Conversion is HARD for me


#1

I’m struggling because I love Jesus, I believe in the Trinity, I have been baptized w/water in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, I take communion, I confess my sins (to God), I live a virtuous life; yet, for the first time, I am so incredibly insecure about my relationship with God. After spending hours on this site and reading book after book on Catholicism, I am more confused than ever about what I should or should not believe about pleasing God.

I was raised protestant…Until I was older, I didn’t even think about the title of my “religion”, I just knew that I believed in Jesus and had a heart for God. Now, I feel like what I’ve believed was too simplistic. I was taught that salvation was the most pure and uncomplicated gift that God gave to us…Jesus died for our imperfections, and He is the easiest and most welcoming “man” to approach with our problems and our adoration.

Now, I read all the rules of the Church, and I feel this heavy burden to follow them to a “T” or my soul is in grave danger…and that sense of complete fellowship and intimate love with Jesus has faded a little in my heart.

I know that the sacraments, praying the Rosary, etc are supposed to bring me closer to God, but, it feels like He is more distant than ever. sigh It’s heavy when the core of your belief system has been shaken, and I question the spiritial foundation that was laid before me from generations of “protestant” family members (who were exemplary men and women with a genuine heart for Jesus).


#2

Hello again toshia_t

It’s heavy when the core of your belief system has been shaken, and I question the spiritial foundation that was laid before me from generations of “protestant” family members (who were exemplary men and women with a genuine heart for Jesus).

Here’s the beauty of conversion; you don’t have to give this up. The foundation laid for you by your protestant family members is what has made you love the Trinity so much. Maybe the fullness of the truth is slightly to the left of what you originally believed, but it’s not completely foreign, and you can thank God that He gave you a family that would lead you to love Him and obey Him.

Now, I feel like what I’ve believed was too simplistic. I was taught that salvation was the most pure and uncomplicated gift that God gave to us…Jesus died for our imperfections, and He is the easiest and most welcoming “man” to approach with our problems and our adoration.

He still is that same welcoming “man” that we can approach with our problems and especially with our adoration (have you ever attended, or heard of, Adoration in the Catholic Church? It’s time spent before the Blessed Sacrament purely adoring Him). He’s still died for our imperfections, and the recognition of this beautiful fact has led to some ‘rules’ that HMC has put into place so that we think of this more often, and live more in accordance with His commandments.

One thing about The Church is that every belief is logically followed to it’s conclusion and so other things are revealed that seem ‘extra’ to Protestants. For example: We know that Jesus is both fully God, and fully Man. Knowing this it is obvious that His mother must have been preserved from sin in order to carry God within her (The Immaculate Conception) and since she did not suffer the effects of sin (death) she couldn’t have died - so she must have been assumed into Heaven…see how it goes on and one with each belief having to ‘wrap around’ and connect? Of course we have the ECF’s who talk of some of these things as well, so we can find evidence of this being a belief of early Christians.

Yes, there’s a lot, but the thing is, and it’s important to remember because it got me through my first couple months of “How am I ever going to keep all of this straight?” is that there is ALWAYS an answer. What seems to be a vain and possibly superstitious or even pointless gesture/prayer/dogma has a reason behind it.

Now, I read all the rules of the Church, and I feel this heavy burden to follow them to a “T” or my soul is in grave danger…and that sense of complete fellowship and intimate love with Jesus has faded a little in my heart.

This is the complete polar opposite of what Jesus wants. Don’t worry about the rules right now - you’re not even Catholic yet so some of them don’t apply yet! :slight_smile: Your soul is not going to be in grave danger even if you were Catholic; a lot of the rules aren’t under penalty of sin. There are only 6 Precepts of the Chruch - 6 rules we must follow to be practicing Catholics. That’s it. Heck you can be fully Catholic and still not know and follow everything. I for one have the hardest time understanding indulgences, but I don’t lose sleep over it. It’s not directly applicable to my salvation right now, so I’ll study them more once I have a better understanding of some connected doctrines.

I say choose one subject and study up on it till you feel you’ve ‘got it’. By study I mean ask people here a lot of questions especially, because we love to answer them and it’s easier to learn from a person than an article. Might I suggest the rosary or mass first? To help you learn how Catholics get closer to God through them? Worry about one thing at a time, and study at the pace you feel comfortable with. I’ll pray for you in the meantime. I really feel the Holy Spirit is calling you to HMC, but He’s not going to push you into something you’re not ready for - He’ll be patient and guide you, so trust in Him. He hasn’t left you, He’s just calling you closer through some unfamiliar territory.


#3

It can certainly seem complicated, at first.

The first thing to keep in mind is that we are not all required to do everything. There is a reason that God gave us 1.2 billion brothers and sisters in the Catholic faith - so that no one person would have to carry the entire load all by themselves.

