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The Secret to Converting Your Friends and Family

July 10, AD2014 13 Comments

There’s someone out there you want to see safely home in the Catholic Church, right? Someone you know would be the next St. Augustine, if he found truth and decided to work for truth for the rest of his life.  You’ve been evangelizing to him by buying books and videos, posting articles on social media, even speaking directly on the stuff he’s missed. Still, he’s unmoved, probably  accused you of judging. So, you’re about ready to give up.

Please don’t!

Instead, work harder and change tactics. The thing about conversion is that it isn’t entirely up to you. The timing and the manner is purely an act of God’s grace. However, there are things you can do to cooperate and further God’s Will of performing miracles in changing hearts behind the scenes. Here are five secrets to converting your family and friends:

1. The Rosary. Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical Supremi Apostolatus Officio declared the Rosary as an effective spiritual weapon against the evils afflicting society. St. John Paul II in Rosarium Virginis Mariae emphasized the importance of a family Rosary for the spiritual safety of its members when he said “the family, the primary cell of society, increasingly menaced by forces of disintegration on both the ideological and practical planes, so as to make us fear for the future of this fundamental and indispensable institution and, with it, for the future of society as a whole. The revival of the Rosary in Christian families… will be an effective aid to countering the devastating effects of this crisis typical of our age.” Catholic speaker and author Kathleen Beckman attributes her son’s conversion with the daily Rosary during Eucharistic Adoration, as a deliverance prayer.

2. The Divine Mercy conversion prayer: “O blood and water, which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus.” Jesus made a promise to St. Faustina in her Diary: “When you say this prayer, with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, I will give him the grace of conversion.” Our parish has been saying this prayer at every Mass and our priest can verify the return of fallen away Catholics to Church.

3. Fasting: Jesus taught in scripture Mark 9: 29, that there are certain demons in our lives that can “only be driven out by prayer and fasting.” The USCCB’s Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence stress that “the need for conversion and salvation is unchanging, as is the necessity that, confessing our sinfulness, we perform, personally and in community, acts of penance in pledge of our inward penitence and conversion.” The same statement places first priority to abstinence from meat every Friday, but also, fasting includes self-denial like giving up tasty deserts, a favorite beverage, TV, internet, shopping. If you want proof of the effectiveness of fasting, look no further. The recent Supreme Court decision affirming religious freedom was a direct result of the USCCB’s campaign on penance and fasting.

4. Redemptive Suffering. Redemptive suffering is the teaching that human suffering, when accepted and offered up in union with the Passion of Jesus, can remit the just punishment for one’s sins or for the sins of another. St. John Paul II wrote in Salvifici Doloris “In bringing about the Redemption through suffering, Christ raised human suffering to the level of the Redemption. Thus each man, in his sufferings, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ. Pope Pius XII’s Encyclical on the Mystical Body revealed that the salvation (and conversion) of many souls depends on the prayers and voluntary penances offered by the Mystical Body for that intention. If you offer up your suffering, inconveniences and frustrations for the conversion of sinners and unite it with the Eucharist (the commemoration of the suffering of Christ), you can atone for the sins of others and give souls the opportunity to be opened up for grace to set in. “Suffering,” said St. Therese, “converts more souls than sermons.”

5. Marian Pilgrimage. Pilgrimage is a personal act of devotion and sacrifice. Pilgrimage sites abound in graces. If your future, St. Augustine likes travel, bring him along on a Marian pilgrimage. There is a plethora of conversion stories through Mary’s intercession in pilgrimage places: models and nobility turned nuns, new agers turned Catholics, Atheist turned believers, drug addicts turned sober, actor turned revert (that would be Jim Caviezel). If however, only you get the chance to go, pray for the graces from Mary’s intercession to live a life that will be an evangelization tool in and of itself. St. Louis de Montfort wrote: “[Mary] attained an immense and inconceivable degree of grace. So much so, that the Almighty made her the sole custodian of his treasures and the sole dispenser of his graces. She can now ennoble, exalt and enrich all she chooses. She can lead them along the narrow path to heaven and guide them through the narrow gate to life.”

Conversion can occur immediately or gradually, during one’s life or the moment before his death. Your prayers and sacrifices for conversion of souls are always in God’s Will and will bear fruit at the appropriate time. So, don’t give up on your friends and family. Convert them in secret.

∞  ∞  ∞

About the Author:

Anabelle Hazard is a practicing Catholic, non-practicing attorney, happy homeschooler, penniless novelist (of Catholic novels “Sand and Water” & “Fireflies Dance”), and long-winded blogger at Written By the Finger of God.

