in their homes without being greeted by reactions that range from eye-rolling to open antagonism.
Because I am not in that other club, I need to embrace what I’ve learned in The Saint Monica Club.
The hardest part of loving someone estranged from the Faith is the sense of isolation. … there are no support groups for those grieving the loss of a family member from the Faith. This loneliness is no accident. It is the Devil’s design to make not only your child but you, too, feel cut off from God. You will need people with whom you can walk, pray, and weep when it gets hard. (25)
The Saint Monica Club will not tell you how to lure someone back to the Church. It will tell you how to live with your own grief, how to bring your loved one to the Lord in prayer, how to connect with others in the same situation, and how to build up the virtues you will need to be the witness your loved one needs.
You don’t necessarily need to read this book start to finish. Skip around; look at the table of contents and open to the chapter whose descriptive title speaks to you right now. Bring the book to the Adoration chapel or read a chapter as you pray before Mass — the chapters are short and well-designed for this purpose.
My only regret is that I read an electronic version of this book. I was highlighting it all over the place. I’m going to need to get my hands on the print edition, so I can highlight some more, make notes, and easily refer back to it when I need a shot of perseverance and some inspiration in patient endurance.
Make friends with the company of saints, and if you have favorite saints, put them on notice. (26)
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Copyright 2020 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS
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