I am always trying to come up with good metaphors to use to get through to my three adult, fallen away Catholic kids. I can't fault them entirely. When they were growing up, I didn't know that there was still a choice. I was grieving the loss of my Church and just doing the best that I could.
I can still recall the first time that I walked into St. Joseph's Traditional Catholic Church after 40 years of wandering, lost, in the desert. When Mass started, I didn't have a clue what was going on. My twelve years of training before everything fell apart were just a foggy memory.
I remember frantically leafing through the St. Joseph's Daily Missal that I'd miraculously held on to all those years, trying to keep up and figure out where the heck everyone else was. At the very first Dominus Vobiscum, I felt my heart skip a beat and a smile spread across my face that I just could not wipe off. After the last Gospel, when Father knelt down at the foot of the altar to begin the Hail Mary, tears welled up in my eyes; I was finally home.
But the damage had already been done. Sometimes, I feel as though it had been better if they had gone to public school. Perhaps no training at all was better than indoctrination into the ecumenical ways of Vatican II.
It was no surprise then, when, one by one, they all stopped going to Mass or even praying. I had become a self-righteous holy roller who thought herself holier than everyone else. How does a parent undo the spiritual lethargy purposely programmed into children for the sake of a cleverly planned out agenda?
I struggled to come up with something that would not only appeal to their logical side—avoiding the whole "holy" thing as much as possible—and also in a way with which they would feel familiar.
"YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT"
I was told by one of them, not too long ago, that he "didn't believe in 'that'" ("that" being, I assumed, to be an overall rejection of the Ten Commandments and the existence of hell). Having received that "can you come bail me out" phone call from my boys on more than one occasion, this is what I finally came up with:
"Suppose you went to a bar, got wasted, then were stopped by the police on the way home and blew a '3.0.' What do you think would happen?"
The answer, of course, is "I would go to jail."
"Correct. Now what if you decided that the drunk driving laws were cramping your style and ruining all of your fun. So you chose 'not to believe in them,' went out and got wasted, got stopped again and blew another '3.0'.
"And when the police approached your car, you explained to him that you 'didn't believe in that law.' Do you think that he would say, 'Oh, okay. Since you don't believe in it, we will not hold you responsible'?"
The response to that is generally a deer-in-the-headlights sort of reaction as they try to process the ridiculousness of such a situation.
"How then," (you jump in while they are still processing), "can you think that you can ignore the Ten Commandments, do whatever you please, and not be held accountable?"
In a society of rules and regulations, it is ludicrous to think that the rules can be ignored with no ramifications. That's just how it is. It is no different with God.
"You do the crime, you do the time."