A number of years ago, my husband I taught RCIA. I was a pretty new Catholic myself then. If I knew then what I know now, RCIA would have been a whole lot different, and I probably would have been “fired” pretty quickly.
One young woman who came into the Church under our watch has been in my line of vision ever since then. She didn’t make it to every RCIA class, and she missed the important stuff about chastity and artificial contraception. Shortly after being received into the Church she informed me quite happily that she was living with her (also Catholic) boyfriend and was pregnant.
Well, eventually they did get married in the Church, and now she has two children, both of whom have been baptized. I brought up the contraception with her at one point (privately, of course) because of a public statement she made on Face Book, and she told me then that she wasn’t going to Mass because she didn’t agree with Church teaching in several areas.
Recently, this young woman’s father died, and she is devastated. I feel sad for her, not only because she has lost her father, but because she lacks the “tools” to deal with her grief – the faith that the Church teaches. She thinks her non-Catholic father went straight to Heaven, so will she pray for the repose of his soul?! I doubt it. Her FB status today said, “When just a month has seemed like a lifetime, what is the rest of my life going to feel like??”
I want so badly to talk to her about eternity. She seems so completely tethered to the temporal sphere! Nothing she has said about her father’s death indicates any kind of Catholic understanding of death, judgment, Heaven, or Hell, let alone purgatory. There seems to be little or no comprehension about what “eternity” means, no comprehension of what it means to fight the good fight here on earth so that we can get to Heaven, no awareness of the salvific value of suffering.
Alas, she is unlikely to want to discuss these issues with me!
And, another alas – she is not the only one of our “converts” to stray from the fold.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.