Thought for the Day – 16 May – Thursday of the Fourth week of Easter, C, Gospel: John 13:16–20
Archbishop Alban Goodier, SJ (1869-1939)
“The Lost Catholic”
No-one who has once realised what it is to be a Catholic can feel anything but sadness for one who has lost the Catholic faith, who once was a Catholic and is now a Catholic no more, no matter what may have been the reason.
It is sad enough to know so many who, through no fault of their own, have not the Catholic faith, whose forefathers lost it for them and deprived them of their inheritance, who do not know and have never known, all that it means.
But one who has once known it and has lost it, who has been argued or cajoled out of it, whose life has led him to drop it, who has been careless and let it go, who has surrendered it for something else, those who know and love such a one, know also that he has lost, thrown away, something for which nothing else can compensate, something more dear than life itself.
Let, then, such a one not be surprised if those who love him are troubled and sad about him; they cannot help it. They long to give him back what he has lost, they spare no pains that he may be as he was before, they look on that reward as worth all the labour and suffering it may entail.
2. The Catholic no more
Who are they and how has it all come about?
First, there are the children:
who have never learnt to appreciate the value or beauty of their inheritance;
or whose parents have set them a sorry example and so spoilt them;
or who have learnt their religion as a schoolroom lesson only and it has withered;
or who have never seen that it mattered much one way or the other.
Second, there are young boys and girls:
who have been deluded by the prospect of a happy and free life before them.
or who have lived among godless companions and through shame, through human respect, through banter, through a
little coaxing, through temptation, perhaps through sin, have become as they;
or who have been carried away by their surroundings and the faith of their childhood has been ignored or forgotten,
and finally rejected.
Third, there are young men and women:
whose study and, reading, it may be, in the days when they were not yet mature, nor able to form a proper judgement,
has led them to wonder, to doubt, at last to be dissatisfied and turn away;
or who have come under some influence stronger than themselves and they have surrendered;
some unbelieving teacher or friend, whose arguments they could not answer;
some man or woman whom they have loved and who has made them sacrifice their faith for that love some companion who has led them on, till they have lost the reality for the shadow;
or who have found the practice of the faith a hindrance to their ambition in life, to promotion, to association with those who would help them, to the use of such means as their faith will not allow.
Fourth, there are the grown-up:
who are married and who find the laws of their faith concerning married life a burden;
or who, having once, slipped away, or having been away so long, are unable to bring themselves back, and prefer to
remain where they are;
or who have been antagonised by some opposition, by some scandal, by some regulation, which they have resented.
Fifth, and last, among all these classes, among young and old, there are those,
whom, in a proud and passionate moment, self-will has mastered and they have said:
‘I will not serve; or whom this world with its false fascination has mastered and they have said: ‘I will have here my ‘reward; or whom sin and passion have conquered and they hardened conscience and said: ‘I will be free, I will have my own way, I will do my own pleasure.
to be continued…/
Let us Pray:
For the Return of Lapsed Catholics to the Sacraments
By Ven Servant of God Fr John A Hardon SJ (1914-2000)
You desire not the death of the sinner
but that he may be converted and live.
Pour out upon us Your mercy
and hear the prayers of Your servants.
Soften the hearts of Your children who have strayed,
from the true path, which You established for their salvation.
They are now forgetful of their duties as Catholics
and pursue the pleasures of the world.
Grant that they may quickly return
to the practice of every Christian virtue,
so that their lives may shine
with the integrity of faith,
the fervour of piety
and the ardour of charity.
Restore them to Your sacraments
and the life of Your grace,
through the merits
of the most precious blood of Your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.