I've written a few times lately about my attempts to try and bring back a few of our lapsed brethren. Well, I have a little good news for one of them. I was speaking to him yesterday, and he was enthusiastic about gong on another tour of some Toronto churches, as I had promised him at the last one. "Any time you're ready," he told me.
I decided to risk pushing a little. "What about going back to Mass?" I asked. "Are you still interested in going to the Mass in Latin? Are you ready?"
He thought about it for a moment, and then said: "Any time you're ready."
This is big. I don't know if one Mass will be enough to turn him around, but it will be a start at least. The transformative power of the liturgy and the Eucharist cannot be overstated. Thank you for all your prayers, and... pray some more, if you can.
I have also written about another man I tried, in my weak and feeble way, to convince to come back. Perhaps I am being melodramatic, but sometimes I think I can see Satan working on this fellow. Every now and then something stirs within him, and he becomes a little nostalgic for the ritual, and the ceremony and music and the Latin language. I work on him while I can, but within a few days he remembers that he doesn't believe in that crap anymore. It's all nonsense, the people who believe are all fools and he congratulates himself for not being one of them.
He was nostalgic a few days ago. Yesterday as well, he began a conversation about the poor Greek of the Gospels, and how the translations were politically motivated because the Greek fragments show nothing of the sort. I asked him what the fragments really did say, and he became flustered and evasive. It turns out he was speaking of the apocryphal gospels. He went on to say how politics got them shut out of the Bible, and how foolish people are who believe that any part of the new testament could possibly have been divinely inspired. I cut him off.
"I reject the argument completely."
"How can you say that?" he said. "You haven't even read any of the modern scholars."
"I've read several, and none of those you speak of convinced me." I was also about to shoot back that he rejected Pope Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth without reading it, but didn't.
He argued some more, until I shot back with "You believe that, and you accuse me of taking a leap of Faith?" I shook my head. "To believe one side or the other requires a leap. You know no one can argue premises. You have taken one leap, I have taken another." He hasn't spoken to me since then.
I believe his disbelief is causing him more trouble inside than he would like to admit. And thus, here's another request for prayers, if you can. I'll probably be asking for more in the future. There's a lot of lapsed Catholics where I work, and near as I can tell, only one practicing Catholic: me.
I sometimes wonder: if God wants these people to come back, why didn't He send them someone who knew what they were doing? or at least had a clue? But then I remember Benedict's speech upon his election: I take comfort that the Lord can use even weak instruments to achieve His purposes.