Nov 1, 2007

Letter to a Fallen-Away Goddaughter

Dear _______,

Your Mother told me she was very concerned about your physical danger and asked for prayers. It's very good news to know that you are all right.

My prior email that referred to the Didache, describing the way of Life and the way of Death, dealt with embracing truth or deceit. Truth means knowing God, knowing ourselves, distinguishing friends from enemies, and then learning about the rest of the world--in that order. Deceit means lying to ourselves and living in a world of spend-and-consume materialism and self-indulgent "feelings," which my husband contends are the bases for most social and spiritual problems.

You grew up in and were affected by the "If it feels good, do it!" world publicized by Jerry Rubin and Woodstock that advocated indiscriminate sex, the use of illegal drugs, and the abandonment of self-discipline and restraint. Worse, your Catholic education was an unfortunate byproduct of accepting portions of the "feel good" focus on one's self. The resulting societal evils that now challenge our younger generations are well described by a Catholic acquaintance of mine, Jack Cashell, who was interviewed extensively on TV yesterday evening. He penetrates and analyzes the always-advancing-to-the-pit California in his new book, What's the Matter with California. [Definitely read the extensive rebuttal to the Publishers' Weekly review comments--much further down the Amazon page.]

Until this past month, you were only being prayed for but not contacted. However, as you approach half your lifespan, you will likely begin to review your past life and may try to project your future. A "reality check" is a good basis for beginning the second half of your life.

Your mother, _______, and we pray almost daily for you to find a new life in Jesus Christ. He claims He is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life." So either Jesus is God (He says He is "I am Who am") or He is a liar. He can't be both. His Way and Life of truth and charity are either good or they are bad. Picking and choosing
(cafeteria-style) what to believe and follow from His teachings pretends we have two masters--Jesus and ourself.

Living my life in imitation of Christ (or at least trying to most of the time) has given me so many good things that I often say to myself that "I am the most blessed and gifted person in the entire world!" That is what I want you to be able to say someday.

Love, Your Godmother (dustiam)

[The above email is sitting in my DRAFTS box. I'd appreciate reader comments before I send it to a beloved, fallen-away Catholic.]


Alison said...

It is nice to see a godmother who takes her responsibility seriously.
I am trying to put myself in her shoes and think how I would respond if in her shoes. I think that I would be happy that someone cared about my soul. Of course, I don't always take criticism well and be prepared to risk your relationship. Still, we have to put friends above friendships. I do remember taking some criticism from a friend of my parents. I was not initially happy but I do think of it as some valuable. information and I am grateful.
My only question is that at one point it sounds like you don't have regular email contact with her but you refer in the previous paragraph to an email referring to the Didache. I would be careful if I didn't have the regular contact with her about email. Do you ever call her? It's just my thought. If you reguarly email her than I wouldn't worry. A letter might be a better option. A phone call would be putting her on the spot.

Dust I Am said...

Alison, thanks for your critique of my proposed letter. Fortunately, the email letter was not and will not be sent in its current form. During Mass yesterday evening my mind wandered as I struggled with the meaning of a question that my Goddaughter had asked in her email, and that is not answered satisfactorily in my letter. It's necessary to respond to her question before any progress can be made, and that will require a much more personal and less preachy letter that cannot be published here. Please pray that I don't flub it and she discontinues correspondence.