Crisis in faith?


#1

Hello,

I am hoping to find some advice on here. I am really struggling with my current relationship. My boyfriend, who I love completely, and I were both raised Catholic, and he attended Catholic school his whole life, even through college. His whole life he was very involved with his parish, and was active in youth groups and in college, he ran his Newman Center. I have lived a similar life, and was so happy to meet him after college because we had such similar upbringings, and have so much in common.

We are very much in love, and I feel that we each have a lot to give the other. This feels like a very healthy,loving, thoughtful, generous relationship.We have begun to talk about a future together.

The problem is is that I think he is going through a crisis in faith. He has fallen away from the Church since after college and says he is not sure what he believes anymore. He only goes to church with me every once in a while. This, as you can imagine, is devastating to me, and I am at a loss because I feel totally on fire for Christ and I love the Catholic Church. I try my hardest to encourage him in his faith, to talk about his feelings and communicate with him about what he is struggling with, and he does talk about things to a degree, but he is shy and doesn’t feel comfortable discussing every point. I pray for him all the time and talk about God’s love all the time. I have even initiated a God journal, where we write our thoughts on God and pass the journal back and forth to each other. He agreed to take a personal retreat with me, where we each individually spent the weekend reading spiritual texts and reflecting. He says that I am the first thing in 4 years that has helped him to see the Church in a new light, but he is still not committed to the Church and God like he used to be.

I am not sure what I can do for him, but I would really like to help him with this. I have heard of people taking “vacations from God” so to speak, where young adults often drift away from the Church for a bit, and then eventually come back. I have never experienced this, and have always enjoyed a very personal relationship with God and my faith. I would love to marry him one day and raise a family together if it is God’s will ( he is very supportive of waiting for sex until marriage, NFP, and we have the same moral codes for marriage and family), but I worry that if he doesn’t get him out of his spiritual funk before we get married, then we will not be able to enjoy the intimacy of a true marriage in Christ. I truly love him, and see him as the most Christ-like man I have ever dated, even more so than the very strong Catholics that I dated. I have never met anyone as thoughtful, patient, loving, non-jealous, supportive and kind. I would like to help him more to come back to Christ and the Church. What can or should I do? Any advice you have is greatly appreciated, as I do not have anyone else to talk to about this.

Blessings of His love.


#2

Do you know what has caused the crisis, or what reason there is?

For instance, does he think that the Church has contradicted itself, and thus cannot be the divinely founded Church? This is sort of an “intellectual crisis.”

Perhaps it is more of a “moral” crisis-- maybe he feels that the Church cannot possibly be the true Church because of all the corruption, sin and evil which people within Her commit.

There are of course many variations on these issues. I should know… I found my own reasons to doubt the Church for a handful of years. I’ve been away (at heart) and come back. So have hope, and have courage.

If you have an answer to that, then maybe I can help.

My second set of questions-- what was his spiritual life like before he lapsed? Did he go to weekly Mass? Daily mass? Did he pray every day? I mean, did he spend time in meditation every day with the Lord (i.e., rosary, etc.)? That sort of strengthening is so necessary to replenish and ignite the Christian life. If he never really engaged in a serious prayer life then he may simply have fallen away because he never knew the love of Jesus personally like that… and honestly, prayer is the soul of the Christian life. No matter how active one’s apostolate is, and no matter how well one crunches the doctrines, it will all be but a distracting pasttime if it isn’t filled with the love of Christ, found in prayer. Many Catholics don’t even know such a thing exists. I know I didn’t.

My last point. We all need the person of Jesus Christ. If he doesn’t see how he needs the person of Jesus, then there’s no way he’ll come back to the Church. I might focus on reading the gospels and encountering the person of Christ in prayer.

It’s not clear to me if he has more of a problem with religious faith in general, or the Church in particular.

God bless,
Rob


#3

I’m so sorry to hear about your dilemma.I’m sure you will get plenty of well meaning advice.
I just wanted to say I will pray for you & your boyfriend that he will "come around "again.Try to be patient with him,I’m sure you already are but i mean sometimes if you try too hard it can put someone off!!
Lead by example let him see what a good role model you are & how much you care about others in your day to day living.He will look up to you (im sure he already does)but he will be so proud & evetually in his own time he will come back im sure.Pray for him yourself.Dont be in his face about attending Mass.I bet one day there will be a serious issue happen when he will need to turn to God & he will find his way back.I will pray for the Holy Spirit to guide him and you on how to help him.I hope I havent offended you at all you sound a really lovely person he is lucky to have you.Good luck.
God Bless You


#4

Thank you both very much for your kind words of encouragement. To answer which type of crisis it is, I would say that it is more of a moral crisis. He seems to have lost hope in the institution of the Catholic Church. He went to the Peace Corps after college, to a very challenging country, where Christianity of any kind was not practiced. He gets really thrown off by the people in the church that have committed horrendous atrocities in the name of God. This is upsetting for me as well, but I try to remind him that the people who make up the church are only human and will make lots of mistakes, and that’s why we need God’s perfect love to heal us. I try to remind him that we can not judge the Church on the people that do not always act Christ-like. The church is bigger than that. So, I think it is a moral issue. Honestly, I am not sure what his prayer life was like before his crisis in faith. That is a very good point that prayer is at the center of our faith.

Does anyone have any suggestions of how I can encourage his prayer life and help him through this challenging time?

I appreciate all your support, advice and prayers. I will pray for you as well.


#5

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