This is a spin-off of the stumbling blocks to Catholicism thread. This is a very candid post. You have been warned.
This is a subjective post. But since it goes to the heart of why I left the Catholic Church and became a Protestant while I was still a child it is important to me. I also wish to avoid supposed implication of Sola Fide and “once saved always saved”. Particularly the latter since many here seem to think all Protestants believe this, which many don’t, including me.
Here is the crux for me. It seems to me that Salvation in Catholicism is extremely fleeting and ultimately all up to us in the end. What I mean is this as Lutheran I know faith without works is dead. But I also know that I am forgiven provided I daily repent of my sins. I know that if I die today (so long as I trust in Christ) He is faithful and merciful and I am forgiven. I know that I can walk away from the faith and in doing so put my soul in mortal peril.
But as a Catholic I understood myself to be in a state of mortal peril daily since I had committed mortal sins in my heart all the time. Even though I would repent several times a day I would fear death in one of those innumerable and unavoidable times of sin. What if I fall asleep and have an impure thought and die in my sleep before I wake up and repent? It just seemed like Salvation and being a Child of God in Christ was something I was and was not several times each week. So in that scheme I have basically a 50/50 chance if that of being saved. Since my salvation can be lost and regained on a daily basis. If I need confession to be in a state of Grace then I would need to be in the confessional every single day, several times a day.
Now how can I be Catholic knowing I can never have any real peace of mind. How can I hope in Christ is that mercy is so fragile and difficult to obtain. I still remember after all these years the utter terror of dying outside a state of Grace. Not just fear, but actual terror. That’s what being Catholic was to me, a legalistic religion that held sinners to an impossible standard the standard of the law and not the gospel. Since we are all sinners and indeed most of us sin daily how can we ever hope to be saved? I am just so wary of raising my children in a church that makes hope seem impossible.
As I said this is subjective. But since feelings and impressions are just as real as facts I thought I would bare my soul to my Catholic brothers and sisters to see how you deal with the idea that it takes very little to lose your salvation.
Right now I am confident that God both saved me and sustains me in the faith. I realize that apostasy is possible but I am confident of better things. I don’t know that I could sleep at night as a catholic. My focus would be on judgment not mercy.
Does anyone know where I am coming from?