IF I could collect the tears of all the parents who have shared their heartbreak and grief of how their children have left the Faith, I’d have a small ocean. But that ocean would be but a droplet compared to the Ocean of Mercy that flows from the Heart of Christ. There is no One more interested, more invested, or burning with more desire for the salvation of your family members than Jesus Christ who suffered and died for them. Nonetheless, what can you do when, despite your prayers and best efforts, your children continue to reject their Christian faith creating all kinds of internal problems, divisions, and angst in your family or their lives? Moreover, as you pay attention to the “signs of the times” and how God is preparing to purify the world once again, you ask, “What about my children?”
THE RIGHTEOUS ONE
When God was about to purify the earth the first time by a flood, He looked the world over to find someone, somewhere who was righteous.
When the Lord saw how great the wickedness of human beings was on earth, and how every desire that their heart conceived was always nothing but evil, the Lord regretted making human beings on the earth, and his heart was grieved… But Noah found favor with the Lord. (Gen 6:5-7)
But here’s the thing. God saved Noah and his family:
Together with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, Noah went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. (Gen 7:7)
God extended the righteousness of Noah over his family, shielding them from the rains of justice, even though it was Noah alone who held the umbrella, so to speak.
Love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Pet 4:8)
So, here’s the point: you be Noah in your family. You be the “righteous” one, and I believe that through your prayers and sacrifice, your faithfulness and perseverance—that is, by participating in Jesus and the power of His Cross—God will extend the ramp of mercy to your loved ones in His way, His time, even if at the very last moment…
God’s mercy sometimes touches the sinner at the last moment in a wondrous and mysterious way. Outwardly, it seems as if everything were lost, but it is not so. The soul, illumined by a ray of God’s powerful final grace, turns to God in the last moment with such a power of love that, in an instant, it receives from God forgiveness of sin and punishment, while outwardly it shows no sign either of repentance or of contrition, because souls [at that stage] no longer react to external things. Oh, how beyond comprehension is God’s mercy! —St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 1698
YOU BE NOAH
Of course, many parents will blame themselves for their children’s fall from grace. They will remember the early years, the mistakes, the follies, the selfishness, and the sins… and how it is they who have shipwrecked their children, in some way, small or great. And so they despair.
Recall the first “father” that Jesus placed over His Church, which is the family of God: Simon, whom He renamed Cephas, Peter, the “rock”. But this very rock became a stumbling stone that scandalized “the family” when by his words and actions he denied the Saviour. And yet, Jesus did not give up on him, despite his apparent weakness.
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep… Follow me.” (John 21:16, 19)
Even now, Jesus turns to you fathers and mothers whom he has set over your sheepfold and He asks, “Do you love me?” Like Peter, we too may grieve at this question because, even though we love Him in our hearts, we have failed in our words and actions. But Jesus, gazing upon you this very moment with an unspeakable and unconditional love, has not asked, “Have you sinned?” For He well knows your past, even the sins you are not fully aware of. No, He repeats:
“Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”(John 21:17)
“Then know this”:
All things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Rom 8:28)
God will take your “yes” again, even as he took Peter’s, and will make it work to the good. He simply asks now that you be Noah.
GIVE GOD YOUR GRIEF
Many years ago, I was driving with my father-in-law through his back pastures. One field in particular caught my attention because it was dotted with large mounds which we had to navigate. “What’s with these little hills?” I asked him. “Oh,” he chuckled. “Many years ago, Eric dumped piles of manure here but we never got around to spreading them.” As we drove on, what I noticed most of all was that, wherever these mounds were, that was where the grass was greenest and where the most lush wildflowers were growing.
Yes, God can take the piles of crap we’ve made in our lives and turn them to something good. How? Be faithful. Be obedient. Be righteous. Be Noah.
Your misery has disappeared in the depths of My mercy. Do not argue with Me about your wretchedness. You will give me pleasure if you hand over to me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of My grace. —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 1485
But Jesus told Faustina that these treasures of grace can be drawn by means of only one vessel—that of trust. For you may not see things turn around for a long time in your family or perhaps even within your lifetime. But that’s God’s business. To love is ours.
You are not living for yourself but for souls, and other souls will profit from your sufferings. Your prolonged suffering will give them the light and strength to accept My will. —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 67
Yes, love covers a multitude of sins. When Rahab the harlot protected two Israelite spies from being handed over to their enemies, God, in turn, protected her and her son—despite her sinful past.
By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with the disobedient, for she had received the spies in peace. (Heb 11:31)
You be Noah. And leave the rest to God.
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