If you don’t like to pray the Rosary, it’s okay, because there are plenty of people praying the Rosary already. If the Divine Office is more than you can handle, that’s okay too, because we have a lot of monks and nuns who spend their entire lives praying the Divine Office.

There are only five precepts that you strictly have to follow:

  1. Go to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days (that’s not very hard - and if you end up in a situation where it really is too hard, hey, guess what, the obligation disappears).

  2. Follow the laws of fasting and abstinence, which again, are not too hard, and again, if they really are too hard, then they don’t apply to you, anyway.

  3. Receive Holy Communion once a year, during the Easter season. That’s easy, right? You probably receive it more often than that, already.

  4. Go to Confession once a year, and any time you have a mortal sin to confess. That’s kind of scary, but once you get into the Confessional, the priest helps you - it’s not too bad; it’s just a conversation. And the best part about it is that you receive Absolution for all of your sins - the priest forgets all about them as soon as you leave the Confessional, and so does God.

  5. Support your parish priest to the best of your ability. Your ability, not someone else’s ability. Again, easy stuff.

Everything else depends upon your state in life.

If you are married, you have to follow the laws of marriage. They can appear to be complicated, but in reality they are very, very simple - love your spouse, take good care of each other, and be open to the idea of having children together.

If you work, you have to follow the laws of economic justice - which can, again, seem pretty complicated, but when you boil them right down, they’re about giving a fair day’s work for a fair day’s wage, taking good care of your employees, and making sure your work is the kind that helps other people, instead of hurting them in some way.

In all things, God first.


#4

Toshia,
Please be careful I am hearing signs of scrupulosity and once acceded too difficult to relinquish.
If I were your spiritual director I would say to you. no more reading for a time (eg 1 year) set prayer daily, and the sacraments and Mass. Please the “rule” thing is worrying. scrupolosity is alive and well and so many suffer from this. Its very debilitating.
Just love God, and do well by God and neighbour and desire peac e of heart and mind. I urge you to slow down please.
God Bless
Grace Angel.


#5

I can’t say that conversion was “hard” for me, but I understand what you’re saying. I have, by no means, figured it all out. I sincerely believe that it is relatively easy for you and I to find salvation through the Catholic church. I believe that God is very loving and wants all His children to be with Him through eternity. In the end, it will be the worst of the worst who will not see heaven. God is VERY generous with His mercy.

In a religion that is as old as Catholicism, there have been so many very intelligent clergymen/apologist who have written so much on so many subjects that it is very easy for most Catholics to become confused with all they’ve written. Don’t take so much of it to heart. My first year as a Catholic, I struggled with Confession. When I would look at various “Examinations of Conscience”, I had diffuculty finding something that I had intentionally violated. At this point, I feel that the key is the word “intentional”. I committed my share of venial sins, but I struggled with determining mortal sins that I may have committed. I finally made my first confession eleven months into my first year. The worst violation that I was really guilty of was not saying my daily prayers as often as I should.

I haven’t tried to answer your question, but to share my struggle with learning the Catholic religion. The most important thing to remember is to relax. You will get the hang of it more and more as each day goes by and with every homily you hear.

Good luck and God bless


#6

Love God and do as you please. If you really love God, you will not do anything to displease Him . Rather consciously and subconsciously, you will do everything to please Him.In your leisure, in your work, in your relationship with all, in the daily events of your life, in everything…think of Him, worship Him, praise Hin, thank Him and love Him.


#7

Thank you all for your support…you’ve given some great advice. I can’t explain it, I just have this hunger to learn more and more about the Church. Like you said, Rawb, the Holy Spirit is leading me 'cuz it seems like out of the blue, I wanted to absorb the Church’s teachings. I’m going to take you all’s advice and “slow down”, focus on one thing at a time, and remember to hold God’s hand throughout this process.

I am so excited about this journey home! I thank God for brothers and sisters like you who make this transition a little less intimidating (for lack of a better word). God bless you all!:slight_smile:


#8

Some of the other posts have said this, and I’ll add my comment.

Christian conversion is an ongoing process, not a one-time event.

We grow every minute, every hour, every day. Sometimes it seems like we’re not growing, but we are.

Kids think that they’re never going to grow up, but they do, don’t they? Adults think they will never grow old, but they do.

You will grow in the Lord. He doesn’t expect you to be all grown up right this minute.


#9

I’m a convert too…I can understand what you are going through…Remember, it’s when He seems most distant…He is the closest… God bless…:slight_smile:


#10

Dear toshia,

The best thing you can do right now is get off of this website. 60% of the general content here can be depressing. Come back in when you are more firmly rooted.

