Help Evangelizing my brother
#1
I've been inspired by the story of Our Lady of the Miracle (http://www.marypages.com/ratisbonneEng1.htm) and wanted try a similar approach with him, but he's resisting. He already has a green scapular, and he says "it's enough," he says the main reason he's refusing it is because he "just doesn't believe in it." I plan on trying again later today, and I'm going to argue on the lines of "what are you afraid of" and "why are the brief moments of rising and retiring so precious to you, what are using them for?" Could anyone give me more advice on how to persuade him?
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#2
What religious background does your brother have? What's important to him? What does he believe?

I can try helping with some of this information in mind.
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#3
(07-03-2017, 05:08 PM)MaryLover Wrote: I've been inspired by the story of Our Lady of the Miracle (http://www.marypages.com/ratisbonneEng1.htm) and wanted try a similar approach with him, but he's resisting. He already has a green scapular, and he says "it's enough," he says the main reason he's refusing it is because he "just doesn't believe in it." I plan on trying again later today, and I'm going to argue on the lines of "what are you afraid of" and "why are the brief moments of rising and retiring so precious to you, what are using them for?" Could anyone give me more advice on how to persuade him?

You know your brother more than anyone here. My advice is to first pray for him, for conversion is brought upon by man cooperating with Divine Grace. Pray that your brother will receive the Grace necessary to convert, and then do what you can to assuage any fears or doubts he may have.

My two bits.

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#4
(07-03-2017, 05:30 PM)In His Love Wrote: What religious background does your brother have? What's important to him? What does he believe?

I can try helping with some of this information in mind.

He's an atheist. He was raised, very lukewarm Catholic by my father.
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Hail Mary!
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#5
(07-03-2017, 07:26 PM)MaryLover Wrote:
(07-03-2017, 05:30 PM)In His Love Wrote: What religious background does your brother have? What's important to him? What does he believe?

I can try helping with some of this information in mind.

He's an atheist. He was raised, very lukewarm Catholic by my father.

That's probably one of the saddest non-Catholic states to be in because there's very little, if any hope in that worldview.

You could casually try to mention things like how it doesn't make any sense for all this order to come out of chaos; the law of entropy says that things left to their own devices (as they would in an atheistic worldview) get worse, not better. If he'll listen, show him the scientific studies done on Eucharistic miracles, and how the consecrated Hosts were found to be living hearts with AB blood.

Honestly, I know it's cliche, but one of the most important things you can do is lead by example. Let him see how your faith has positively affected your life. Also, pray the Rosary for him every day. If you want to ask a certain saint other than Our Lady for help, try St. Philomena, St. Jude, or St. Rita of Cascia. St. Philomena was canonized solely on the basis of her powerful intercession and subsequent miracles attributed to her, and the other two are saints for difficult cases.
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#6
Many times it gets to a point when arguing and debating becomes useless. I think it is best to try to live the holiness that God is calling you to live.
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#7
If he is trapped in secular materialism, I would propose to follow these steps, one after another. You have to convince him that:

1. The soul is immortal and there is a higher intelligence who created the world: 

I was convinced of this by reading several books about near death experiences. Science really can't explain them. For Christians, the best book on the subject is "Imagine Heaven" by John Burke (It is by a Protestant author, but as I said: one step after another).

2. Christianity gives the best answer to explain moral truths we all take for granted.

Only Christianity affirms the primacy of love and personhood and believes in unchangeable moral truths. In this stage, I'd recommend "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis.

3. Once you convince him of the Truth of Christianity and of the fact that Jesus is God, you have to prove that the New Testament is a reliable account of his life and teaching.

That's the biggest issue in European Catholicism: most theologians believe that the gospels were written many, many decades after Christ's death and that the claims about his divinity were slowly developed by his disciples. As an antidote to this fallacy, I'd recommend "The case for Christ" by Brant Pitre.

4. Once he believes that the Bible and early Church tradition is reliable, you must convince him that the Catholic Church developed these traditions in the way that was intended by Christ.

To reach this goal, you can use any of the materials that are used to convert Protestants.

And in the meanwhile, keep praying Rosaries for him :-)
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#8
I can tell you my journey to the Faith came via prayer.  

