Reconnecting People With The Lord
“Road To Emmaus”Approach
Almost every Catholic family has at least one member who has either become inactive or formally left the Church. The rest of the family feels hurt and is often confused.
There is a great temptation to try and find a quick and easy solution to this problem. Sadly, there is no quick fix. The reasons Catholics become inactive or leave are many and varied. Each person has his or her own story to tell and challenges to overcome.
Rarely will a person return to the Church when someone lectures him or her on how the person “is not being a good Catholic.” Instead, to help someone back to the Church two things must be kept in mind. First, it is the Holy Spirit that moves people back to the Church. Second, the role of the person trying to reinvigorate the inactive Catholic is to help the person recognize that God is in fact calling him or her back.
Entering into a friendship with the inactive Catholic is essential. Having someone to talk to, share burdens with and ask counsel of softens the heart.
“Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.“ (Luke 24:13-16)
Some Catholics simply drift away. They used to be involved, but withdrew for no apparent reason. There is no one reason, but a general lack of interest. Other Catholics may have issues with Church teaching, have gone through a divorce or a member of the Church may have hurt them in one way or another.
“He asked them, ‘What are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, ‘Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?’ And he replied to them, ‘What sort of things?’” (Luke 24:17-19)
Understanding a person’s challenges and being able to meet him or her on the road of doubt often requires us to leave our own comfort zone and venture where we would not normally go. Here again, friendship is the key. In today’s busy society few people have any real true friends. Friendship provides the Christian witness that often was lacking before the person left the Church. Relationships prepare the ground for the seed of the Word of God to be proclaimed.
"Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in the scriptures." (Luke 24:27)
As friendships mature and the Gospel is able to be proclaimed among two friends, there comes a time when the person can be asked to return to the extended family, reconcile and fully take part in the Sacrifice of the Mass, which is the summit of Christian living.
“As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him…” (Luke 24:28-31)
Throughout the Archdiocese of Washington, programs are being created to help inactive Catholics return to the Church. In light of the diversity of the people in the Archdiocese, programs are being developed that meet the needs of each local parish.
http://blog.adw.org/ (Longing for Something? Maybe it's God)