Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Don't write anyone off

As the old year ends and the new one begins, don’t write anyone off.

Msgr. Charles Pope shares the following story:
 “...I know a man (who is now deceased) but he told me his story, of how he was raised in the Church, got all his Sacraments, went to Church regularly, and was a God-fearing man. But in his early 40s he descended into alcoholism, began to be unfaithful to his wife, stopped going to Church and was dismissive of God. Were you or I to have seen him at that time, we might have easily concluded it looked bad. But somewhere in his early 60s, he knows not how, (except that someone was praying for him), he pulled out of his rebellion and re-entered the vineyard. He sought help for his drinking and reconciled with his wife and children. Daily mass, weekly confession, daily rosary, and Stations of the Cross, yes, when he returned, he really returned. But he said to me he had done a lot of sinning, and now it was time to do a lot of praying, making up for lost time, as he put it. He died a penitent in the bosom of the Church.
You just never know. Don’t write anyone off. Nothing stabs evangelization in the heart more that the presumption by many of us that someone is an unlikely candidate for conversion. Keep praying and keep working. Jesus tells us of a son who told his father to buzz off, but later repented and went into the vineyard. Pray, hope and work, you just never know. Don’t give up.”
Earlier today a group of folks were sharing their highlights of 2013.  One man (who apparently does not have a drinking problem but works the Al-Anon program) stated that his most significant highlight for the year was a call from his best friend who has had a drinking problem for the past 27 years  and to whom he had given a copy of Alcoholics Anonymous in 2011. He was thrilled to hear that his old friend had finally begun reading the gift book two months ago, attended AA meetings and was beginning to work the 12 steps with a sponsor.  Don’t write anyone off.

Regarding Venerable Matt Talbot, his mother, Elizabeth, prayed for Matt and other family members years before Matt finally gave up alcohol. She never gave up.