Before coming into the Church, I had just tried to convert to Judaism, but had to move to an area with no synagogue.  Being away from it, I began to think more about reverting to Christianity.  I was seeking to become Jewish after being a militant anti-theist agnostic (read the Hitchen's book, got the cookie, hated religion for causing war and ruining the world; hated God for ruining my life).  Simply put, I had a grudge against Our Lord. My moving from secularism to religion, was a desire to have stability and community in my life.  I wanted to have a family and a good wife, who was moral like me.  I didn't want an atheist, because I didn't like me and I didn't want a copy of me.  So I saw Judaism as a way to fulfill my desire for religion and still remain anti-Christ.  It wasn't easy though, although I bought the Jewish anti-Christian narrative and was well on my way to being a good little Jewish boy and probably go Hassid with the beards and tassels, God had other plans.

I remember distinctly while driving to the synagogue on a Sunday (day after Jewish shabat), thinking to myself "What am I doing?"  I remember seeing the priests and laity leave a little Church that was in a run-down neighborhood by the freeway.  I remember seeing the roman collars and the white albs (it was your typical traditional "ghetto" Church, you know, the only one that offers the proper Mass in the Traditional Latin Form in your diocese; strategically placed to repel potential converts).  I don't know what it was, I never had a desire to be Catholic, I thought they were goofy.  I didn't loathe them, I was sad when JPII died, and I went to Catholic Masses before and ignorantly received Him unworthily numerous times in NYC.  Although I envied the Catholics for the ability to go to "church" it seemed whenever they wanted --- us Prots had to wait until Sunday --- I certainly did not wish to join the Papist cult.  Yet there was something that kept calling me to look from afar, like Moses at the Promise Land.  

I remember driving to the Jewish school screaming in my car angry at God "WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME!!!"  I remember the moment that Judaism was not going to be for me when I attended Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.  Rosh Hashana I was sitting in the shul basement, hearing all of these beautiful Hebrew prayers and the blowing of the Shofar horn.  It must have been on the eighth "tik-ea" prayer and the blowing of the Shofar, that somehow my mind told me that God was absent.  I didn't feel Him.  I felt a sextmillennial race of people clinging to their traditions, and it was beautiful --- I would later find out it was younger than Catholicism --- but I did not feel His Presence.  

Then on Yom Kippur, I saw the service on the holiest of the High Holy Days.  The rabbis were dressed in white robes (normal Shabat service, they normally wore suits), and the synagogue was lit with candles and there was a choir singing this time.  I don't think the Hammer of Thor could have smacked me in the face any harder that night.  There was a *click* in my mind, I knew that a simple Sunday service in a Christian church was a succession of Judaism, it was to take the only holy day and repeat it every week to commemorate Christ Risen.  Yom Kippur was a day of atonement and repentance, and Sunday was that day every week.  It all fit like a perfect little jigsaw puzzle in my mind.  It was all understood in my mind that night, but there was a little problem.  I couldn't come back to Christianity, I had spent years raging against Him.  I had convinced myself that Jesus was not the Lord, not the Messiah, that Christianity had committed enumerable evils.

Still, I finally decided to give up the grudge because as I had time away from Judaism I realized I would have made a mistake.  I told my mother that I was considering joining a church again, but I told her that I wanted a Lutheran experience similar to what I had years ago when I lived in NY, where it was reverent, full of ecclesiastical pomp and flair.  My mother said that I probably was never going to find a Lutheran church that would serve those needs, she said I would be either Episcopalian or Catholic.  "Eww!" I thought to myself, "Catholic.  Would I dare cross the Tiber and become a papist with all of their wacky rules and rituals?"  

I couldn't convince myself to try Episcopalianism, even though I had considered it.  I knew they supported anti-Biblical things like sodomical unions, which remnants of my anti-theism called bullsh*t on.  I could never join an organization that were hypocrites, claim they are formed from the Bible and not even follow a widely accepted tenant of it.

I mustered up the willpower to swallow the bitter pill and walk into the Catholic Church with the intention of becoming a papist.  I met a wonderful, faithful man who was the Parish Coordinator and RCIA director.  He unfortunately informed me with it being December, and RCIA starting in late-August, that the course was too far in for me.  He gave me a book to read and said he would follow up.  Later in the Spring, while I was full in living a secular life (porn, college, and no sense of prayer, unless it was requesting something I wanted selfishly) I got a call "Did you read the book?" said the RCIA director.  "Uhh...Yeah, Sure!" I said.  "Great!" he exclaimed, "I have another one for you, whenever you want to come down.  Perhaps Saturday?"

