John asked:

My younger brother is 14 and was baptized in the Catholic church. He’s since fallen away from the Church. As his godfather how can I get him back into the Church?


Patrick Madrid replied:

"My first advice would be to do this: number one do everything you can to keep that relationship with your brother open ... Show him that you love him ... Don’t give him any reason to think that you’re judging him or that you are foreclosing on the relationship because he’s fallen away from the faith ...

The main thing I think that he needs to see from you John, is a loving and patient response ... Let him see that ... Then give good example in your own life, that you love the Lord, that you love the Church and all the good things that come to you through the Church. You want to demonstrate to him, not by saying so much to him, but rather by showing in your own life a good reflection of God’s goodness in your own life. That’s very attractive to people when they see that you have something like that, they want that.

And then your good counsel. Which is one of those very important things of the Christian life ... To encourage people when the time is appropriate ... to get back to mass or get back to the sacrament of confession ... Don’t be afraid to offer that good word of counsel when the time is right.

Pray, pray, pray. And that old saying is very true, ‘work as if everything depended on you and pray as if everything depended upon God.’ Because everything does depend on God and his grace. But God is using you as an instrument of His grace. So you do what you can and at the same time you spend consistent time in prayer every day, if possible, for your brother ...

Sometimes our own family members are the ones who are least likely to listen to us ... So you might take a cue from what you read in Acts chapter 6 about Philip the deacon who is sent by God to go speak to the Ethiopian eunuch who is riding around in his chariot reading the scroll of Isaiah and not really understanding what it meant. And God saw that this needed to be addressed. So he sends Philip to this man and it turns out that he winds up being converted. He winds up being baptized and becomes a Christian. Now if it turns out that your brother will not hear the truth from you, then begin praying now for a Philip to be sent into his life ..."


Copyrights:

Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2013)

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Show air date: September 17, 2013

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Patrick Madrid

Question appeared in show: 5:17


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