There are probably few things harder to deal with than watching a loved one resist a deeper conversion to Christ. This loved one may be a fallen away son or daughter, parent, spouse, or friend; they may be complacent, rebellious, or uninterested; they may be a cradle Catholic or an unbeliever.
Regardless of their specific situation, you care about them very much and you wish you could do something to help draw them into spiritual conversion. You've probably discovered that dropping hints, giving suggestions, or downright pleading doesn't seem to do much good. They won't read the Catholic books you give them, or come to Mass, or listen to your Scott Hahn CDs. So what's a good Catholic to do in these situations?
The answer: Super Top-Secret Covert Ops!
Luckily, you aren't left without resources. The Catholic Church has these wonderful little things called sacramentals, which are material objects that represent graces that are obtained through prayer. What does this mean, and how can it help your loved one?
According to the Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy, sacramentals are
- Sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments: they signify effects, particularly of a spiritual kind, which are obtained through the Church's intercession.
- By them men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions in life are rendered holy.
- Thus, for well-disposed members of the faithful, the liturgy of the sacraments and sacramentals sanctifies almost every event in their lives;
- They are given access to the stream of divine grace which flows from the paschal mystery of the passion, death, the resurrection of Christ, the font from which all sacraments and sacramentals draw their power.
- There is hardly any proper use of material things which cannot thus be directed toward the sanctification of men and the praise of God.
The bonus is that you can use sacramentals completely under the radar. Here are three sacramentals that are known for their conversion power, along with ideas on how to use them to covert your loved one (without them ever knowing it!)
Covert Tactic #1: The Green ScapularThe Green Scapular was given by Our Lady for the purpose of conversion. The Green Scapular contains an image of Mary holding her heart on one side, and on the other side the Immaculate Heart of Mary surrounded by a prayer that reads, “Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us, now and at the hour of our death.” The visionary to whom the Green Scapular was given was told that by its use Mary would obtain conversions for sinners, especially the fallen away and unbelievers. This is done through devotion to her Immaculate Heart.
- Secret Op: Simply have a priest bless the scapular and then slip it unnoticed into your loved one's belongings. Then, each day, with devotion, pray the prayer of the Green Scapular on behalf of your loved one.
Covert Tactic #2: The St. Benedict MedalSt. Benedict is well-known for having performed many miracles that overcame the power of nefarious spirits. As such, the Saint Benedict Medal is recognized as a powerful tool against the devil. It contains Latin acronyms for the following exorcism prayers: "May his presence protect us in the hour of death,""Be gone Satan! Suggest not to me thy vain things”, The cup thou profferest me is evil; drink thou thy poison," and,"May the holy Cross be my light; let not the dragon be my guide."Because of its power against evil, the St. Benedict Medal has many uses. One of these uses is to obtain for sinners the grace of conversion.
- Secret Op: After having the St. Benedict Medal blessed, hide it in your loved one's car, or bury it in their yard, or otherwise sneak it into their belongings. Because this medal is so popular it comes in many forms and sizes, perfect for being inconspicuous.
Covert Tactic #3: Holy WaterHoly water is well-known throughout the history of the Church for being a great way to ward off evil spirits. When the priest blesses the holy water one of the beautiful prayers used says: “Lord, God Almighty, creator of all life, of body and soul, we ask you to bless this water: as we use it in faith forgive our sins and save us from all illness and the power of evil. Lord, in your mercy give us living water, always springing up as a fountain of salvation; free us, body and soul, from every danger, and admit us to your presence in purity of heart.” Holy Water has been commended as a great help against evil by one of the great saints, St. Theresa of Avila.
- Secret Op: While your loved one isn't around, sprinkle Holy Water on anything they use. As you sprinkle the Holy Water you can say, “By Thy precious Blood and by this Holy Water, cleanse (him/her) from (his/her) sins, O Lord.” Since the Holy Water is already on your fingers, go ahead and bless yourself too!
It's important to remember that prayer is the means by which God chooses to accomplish things, and sacramentals are simply blessed objects that represent this. Sacramental are not magic, but they are material witnesses or signs of the unseen. When blessed by a priest, they are sacred objects that represent the spiritual reality of the intercessory prayers taking place in heaven and on earth for your loved one.
Sacramentals are a great means of grace that God gives us because he loves us, and he generously gives us many ways to intercede for ourselves and our loved ones. Do you know of any other covert tactics to convert your loved ones? Has anything worked for you in the past?