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  • http://healingandempowerment.blogspot.com Phil Dzialo

    Not to disagree but if you examine Scripture and compare the amount of time Christ and the apostles spent in repetitive prayer, fasting, etc compared with the time spent on the corporal works of mercy, I think you will find the scale tipped to helping other human unconditionally. People want to see men and women of action. If you life is filled with feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, housing the homeless, spending time with the institutionalized handicapped, widowed and elderly, healing the sick, friending the lonely….this is the greatest witness of Christianity. Humans are the image and likeness of God….therein lies the path to conversion and to living a worthy life. God does not intervene in helping the helpless and hopeless…that is our job and our witness that a loving God exists. “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. Matthew 6:7

    • Bill S

      That is an excellent response. I am atheist and not interested in going back but my heart is softened by seeing the corporal works of mercy performed. I actually think this world would be best off if we all followed the teachings of the Catholic Church in this regard.

    • Micha Elyi

      …if you examine Scripture and compare the amount of time Christ and the apostles spent in…
      –Phil Dzialo

      …whatever, you’ll notice that the Gospels are neither a diary nor a logbook of every event. You might refer to John 21:25 to verify that.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Do you have a point to make, or are you just interested in trying to keep some kind of bizarre score,Micha? (By the way, I’ll be replying to your message to me, shortly, so be prepared. )

    • Ronk

      Our Saviour was certainly NOT saying that we should not repeat prayers! He tells us numrous times that we should pray “constantly” and indeed that the saints in Heaven pray “constantly”. As there is a finite nunmer of prayers and of words, it is impossible to do this without repetition! Our Saviour and His Apostles and disciples were all practising Orthodox Jews, and they faithfully recited repetitive prayers every day of their lives. The reason that the prayers of the Gentiles were “meaningless” (or “in vain” as is the usual translation) is NOT because they were repetitive, but because they were directed to “gods” who are NOT REAL and so could not possibly hear and answer them!

  • MyBrokenFiat

    LOVE this entry, Anabelle. The power of prayer is SO powerful. Often, we are so tempted to “GO GO GO” instead of letting go to “let God.”

    Conversion of the heart is a gift… not a battle to be won with theological arguments or moral indignation. Sometimes it truly is best to pray… especially when the person has not responded to more “active” forms of evangelization (I put active in quotes because we all know prayer is active).

    Perfect example? St. Augustine, himself. His mother prayed and prayed and prayed, following him around EVERYWHERE. Eventually God rewarded her fastidious prayer with a converted son who would become one of our greatest saints.

    Prayer is, indeed, powerful and necessary – and fasting, pilgrimage, chaplets, etc are all forms of prayer.

    Kudos! :) <3

  • Laurence Charles Ringo

    I confess I’m confused by number 2…in what way does a fallen-away catholic need converting? From what to what? Isn’t he or she already converted to catholicism? Frankly, I find catholic teaching extremely confusing, jumbled, and just plain discombobulated! Why is your religion so ridiculously complicated?

    • Anabelle Hazard

      Conversion in its strictest sense means when one who wasn’t previously baptized becomes a baptized Catholic. But following Christ isn’t a one time event. Conversion in its broad sense means the process of ongoing change, repentance, aligning one’s life to God’s will, growing deeper in knowledge of Christ, scripture, teachings and consistent righteous actions — in short practicing Catholicism. Fallen aways are those baptized Catholics who have left the Church and stopped practicing. To “convert” them means to have them return as practicing Catholics. Catholicism isn’t really just for intellectuals. My elementary age children understand its basics. If you’re confused, perhaps it’s because you’re reading bits and pieces of it from articles like this (which frankly are written for practicing Catholics). If you are truly interested in seeking to understand Catholicism, start somewhere else, at the beginning…maybe the RCIA classes at your closest parish or get Scott Hahn’s book “Rome Sweet Home.”

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Uh…no.I have zero interest in Roman Catholicism; I apologize for giving you that impression, Ms.Hazard.Having studied Catholicism extensively for years, there is nothing about the institution that appeals to me.Having said that, I hasten to add that I have known many wonderful people who professed themselves to be Catholics, and they are great people, Roman Catholicism notwithstanding. So…there it is. I trust that I was far more circumspect in my critique of you religion than your fellow blogger David Gray, who more than implied that Protestants are insane, and personally labeled me demon-possessed.How such insulting language is supposed to foster dialogue escapes me; perhaps dialogue wasn’t his intent.God Bless You.

    • Micha Elyi

      Having studied Catholicism extensively for years…
      —Laurence Charles Ringo

      Yeah, sure.

      …there is nothing about the institution that appeals to me.

      Something kept you interested for “years” enough to “stud(y) Catholicism extensively” (so you claim) and now that “Blessed are the peacemakers” and “honor thy father and thy mother” stuff is unappealing and just leaves you cold.

      I can see how you earned the label “demon-possessed”. Don’t get huffy and feel that was an insult, it’s a fact. Nor should you be upset about feeling that anyone might have insulted you; instead take it as an attempt to meet you on your own terms. After all, the idea that being insulting is not a good thing is a Catholic teaching and you rejected all that Catholicism stuff.

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  • JAK

    Love the article Anabelle. Keep up the good work!