A Message To Those Joining the Church


#1

Hi! I’m a fairly recent convert (been Catholic 7 years) and I know there are a few of you on this forum who may be starting your journey into the Church.

Maybe you’re here for information, advice, a paddle to help you row home. Maybe you’re here in the hopes of growing a Catholic family.

I was once where you are. I’ll never forget the months leading up to my conversion. It was the most exciting time. I remember all the stories from my Catholic family and friends.

I heard stories about people who felt the power of Christ upon receiving their first communion.

I heard stories of people driven to tears of joy.

I heard stories of all these wonderful, powerful, exciting Eucharistic moments upon reception into the Church.

The night of my confirmation I received the Eucharist… and there was no powerful spirit, there was no emotional impact… I went home that night and cried myself to sleep. Was there something wrong with me?

All these people had shared such powerful stories of their reception into the Church and I had felt nothing. I truly and honestly felt disappointment.

I struggled with that disappointment for months after but gradually got over it.

At the time I tried to reach out and talk to someone about the disappointment I was feeling but the reception was basically people telling me I obviously didn’t believe in the Eucharist because if I did I would have felt something…

As you can imagine, that reception did not help what I was feeling or struggling with.

But that’s why I’m here. I’m here to present a counter-balance to all the wonderful conversion stories you might be hearing. To calm the hype a little with some reality.

Not everyone will feel anything the night of their first communion/reception into the Church.

That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. Maybe you’re just less emotional than other people. Maybe God didn’t feel you needed such reassurance. Maybe it just isn’t your time for that kind of experience.

And it’s okay.

The Eucharist is still Christ.

You are still being received into the Church.

You are still now part of a much larger family in Christ.

It’s okay if that moment isn’t followed by profound signs from God and uncontrollable emotion.

We each are given exactly what we need.

Welcome home.


#2

I’m pretty much there right now. I’m not confirmed. I reverted about 7 months ago. I receive the Eucharist and understand its significance but it’s not transformative in any tangible way for me aside from being a daily reminder of God’s sacrifice for us and how we’re all united at that moment in the body of Christ. But I think something that often goes unmentioned (as you said) is that some people just aren’t as “emotional” as others. I certainly think I fall in that category, so it doesn’t surprise me that I feel like I’m just “going through the motions” when I receive it. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt. It draws me closer to God, and I have hope that the more I meditate on it and continue to receive it, the more intimate I’ll become with the true meaning of the Eucharist (maybe to the point where I do physically feel something when receiving it, who knows).


#3

<3 Thankfully God didn’t make us all alike so we each have our own gifts and will receive different graces from God.

I know I find it far easier to live a good Christian example when I’ve received Eucharist than when I haven’t so I know there are tangible effects but in the moment it really is a bit like ‘going through the motions’. But, we’re not the only ones feeling that way and it’s okay that we aren’t having as tangible or emotional a response.


#4

Exactly! The graces Jesus gives us are the same whether we feel it or not. The Eucharist is medicine for our weak souls. Sometimes we don’t feel the effects of this medicine; that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.


#5

Thank for your reassuring words.

I’m a very emotional person. Sometimes tears well up when I look up to gaze upon the consecrated host or sit in adoration. However, if for some reason, I don’t have a powerful emotional experience at my first communion, I will remember your words.

:slightly_smiling_face:


#6

Welcome home. <3


#7

Very well said. And yes, just because First Communion or any subsequent reception of the Eucharist isn’t attended by sudden overwhelming ecstatic emotion means…nothing. It’s not a Protestant “altar call.” Personally, I find quiet, humble thanksgiving very genuine.


#8

:+1:

Great point! Our experience of God’s grace isn’t an emotional one. (Yes, we can feel emotions, but they aren’t, strictly speaking, a necessary part of ‘proving’ the truth of our faith.)