"Yeah...Sure, I'll be there."
"Great! See you then.  Take care!"

I remember closing my cell phone shut and thinking to myself how I literally lied through my teeth.  I did not read that book, it was a nice dust-collecting paper weight.  Still he was a guy whom I respected and was very gentle, yet enthusiastic.  I couldn't let him down, I don't know why since I've let down friends before and weakly backed out; this was a stranger, what would be the difference?
I remember walking down the sidewalk to the parish rectory mumbling to myself that this was a huge mistake, that I should turn back, but I kept going.  I simply convinced myself to see what may happen.  I remember him handing me a second book on the Mass (a book I still believe I have in my possession and still have not fully read), and I remember the lip-service I paid about reading the second book.  Well why read books when there is a cornucopia of tv shows, movies, porn, and video-games.  So I had two lovely dust-collecting paper-weights.

I remember the email I received mid-August.  It said that RCIA was starting up again and wanted to know whether or not I wanted to sign up.  I was assured it cost no money and I was told that I could back out at anytime.  I felt comfortable that I was not being pressed into it with fears of hellfire and damnation.  I still was hesitant, I didn't want to attend.  I had better things to do with my evenings, I had school, I had priorities.  I still persuaded myself to attend, under the pretext that A): I could leave whenever I wanted; and B): If I didn't attend now, then perhaps in the immediate future I would get the religion itch again and it would be too late, and I would have to wait another year.  So I took the plunge and met a nice retired couple and they asked me "Do you have a sponsor?"
"Uhh..." I thought to myself, "I didn't think I was supposed to have one."
"Well, that's OK" they said with a chuckle, "We guess we could take you in"

The rest is history.  I swam the Tiber, I gave up porn completely, I became a Catholic on Easter that next year, and got married a year after that.

I can only say that my journey was the result of the actions occurring in the background.  My dear mother.  She was glad that I was comfortable with my faith in NYC, and that I found a nice niche in the little local Lutheran church.  She was distraught when I came back home, fell into deep depression and came out of it a jaded, cynical, "atheist".  Every-night she would pray to God, pleading to Him with her heart "Please God, save my son, don't let him be like this!", she would pray every night and suffer my abuses as I would attack Christ, Christianity, and religion in general.  It was only then that I came home one day and told my mom I was in the process of learning to become Jewish.  That was when my mom changed her prayer ever so slightly: "Lord, I thank you for turning my son away from atheism, but perhaps I wasn't specific enough.  Lord you know he was sealed with the cross of Christ.  Please see to it that he comes back to the faith."  

Her prayers did not go in vain, God worked with grace and I answered.  It really is a humiliating thing to ponder.  How my coming to the One, True, Faith was not a result of a set of actions I had taken on my own volition, but was the direct result of me cooperating with Divine Grace.  Still God tends to store up miracles and blessings and do things that we never even thought of asking for, but are eternally grateful when He blesses us.  My mother, although Lutheran ---unbeknownst to the family--- was actually a Roman Catholic! She had secretly became a Catholic in her teen years but fell away due to familial conflicts.  Her story of conversion and reversion, is an amazing tale in itself, but I will spare you all a voluminous addendum.  While in the process of becoming a Catholic, I worked with my mother to get her to come back to the Faith.  I answered all her questions, even challenging her "You claim to not want to be Roman Catholic, but why have you carried that Rosary in your purse all these years?"  Still it came down to prayer.  No one convinced me to be Roman Catholic, I chose to be.  I chose to be because my mother was praying for my soul and God Our Father in Heaven was answering them.  Now I was giving it back by praying for her soul.  She told me that the defining moment was when she talked with one of her relatives that she didn't speak much to, and that conversation had an impact on her.  She said that some of the things I said were convincing and did help, but it was that moment that finally pushed her over the edge.

Long story short, I became a Catholic.  A year later after re-instruction, my mother came back home.  Is it really just a coincidence that the name I chose for my Confirmation was Saint Augustine?



May God answer your prayers and save your brother, but remember to pray without ceasing!
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