Don’t Lose Heart

December 26 2022 | by

Dear Mr. Pfister, Christmas is fast approaching and my husband and I are finding ourselves starting to worry about holding conversations with our children and their spouses. Most of them have left the Faith, and therefore our relationships and ability to communicate with them has waned significantly. We have very little in common anymore – we can’t talk about faith, current events, politics, or just about anything else because their beliefs are all opposed to the teachings of the Catholic Church in every way imaginable. How do we navigate these differences in order to truly enjoy our time together as a family?  


While Christmas and other such important days of celebration are meant to be enjoyed by families throughout the world, in today’s modern society this is not always, or even often, the case. Families, such as yours, are divided based on many subjects, such as politics, social and economic views, and most importantly, faith.

When I think about situations like this, I’m often reminded of the words of Our Lord in the Gospel of Matthew: “Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s enemies shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:34-38).

In this passage He speaks to us of the reality of what following Him entails: we will not be accepted by those who refuse to follow Him.

In light of this, how do we go about interacting with those who are not willing to follow Our Lord? There are a few principles to keep in mind:

First, we pray deeply and often for their return to the Faith, because this will allow for enjoyable and easy conversation. Second, we engage in the practices outlined by Dr. Gregory and Lisa Popcak in their Liturgy of Domestic Church Life. This includes exhibiting extravagant affection and affirmation, exhibiting prompt, generous, cheerful, and consistent attention to one’s needs, and engaging in established or newly-created family rituals.

Exhibiting extravagant affection and affirmation includes acts that share God’s love for us with our family members. We affirm what is good and show love for one another freely and without condition. Exhibiting prompt, generous, cheerful, and consistent attention to one’s needs allows us to strengthen the relationships through our actions. Both of these practices bring God’s love to them through our words and behaviors. Engaging in established or newly-created family rituals – such as Christmas traditions like making and enjoying special meals together, watching Christmas movies together, and playing certain games during this time spent together – allows for topics of conversation that bring to the present the goodness of the past and the memories of it that we treasure.  

As was said previously, when we engage in these actions we increase the quality of our relationships, which in turn will facilitate topics easily shared and discussed. Through this we can foster a deeper love for one another, and through this deeper love we can bring to them the love of Our Blessed Lord. His love is our greatest support in facilitating conversation and connection, and bringing our children back to the Faith.

Use this time to deepen and strengthen your family’s relationships in order to foster healing within the family and to strengthen its future.

Updated on November 29 2022