Any advice for a tired, lapsed catholic?

Hi all

Just wondering if you guys had any advice for a tired lasped catholic, fed up to the back teeth with secularism but unable to get back into the swing of the religion I was born and baptised into.

I tried a while back to go to mass, at least every sunday. It lasted about a month. I just kinda faded away from the church again and now dont bother. I started to read the bible for a while, and got fed up with that too. I bought prayer books and stuff but got fed up reading and saying them.

I have no idea why though. I just seem to get a little bit fired up, then it just seems to fizzle out real quick.

I just dont seem to be able to be consistent and committed. There must be something seriously lacking in my faith but I dont know what it is. I;ve toyed with other religions but never seriously. I kinda just resigned myself to the fact that I was born a catholic, was brought up as a catholic and I’ll always be a catholic in name anyhow.

And I do KNOW a lot of you wont consoder me a catholic as I dont practice the faith, but I just dont know what to do about finding that fizz again.

Any ideas?

BikeCop.

If you read quite a bit, may I suggest some Catholic books? There is one by Thomas Merton called Seven Story Mountain that had me quite riveted because it is an autobiography of sorts. It was about his faith and how he became Catholic after living a life searching for the truth.

Reading biographies such as this or from others in your situation might help you get back into the swing of things…

Hi Bikecop,
Here’s my take on your situation. Praise God that you are trying!! :thumbsup:

My two pieces of advice for you are:

Pray as you get out of bed that God will open your heart to His will. Then when you go to bed thank Him for guiding you…even if you don’t recognize a single thing that He has done. It works!

None of us were supposed to go through this whole Faith thing alone. Jesus sent them out two by two, He said, “where two or three are gathered, there I AM”. Seek out the Priest, ask him to help you find a men’s study group you can join. There are several in my area that are exclusively Catholic and others that are ecumenical. Go to Mass, of course. Stay for coffee and doughnuts if offered. Get to know other parishoners. Chances are you’re not the only one looking for your Faith!

I am praying for you that all this will come to you soon. I know that it’s God’s will for you to be with Him and His church.

My DH went through RCIA with me and he learned so much and it totally transformed his own faith journey. He is a cradle Catholic, and I was the one converting.

I got to know the people in the Parish by becoming the Janitor. I thought that it was a volunteer position, but it turned out it was a paid position! Imagine my surprise that I got a paycheck AND fellowship. LOL

Praying here for you!
in Christ
Steph

Just a question: have you gone to confession lately?

The reason I’m asking is that Satan has a way of holding you while still in sin. If you haven’t gone to confession in a while, I’d suggest to start with that first. Then try reading the Bible and/or going to mass again. And after confession, try to find an adoration chapel and just sit before the Lord and ask Him to help your faith.

It should help.

Seek out RCIA. What might help is information. The Catholic faith is totally internally consistent and rational, and it is helpful to look at it again with the eyes of an adult.

My advice: Don’t hurry - take your time.

I say this respectfully…but it sounds like you really need to develop a better understanding of just who Jesus Christ really is…to develop a real personal relationship with him…he really is alive today and really seeks to lift you up to himself…in the sacraments…especially in Confession (free you and heal you) and then let him unite you and feed you with his life in the Holy Eucharist.

Right now…simply pray to the Holy Spirit and tell him what you want him to do…straightforward…then get out of his way and hang on!

All of this Religion, Church, Scripture, Mass “stuff” is just a big yawn…and a “ho hum” experience…until you get to know who Jesus of Nazareth really is…he is the most macho-guy you will ever get to know…a real man’s-man. Having served in the Marine Corps for 36 years…I have been blessed to be around some pretty amazing, macho (in a good way…not Rambo-metro sexual types), and man’s-man type of guys who are incredibly mesmerizing in their persona and actions…and leadership. I mean 'knock your socks" off genuine heroes in character and in action…tough as nails and selfless servants…Hugh hearted…give their life for you in a heartbeat…follow them anywhere…but believe me…this Jesus of Nazareth…is simply The Man! Nothing and no one can come close to him…in what he did and in how he did it (especially) in his human nature…for you and for me…for all of us!

