A person who is a newcomer to the faith has one big stamp written on their forehead and that is FRAGILE, HANDLE WITH CARE.
Here’s my guide to newbie or revert to the faith.
Do not invite them along to a Charismatic meeting.
Charismatic meetings are all about a relationship with God and praising him which is great and I’ll revisit why this is important in a bit. However the whole speaking in tongues and things that go on there like many coming over to lay their hands on you may be spiritually too much for a fish just fresh out of the depths of darkness in which his mind has been sullied and conditioned by secularist philosophy.
Like when you jump into icy cold water and feel the ”shock” you’re going to either want to get out right away …or…stay put and get used to it. Same happens when someone is exposed to too much spirituality. The devil uses this opportunity to suggest all sorts and will violently attack him. As a result of the attack a fight or flight response takes place and what I’ve found is the inevitable flight will happen and he’ll run a mile.
Remember beforehand to try to get a feel for his temperament when taking him anywhere. If you’re thinking of taking him to a prayer group full of intellectual yuppies who speak with a few ”marbles” in their mouth and he’s grown up in a poor area that’s deprived of this, then I wouldn’t bother.
Plunging him into such an environment the devil may suggest to him this is an uncomfortable situation and the church is full of these people only. You don’t want to end up like that do you? If change requires becoming like them then I’m outta here. All these conflicting thoughts will arise within him. He will feel terribly awkward to be succinct about it.
Therefore take him to a place you know he’ll be comfortable. If he likes rock music, you may think this will be a good environment for him in which there’s a retreat you know of that plays music he loves replaced with the words ”I LOVE YOU JESUS”.
Don’t do that because he may just end up hating the fact that you would use this music purposely to evangelize people like him. He’ll see through it and whilst you’re bouncing to the music and looking at him smiling, deep inside he is suffocating and can’t wait to get home.
Take him to a monastery or retreat where there is Gregorian chant or byzantine chant instead and at the very least choral music. This music is neutral. It’s why most public elevators play classical music, because it’s generally something everyone can appreciate and the music fits within the context of who the church is.
Don’t have spiritual conversations about the churches social teachings or at least try to avoid them. Often newcomers who like the idea of Jesus and going to church are still trying to reconcile their belief in gay marriage, homosexuality, sex outside marriage and contraception with this new-found environment.
Because it’s been so heavily programmed into him by the Film, government, and media industry, it’s not easy letting go of this and beause it’s the last thing he’ll let go of, its the first thing we should avoid talking about.
This leads me back to what I said earlier about revisiting the relationship with the Lord. It is more important that you try to get the man you’re trying bring back to church develop a relationship with the Lord first. why? because you always become what you love. When I was first coming back to the faith I thought masturbation , sex outside marriage was fine. One could be a Catholic and have a healthy belief in these things.
However, the more I developed a relationship with God through the Sacraments, prayer and listening to the priests homilies the more I began to Love God. The more I began to love God the more his teachings made sense. Why? because Love for God brings with it a response of Grace necessary for conversion.
Remember that until we are dead to ourselves we are not converted. Until we repent with hot steaming tears of our sins and no longer cry for our own sins but for Jesus crucified on the cross THAT is when conversion takes place. therefore leave the intellectual battles out of it if you can help it.
A new comer says to you ”So I think its ok to masturbate I mean it’s not much of a sin”. Right ok so he’s cornered you. but there is a way out of it. I simply respond. ”I understand why you would feel this way, and many others do, but just keep going to confession, Mass and praying the rosary whenever possible and sure that will suffice for now.”
I always try to avoid any conversation which will get us into a heated debate. This is a trick of the devil who is constantly trying to discourage both you and your friend. Don’t fall for it. Look for a way out of it immediately . Now if he is the kind of person with a temperament and who seems like the kind of guy who you can argue with and you know you’ve an answer for him then by all means go ahead but such people are rare in my opinion.
Don’t police the new comer either. Don’t wander around telling him he’s kneeling wrong or forgot to cross himself as he pass the tabernacle. Remember, he’s just tipping his toes in the water and you’re coming along with a giant sledgehammer for what is the mere breaking of sand. No need to do that. Again your ability to convert someone will also depend upon you’re own relationship with God and your closeness to Christ. This will determine your success in planting seeds. Remember that those who are close to God will cunningly gather the flock whilst the well meaningful traditionalists often scatter the flock and this is because the beam in their eye ( conditioning of the world ) has yet to be fully removed and so like a blind man leading another blind man they end up falling into the pit and going around in circles and never really getting anywhere in terms of progress.
Aim to be a well-rounded Catholic. St.John Paul II was this kind of man as is Pope Francis. It’s why the youth loved John Paul and why they love Francis. If you do this then like the tree in the gospel many will be attracted to you and come to rest in your branches seeking guidance and shelter.
Conversion is a mixed bag of tricks. Sometimes a good argument may help, other times taking them to a beautiful retreat or church. But there must be one we put emphasis on even though all three are workable. The emphasis on a relationship with God is prime because it’s here the most Grace will be distributed and then all the other stuff just falls into place then and everything will make sense for the friend you’re trying to evangelize.
Therefore try to instill within them a relationship with God. These are broken people so handle with care because you don’t want to be the person who harms one of them. Jesus already told us what happens people who scandalize the little ones. Try not to be that rigid Catholic or progressive type. Aim for the narrow path.