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Q & A with Father Anthony



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It seems I went wrong somewhere.

Megan asks:

I have been praying to have a son or a daughter chosen by Our Father to spread His love and teachings, since before I married my husband nearly 21 years ago. With great disappointment, my two oldest do not even hear Mass on Sundays let alone think of God's plans for them. My youngest is not too keen either although he still goes to his doctrine lessons. What can I do? It seems I went wrong somewhere.

Dear Megan,

You can easily understand now how St Monica felt when her son Augustine was still trying every fad and wandering very far from God, and breaking her own heart in the process. You are not the first parent nor will you be the last to ask yourself what went wrong. But it is good to see you are not dwelling on that question (we all make mistakes, but the actions of others are not due only to our mistakes, there were many other influences in their lives, and on top of all this, they have their own free will that God respects) and you are now asking what you can do.

The principal answer may sound trite, either because we might not really value it or because we think we have tried it already and it hasn't worked. Prayer. One of the principal qualities of prayer is perseverance. We can never say it hasn't worked, because we can still apply it once more. When we pray, God has his mind on more than giving us immediately what we pray for, even though it is something as spiritual and good as the conversion and salvation of a son or daughter. That conversion is something he is not going to be able to effect without the correspondence of the individual himself, and it can be a long journey for that to happen. Although at times we wish he would do so, (“Come on, get the job done, Lord.”), he will never override anyone's freedom. That is where our perseverance in prayer comes in. We can merit through our perseverance the graces a person needs in order to make the small changes that open the way to larger graces. In the process, through our own prayer God purifies us as more and more sincerely we seek only his will, we become willing to do anything to help that person we love, we offer ourselves to God as a sacrifice for that person's good. This draws us closer to God's heart and so God can make saints of us too.

As you pray, don't neglect to apply any human means you can think of. At your son's age, he may be more inclined to follow encouragement from his father rather than from his mother. It may be the time to link him with youth groups that mix a certain amount of adventure and activity with practice of the faith, etc.

Be sure of my prayers,

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