One question for you, especially since, in another thread, you mentioned that you have volunteered to be part of your parish’s RCIA program: did your RCIA program have a period of mystagogy (or any other type of follow-up) following your reception of the sacraments at Easter? If not … you might be in a position to suggest that they do! Among other things, it’s a great opportunity to sit down with your fellow neophytes and discuss what your experience was (and what it wasn’t), and how you will proceed in your walk of faith in the Catholic Church!


#9

There was no such thing. i haven’t actually even heard of mystagogy!!! What on earth is that? Haha.

I look forward to helping RCIA candidates and presenting a less emotional outlook on everything. I also hope to be someone willing to discuss theology with them (even if I don’t full understand) since our RCIA group actively discouraged and theological discussion.


#10

I remember that St. Therese states in her autobiography that she was surprised, since she loved God so much, that she typically felt nothing at all receiving the Eucharist! I love St. Therese–she was so human and never tried to be “holier than thou.” The truth is many of us feel “nothing,” but God loves to work on us in small ways. What matters is not what we feel but how we trust in him.


#11

Hello,
Please know that NOTHING was/is wrong with you. No everyone has an emotion reaction, because honestly, it’s just that: emotion.

What matters more if not what you feel, but what you believe.

I highly suggest reading about the spiritual dryness that was felt by Mother Therese for many years. It’s truly inspirational to hear that Mother emotionally felt very spiritually dry. But she continued to push on.

God bless and welcome to Catholic Answers Forums.


#12

Ouch! It really is part of the experience! When I’ve been part of RCIA teams, I’ve found that it’s been an important way to give our neophytes the opportunity to discuss their experience. It also allows us to review what actually happened. (IIRC, Augustine preached that one cannot fully understand the sacraments until s/he’s experienced them personally. Once experienced, we can begin to understand them in a deeper and more full way!)

Yuck! Now, I’d agree that RCIA isn’t an academic class! It also isn’t meant to give a person the entirety of their catechesis! However, it does serve to give folks an introduction to what the Church teaches.

Perhaps theological discussion was discouraged due to a fear that it wouldn’t be presented accurately by the RCIA team?


#13

The sister running our class felt we wouldn’t be able to understand properly. She also discouraged reading the Catechism for the same reason.

I, however, thirsted for theological discussion coming in as a Protestant and not a new Christian.


#14

:scream:

And Father knew about this?!


#15

I don’t believe so. The Father didn’t start attending our classes until the last three classes. And those were the best classes. It truly felt like those last three were a gift from God after the pain of the ones that came before them!


#16

Might be a good idea to gently mention to Father that reading the Catechism was not encouraged. Seems like a dereliction of duty.


#17

Well, it is 7 years on with new leaders so things may have changed. :slight_smile:


#18

I went through the hyperemotional Protestant “altar call” experience many years ago. It didn’t last long. The Eucharist isn’t about an emotional high. It’s much more profound than that.


#19

I certainly hope their approach has changed!! What you went through is a crying shame.

We used This is Our Faith by Michael Pennock in my class, along with the Catechism, videos, and a whole team of people answering questions. Father also popped in and interrupted every class and gave us his opinions on our topic, which was great.

We had a few weeks after Easter Vigil to finish up the book and discuss, plus we watched Matthew Kelly’s 7 Pillars of Catholic Spirituality video seminar, which was fantastic.

My first Eucharist and Confirmation was very emotional for me. Transformational, actually…the feeling and experience lasted for a few weeks. But it doesn’t happen that way for everyone and I’m sorry people made you feel that it was typical.


#20

And, from well-intentioned but misled ideas like that, folks get the idea that the Catholic Church doesn’t want folks to read the Bible or learn the faith. :frowning:

Have you had a chance to read up on the teachings of the Church since then? I know you’re from Canada, but maybe you might like reading the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults? It’s written in a way that’s a whole lot more readable than the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (I don’t know whether the Canadian Bishops’ Conference has come out with a catechism of their own. Sorry. :man_shrugging:)

Anyway, it’s pretty awesome that you want to share your experiences – and your frustrations, and the way you’ve dealt with them – with future RCIA classes! :+1:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.