Simply, no man will sacrifice for uncertainty…but give him a the toughest, most demanding challenge of challenges…but with a certainty about his future if he is successful…and a real man will take that challenge every time…that is what Jesus of Nazareth is offering to and asking of…you and me…nothing less!

So I strongly recommend two things: first, get to know who Jesus of Nazareth really is…read the Gospels…pick one and read it through in one sitting…then on another day…read a second gospel…until you get through them all…each in on separate occasions in one sitting. Then…personalize who Jesus of Nazareth is…as your first order of battle. I offer a three book recommendations to assist you…for your consideration:

amazon.com/Know-Christ-Jesus-F-Sheed/dp/0898704197
[size=3]To Know Christ Jesus [/size]by** F. J. Sheed** (+1981)

amazon.com/Jesus-Nazareth-Pope-Benedict-XVI/dp/0385523416***
Jesus of Nazareth*** by Pope Benedict XVI

amazon.com/Life-Christ-Fulton-J-Sheen/dp/0385132204***
Life of Christ*** by (Bishop) **Fulton J. Sheen **(+1979)

All of these are around $12-$17…paperback/softcover…except the Pope’s book. I prefer Sheed’s as a first intimate look at who Jesus really is…then Sheen…then Pope Benedict…which does not cover the entire life of Jesus…but is an incredible and insightful book…an exciting read.

Second, get to know some basic theology…what we can really know and understand about our eternal God and his Divine Providence…his modus operandi (M.O.) and what is beyond our comprehension…is and always will be a Mystery. I offer two recommendations.

amazon.com/Theology-Sanity-F-J-Sheed/dp/0898704707
Theology and Sanity by F. J. Sheed

amazon.com/Theology-Beginners-Francis-Joseph-Sheed/dp/0892831243
**[size=3]Theology for Beginners[/size] **by F. J. Sheed

Both are terrific ($12-$14)…they take most of the “fuzzy emotions and feelings” out of the mind and heart…and replace them with who our God really is…they strengthen faith, hope and charity in us… and strengthen our desire to know, love, and serve God…with all we are and with all we have…so that we can be united with him forever in eternity.

No "softballs’ in these books…get ready for “hardball” no fluff…understanding and knowledge…you can’t love what you don’t know…these books will help you to know.

I close with my favorite priest-Chaplains advice…(this guy was a former Marine…a Brooklyn cop…then became a priest and back into the Navy…assigned to the Marines in combat operations)…every time I would complain about how hard it is to be a good holy Catholic man…he would listen and then simply ask if I wanted his advice…always saying yes…he would always give me the best…I mean the very best advice in four words: * Get with it Son!*

God bless and you will be in my prayers.
Pax Christi

Bike Cop,

Go and sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament for a while, and tell Jesus who is ever present mind body soul and divinity, what you have told us. I am sure Jesus Already knows, but you got to go and make that effort. The sick and suffering came to Jesus Christ to be healed, so again, go visit the Most Holy Eucharist and be healed.

Jesus Christ is waiting for you,

Ufamtobie

Geer, is that your advise up above “Don’t Hurry take your time” What if his time is up the next day? Today is the day for salvation, tomorrow may not come.

Ufamtobie

Stop worrying and enjoy your life! :wink:

Just an observation that all of your efforts seem to be solitary. We are social beings, made for community. You know that coals burn hotter when they are next to other hot coals. I suggest that you start researching some groups. For myself, I am partial to Catholic Charismatics. However, there are a great variety of Catholic organizations, prayer groups, service groups, etc. Start with your local parish, and begin asking God where you best fit. Meet some people, and find out where your gifts belong. You might also seek some spiritual direction from your priest on this matter. I listened to an interesting program on Immaculate Heart Radio this am on “Brother to Brother”, a Catholic mentoring ministry for men. See if you can pick up Catholic Radio in your area, and you will hear about a lot more connections like this. We are built into His Body as living stones, and the building that results is not separate from the rest of the stones! You are in my prayers.