Remember, a lot of people will push devotions on new converts that are not even necessary to be a good Catholic. You are not under any obligation to say even one rosary, ever, in your entire life. Ditto for the LOTH. Same for just about any devotion,. And remember, cradle Catholics take this spiritually uplifting nourishment in manageable convenient amounts, the same way people eat their meals, don’t get bloated. Overload can lead to burnout!

Say your morning and evening prayers, read spiritually edifying material, go to Mass on Sunday and take it slow.

Good luck and God Bless!


#11

I draw much comfort from reading:

*) The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (isbn 978-1-57455-725-1)
*) The Catechism of the Catholic Church (isbn 1-57455-109-4)
*) Handbook for Today’s Catholic (isbn 0-89243-671-9)

…but don’t overload yourself. :slight_smile:

Mahalo ke Akua…!
E pili mau na pomaikai iaoe. Aloha nui.


#12

Welcome to Home. I’m please that you are returning to the Only One Truth Church of Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church. Jesus isn’t distant. You aren’t required to say the rosary. Jesus is there especially in the Blessed Sacrament. He is present in Blessed Sacrament. You as a Catholic can received Jesus’ Body and Blood. That really gets more personal than those typical Evangelical Protestants…

When you go to Holy Communion, the Eucharist is the same Jesus crucified at the cross, and the same who rose from the dead, and is now sitteth at the Right Hand of God.

Other than Catholics, Orthodox also received the Body and Blood of the Lord. I do recommend you download one of Fr. Corapi’s Teaching of Jesus Christ. I believe there is a free download site from EWTN… I download MP3 files from it.

Reading the Catechism also help.


#13

Mat 11:28
Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Mat 11:29
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Mat 11:30
For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.

Mat 23:4
For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay [them] on men’s shoulders; but they [themselves] will not move them with one of their fingers.

Mat 23:5
But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,


#14

Amen, and you can only get it at the Catholic Church.


#15

For about two or three years after being received, just soak in the Holy Spirit. Remember the Lord sent Paul into Arabia for three years before sending him into the mission field of the Mediterranean.

If you must go online then find a Catholic meditation site, or read the Saints. Catholicism is about a personal relationship with Jesus. Without that, all the ‘law’ in the world will never be enough.

Some folks might also suggest the adoration. Talk to your priest about this next time you go to Mass. Welcome home!

:grouphug:


#16

Toshia,

Sorry to tell you, but I am going to give it to you straight: I think you got it all wrong. Your salvation in the Catholic Church is not measured or depended upon by how much you know or how much you follow “The church rules” (**Who told you that?) **, otherwise all those godly, pious and devout grannies that know little about theology could not be saved, but rather, salvation depends on how much you love God, who inspires you to ask him to save you (which you already did) and then to follow him as he intended us to follow him, in the fullness of his revealed truth, which can only be found in the Catholic Church. Only in this way, you are least vulnerable to the attacks of the evil one.

Thus, what you call “the church rules” should actually be what you hunger for, what you yearn for, and what you cannot live without, as it is the Holy Spirit who inspires you to this. IF they are a burden to you, then maybe, as you said it, you are not READY to convert.

You should pray more about it, then pray more and then pray A LOT MORE. Because if you believe that the TRUTH is in the Catholic CHurch, then if you truly love God you should follow THIS TRUTH, you should dream of this truth, you should breath, yearn, hunger this truth. IT is possible that if they are a burden to you is because you are NOT yet convinced where the truth is… Again, pray more, then more and then a lot more!.

Take some of the advice given here. Relax. Stop reading theology too much, and deepen yourself in prayer.

The truth is supposed to SET you free, not be a burden to you.

This is very analogous to converting from being atheist to being protestant Christian. When an atheist becomes protestant Christian, there are many “rules” that he did not follow when he was an atheist, but now he has to follow, although it should rather be a hunger, or a yearning to follow. If for this atheist, being closer to the truth (as Protestants are closer to the truth than atheists) means to be burdened by it, then maybe this atheist is not ready to become a Christian yet. Again, this atheist must pray, pray more, and the pray a lot more.

Many blessings,

E.C.


#17

You do not have to work to please Jesus. You are his child. He wants you the live in his peace and great abundance
.
Is the reason a man and woman have a child is to do work; the dishes need to be done, the garbage needs to be taken out, the laundry needs to be done and folded mind you, the lawn needs to be cut… ; The is no guilt involved here, or you have to believe that the LAW rules of you to do this and do don’t do that. As to say then you are do do all day.


#18

#19

Goodness the sledgehammer trick again. I thought it didnt work.
(lol).
GraceAngel.


#20

GraceAngel, trick? did I say something that you might not believe it to be the truth?

Thanks for your kind answer.

Many blessings,

E.C.


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.