This is a topic that is very close to my heart and has caused me great pain throughout my life. Also, with the now very obvious of the polarization of the children of light and the children of darkness, this topic is extremely important today. The Lord has more times than not, given me a front row ticket to watching the destruction of my loved ones, and every single time, since I was a child, I can also see Satan and his crew in the background, sneering and laughing at me. I think we have all experienced this to one degree or another, and I just want to share some inspiration and practical advice for what to do when it seems, all hope is lost.
The first thing I want to say is that Our Lord and Our Lady understand and are always there to comfort us when we have the experience of watching someone run in the wrong direction. When we see our loved ones on the comfortable paved road and know that up ahead there's a cliff that leads to their end. We try to get them on our road, but our road isn't all that fun sometimes and is most certainly NOT paved. The ways of the Lord is a wonderful gift that most people won't even take the time to accept, let alone open no matter how much we scream or cry, or beg. Our Lord and Our Lady experienced and experience intimate sorrow with us when souls are lost. They are there with us through the tears and the frustrations and a sword pierces their hearts for every soul that is lost. I have frequently found myself crying at the foot of the cross, asking the Lord to help me understand why. Why people choose the wrong way when presented with the opportunity to follow Him or to follow Satan/self/the world. I have spent countless hours of my life, begging Him to please just help me find the right worlds or be a better example for these lost souls, but the answer is always the same. He always reminds me that the world rejected Him to the point of betrayal and death.
However, there is another message in the cross, and from Our mother. Sacrifice. Not everyone rejected the Lord, and the ones that accepted Him were able to do so through sacrifice. Hope lies in sacrifice. It took me many years to learn that when people are consumed by darkness, they literally CAN NOT see the light. No amount of crying or begging or convincing from other humans is going to change their mind, you might as well be speaking a foreign language, and to make matters worse, I have even found myself in situations where I get caught up in the darkness and sins of others, by trying to bring them to the light so to speak. If there is someone in your life that you love, and that refuses to fight off the demons, sins, and temptations, there is an answer but it is counter intuitive. The answer is first of all to never give up hope for this person, because only God knows who can and will be saved. This is especially the case if this person has been baptized into the church, because the Lord can work miracles through the sacraments of the church. Second of all sometimes you have to walk away in the physical realm. If their darkness is a threat to you, do not call them, do not visit, do not check in on them, especially if it is a romantic situation or some other situation that may make YOU betray the Lord and his laws...I assure you I am speaking from experience. This may seem like the opposite of what we should be doing, since the Lord commands us to love one another. But how does he tell us to love one another? Well first he tells us to love Him above all, which means our loyalty to Him and His laws comes first. Then he tells us to love one another as He has loved us (John 15:12). How did He love us?....well just look at the cross. Sacrifice. He laid down our lives for us and we are to do that for each other. Now obviously this doesn't always mean to the death, but we can and need to make daily sacrifices for each other. This looks like fasting, this looks like giving up some earthly pleasure for the conversion of someone's soul...and by the way be careful when you throw yourself at the foot of the cross and tell the Lord you will do anything for the conversion of so and so....I did this recently and the answer I got back was to give up wine as an acceptable sacrifice.....so that's annoying, and I must really love this person LOL, but I digress. The point is this, Souls are paid for with sacrifices. Obviously people have free will BUT the Lord can and will bless lost souls with mercy and graces because of the sacrifices and prayers of his faithful. Patience obtains all things in the words of Saint Teresa of Avila. Moral of the story stop talking, stop begging, stop crying, stop checking on the person and most of all STOP despairing. We are not powerless in this battle, we can get souls out of enemy territory but we have to do it wisely because we are greatly outnumbered. Most importantly, we have to stay in a state of grace to be effective. You'll know when the person converts because they will either tell you in the physical world or you'll learn about it in the spiritual world when you get to Heaven DO NOT GIVE UP.
In the words of Our Lady of Fatima; "Many souls go to hell because there is none to make sacrifices and pray for them."
I came home from Iraq in 2010 at the age of just 20 years old. like many of my generation, I struggled for years with trying to find my place in the world (sometimes with disastrous consequences). I often felt restless and that everything I was ever going to do paled in comparison to the war I had just been a part of. Oh how wrong I was. The Lord in all of his mercy woke me up to the fact that the most important battle I will ever fight is one that can't always be seen; The one for my soul and for the souls around me. It is against powers and principalities who influence the earthly enemies I had just encountered. Over the last 5 years or so, I have become intimately aware of this battle, and more importantly how to fight it! Although the weapons are different, the concepts are the same. My mission is now to share my knowledge with others, especially my fellow combat veterans who are struggling in the midsts of dysfunction or an identity crisis. I assure you brothers and sisters, we are in the fight of our lives.