In addition to the things others have said, I would like to add:

This requires an act of your will. It is an act of will to get up on Sunday and go to Mass. It is an act of the will to worship God.

Your screen name is “bikecop” and if you are indeed a bicycle police officer, then you likely do a lot of physical training to stay in shape. You go to the gym even when you don’t feel like it. You train your muscles even when they cry out to stop. This is physical training-- and if you had been severely out of shape before starting physical exercise you might have given up before getting in shape.

Same goes for spiritual muscles. You haven’t exercised them in a long time. Your will is lazy when it comes to things of God. You haven’t trained yourself in the act of worship and you haven’t built up those spiritual muscles that aid you in doing good and avoiding evil. St. Paul said he trained every day so that he could run the race to the finish line-- death.

You must do the same. Make a firm act of your will, and then pray for grace to carry it out.

Try and disprove the Catholic faith. Jews, Moslems, Atheists and non-Catholic Christians make many claims against the Church and give reasons why they do not and you should not believe in Her. Prove to yourself if they are true or not.

While riding my Harley between meetings last year on local roads, a cop jumped out from behind a large sign into the roadway surprising me and another driver (nearly causing an accident in my effort to avoid hitting him) with a radar gun in a speedtrap he had set up giving me a ticket for going 15 mph over the posted speed limit (30 mph)- ignoring the fact he was less than 100 feet from the another speed limit sign (45 mph) that was the posted speed he stopped me for in which I was accelerating into.

If such myopic views and unyielding enforcement are the norm in order to raise revenue and keep citizens safe; regardless of the personal penalty of fine and raised insurance costs for the next 3 years on such a point of civil law; I would think the reasoned determination of your religious view deserves no less a conviction of belief.

Intellectual honesty and personal integrity are the mark of an honorable man regardless of the secularist draw to complacentcy and watering down of religious holidays like Easter and Christmas. Jews say Jesus was a heretic justly killed according to the law. Moslems say Jesus was a good prophet but God tricked everyone at the crucifixion and Jesus did not die. Protestants say Jesus really didn’t confer authority on Peter and the Church so they can make up their own interpretations of Scripture. Atheists say its all a fairytale, and secularists just want a bargin at the stores.

You use tools and methods to determine the truth of a speeding motorist, use the tools you have as a human being to determine the truth of your personal religious faith.

That’s the problem, it is impossible to fully enjoy your life without the love of Jesus as your primary focus.

I too drifted away from Jesus and His Catholic Church for over 30 years. It all seemed like a bunch of rules and extremely difficult sacrifices I wasn’t willing to make.

We are all on different paths while we journey through life, so I can only relate my experiences.

Nothing in this life is totally fulfilling, the more we get, the more we want.

As St. Augustine said in his book ‘Confessions’ , “Our hearts were made for you, and they will not rest until they rest in you.”

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!

Mark

After a person spends a great deal of time *away *from religion, *returning *to it again can seem a bit as if you are stepping through Alice’s looking-glass. That is, our reason can often find religion to be a bit of a shadow-world, where there are shades and nebulous realities; and entering into this world is something which our reason will often question, and will make us feel as if we are mistaking sense for madness. A solution to this, as another poster has alluded to, is to train your reason to view such a shadow-world in such a way that you find therein solid ground and that you ‘see’ its contours and are able to manoeuvre within them. To put it simply, if you *wish *to find religion reasonable, you *will *be able to do so, given enough time. This is especially true of Catholicism, which is ancient, and which was the foundation of post-Roman European society, and which has experienced a great deal of defending from some of the most brilliant minds of the West. To believe in such a thing is easier, than it is to believe that John Smith who lives down the lane is a prophet of God.

