This Week’s Ask Alice: Praying for “lost sheep” can be a test of one’s own faith.



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Sally C writes: Funny how Providence opens up windows…thank-you for your website. I have a dilemma:
Two sons have defected in different degrees from their Catholic faith. Both are married, and with children. I have been praying for them long and hard, pray to Saints Philomena, St. Dymphna, St. Monica, St. Joseph, Mary….pouring my heart out to “heal” my sons in their individual great deficiencies.

Meanwhile, I am doubting the active presence of God in all this. My trust in God is slipping more than I care to admit, tho I go to Mass and Confession often.

Have you ever seen the picture of the man sinking in the water, reaching out his hand ? And, as a hand reaches out to save him, I sink. I slip from the grasp.

My worries have slipped into a no trust in God, scenario. Trust is essential to living a faith life, as air is to breathing… is there any possible reason why God is allowing me this “trust-less” period in my life? It is very hard. How do I continue to pray?

Thank-you.

Alice Answers: Welcome to the Moms-Praying-Ceaselessly-for-Our-Children-Network!

Although we’ve never met, there are scores of us in every neighborhood praying day and night for our sons and daughters. If I had a nickel for every faith-filled mom who has confided that her child stopped going to church, I could purchase Trump Tower … in cash! Our youngest daughter is named Monica, and the Christian Community that meets at our home is called, “St. Dymphna.”

Sally, as a persevering, praying mom, you’re in good company. In 1984 a mom, with two sons entering junior high school, started praying weekly with her friend that their children would stay close to the Lord. The fruits of Fern Nichols’ prayers for her children was the birth of Moms in Touch International. Twenty-seven years later, the prayers of two mothers have blossomed into a worldwide organization, with groups in more than 120 countries.

“Pour out your heart like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint from hunger at the head of every street.” (Lamentations 2:19)

One of the most challenging aspects of praying for children who have strayed from faith is that their dark assessment of life tends to dampen our own resolve. When we pray week-after-week, year-after-year … with no fruits of our prayerful labors in sight, we become discouraged.

But consider Jesus’ words of consolation to St. Faustina:

“You always console Me when you pray for sinners. The prayer most pleasing to Me is prayer for the conversion of sinners. Know, My daughter, that this prayer is always heard and answered.” (Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska:1397)

Please remember, Sally, that you are special to God. He chose you to be the mother of His precious sons because He believed that no other woman would love them more faithfully or bring them home to Him, better than you would.

“Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?” (Isaiah 49:15)

Here are my “secrets” for loving my children, even when they challenge my faith and love:

1) Find a favorite photo (baby picture, First Communion, graduation, etc.) of your son(s). Think of how much you loved him the day the picture was taken. Hold the photo in your hands and say a prayer for him. When you finish your prayer, give him a hug and and say, “I love, you,_______,” in your mind. Repeat this practice every day.

2) Live what you teach. Don’t preach. If we keep prodding our adult children to go to Mass and the sacraments, they sometimes pull further away from us. Just keep loving your sons unconditionally. Express your love for them often, with embraces, words, emails and cards.

3) Ask your sons to attend one Mass with you, as your birthday present. They can go to Mass with you on either the same or two different days. Invite your sons and their families to attend Sunday Mass with you followed by lunch at your home or a restaurant. Ask your sons and their families to meet for Mass on Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving.

4) When you feel your own faith weakening, go into an empty church and pour your heart out to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. He’s always there and loves to listen to your every thought. From what you wrote, you are doing a wonderful job of bringing all of your heartaches to God. When you think He’s not there, Jesus’ heart is beating in unison with yours and His tears are intermingled with your own. In the times we feel most alone, God is closest to us.

“A suffering soul is closest to my heart.” (Diary:1487)

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Doug Lawrence adds: Sally, it may be comforting to know that God even permitted the Blessed Mother to suffer, in order to complete the work that his superabundant grace first began in her immaculate soul. In some mysterious way, suffering has a way of honing the human spirit to a very fine edge. God knows and appreciates this. So he permits such things to occur.

Just as Easter always follows Good Friday, and Divine Mercy Sunday always follows Easter, there’s absolutely no chance that any of your prayers will ever go to waste. What better time to once again affirm, “Jesus, I Trust In You!”

Hebrews 11:1  Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen.

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