The ‘fizzling out’ you experience, can be explained in many ways, the most obvious being that the excitement of religion loses its potency after a mere bit of time to a great deal of people. Others have told you what you can do to overcome this obsticle; that you should immerse yourself in the society of Catholicism, so that you have company, and certainly, if I took you to the Cathedral of Milan, its beauty would inspire you for a time to be an entirely devout Catholic. Again, if you *wish *to find excitement, it is there to be found, if only you look for it, and are willing to immerse yourself in it.

But what I should like to offer to you, is the advise that you should examine why, precisely, you *wish *such a thing as Catholicism in the first place. You appear to feel as if you ought to be Catholic, but for why? What do you fear, what do you lack, and what will you benefit from this religion? Perhaps it is so that you can meet a lot of such needs in more mundane ways, so that, by removing such needs, you might test your spirit to know whether what it feels you require is what it requires in truth.

The things that we chose to believe, are the things which we will find reasons to believe, if only our will is strong enough, and we arm ourselves with the proper resources. But before such a path is embarked upon, know where the path will lead you, and why it is you wish to arrive there.

If you are certain that you desire to live each day as a believer in Catholicism, or any other religion, than begin your daily regiment of immersion and study. Immerse yourself in the religion, so that it becomes familiar, and therefore more real. Study those authors who defend the religion, builing up your own reason to view (what now appear to be) shadows as living bodies. Lastly, for a time, ignore attacks against it; utterly close yourself off from any sort of external logic. Above all, ignore other religions, and do not study them on their own terms, for when one understands why others believe in what you might perceive as folly, one will be less prone to not see all religions or paranormal or esoteric belief as folly.

My only advice is: if you want to think and feel like a believer, you need to do what believers do. Confess your sins to a priest, fulfil your Sunday obligation, receive the Eucharist, pray daily. In short, participate in the sacramental life of the church, and you will experience God’s grace.

I found myself in the very same position you are in right now about six years ago. I just couldn’t get into faith and religion again after being away for about 20 years.

What happened to change things for me? Glad you asked.

My wife suggested we go see Mel Gibson’s movie “Passion of the Christ”. She is a Baptist and alot of folks in her church were talking about it.

Well, I guess since I was raised on movies and all things “visual” it took Mels movie about 20 minutes to get me crying like a baby. Reading the Gospel accounts never made me realize what Christ did for us, I suppose. I guess I needed to see it to make it come to life and “sink in”.

Go rent the movie, turn off the cell phone, and just watch what our savior did for*** you***!

I’ll pray for you.

Yet I enjoy my life fully! If I were to be distracted by a love for a deity, I would waste time that I could otherwise spend enjoying life.

I suspect the OP also enjoys life too. Why bother with unnecessary, unwarranted guilt?

Impossible is quite the claim to make, especially for a non-quantifiable feeling of enjoyment.

I now enjoy my life more completely than ever before, exactly because I am not focused only on myself, but primarily because I opened my heart to the infinite love of Jesus Christ.

If you are enjoying your life “fully”, then why are you on this forum?

I would guess that you are here to “enlighten” us, the stupid, brainwashed Catholics.

Obviously you have found the answer that all of us are seeking, the answer to the question that every human being asks, what is the meaning of life?

“If I were to be distracted by a love for a deity, I would waste time that I could otherwise spend enjoying life.”

It sounds like your secret to happiness is to not be distracted by loving anyone but yourself! Good luck with that!

I sure wouldn’t want to “waste time loving the One that created me”, that would take away from my love for myself and my own selfish happiness.

Guilt is a necessary and positive thing, it is not “unnecessary or unwarranted.” Without guilt, without a conscience, we are nothing more than the lowest of animals, seeking to do anything for our own temporary pleasure, no matter how severely we hurt someone else.

God loves you and will always be there for you, even if you reject His love!

He loves you so much that He gives you the free will to decide to reject Him completely. He will not force His love on you, you have to open your heart to that love, then you will begin to find True happiness!

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!

Mark

i suggest Fr.Corapi’s The teaching of Jesus Christ
fathercorapi.com/

you can also find it broadcast on EWTN

it got me fired up.

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