Doubting my belief- how to know if I'm on the right path to the Truth?

I don’t know if this is the correct area to ask something like this, hopefully someone here can help.

Here is what I am struggling with: I look around at church and hear people talk of God and Jesus and the Catholic faith with such passion and conviction. They talk of this intimate relationship with Jesus and emphasize how important that is.

I do not feel any of that. I honestly want that- I want to feel convinced that I have found the one true faith in the Catholic church and everything that comes with it- primarily the paramount importance of a relationship with- and faith in- Jesus. But I don’t feel convinced, and I wonder if I am trying to fool myself; I wonder if I am trying to force something that is not there.

I find myself analyzing what brought me into RCIA. After years of empty living I finally felt that spiritual void- it was unbearable and I began seeking God to fill it. A series of casual events led me into the RCIA program- and I am questioning whether I was so spiritually desperate that I would have latched onto and believed in anything that was put in front of me…Questioning whether I went back to the Catholic church because it was somewhat familiar (I was baptized and did 1st communion as a young girl- if I learned anything as a kid I didn’t retain it and wasn’t raised with a religious family, it was kind of a label that had no meaning), or because it’s so available (lots of Catholic churches around).

I wish there was some proof or a way to understand why Catholicism is the truth…as opposed to the many, many, other religions that exist.

I am on track to complete confirmation in a couple months and I don’t think I’m ready. I know that a great deal of accepting God/the Catholic church comes down to having faith…but I don’t know if I have enough of the initial “belief” to base that faith on. It’s a really terrible feeling…I want to know God but feel empty, lost, totally confused and overwhelmed.

If anyone has any advice to offer…a book recommendation…spiritual insight…anything…Thank you.

For one thing, you should pray.

We will be happy to answer any questions you have about our Faith, but I want to suggest to you that Satan does NOT want you to return to the practice of the Catholic faith.

Therefore, do not be surprised if this is a time of great trial and doubt - a spiritual battle is taking place. As the previous poster suggested, pray.

And post your questions! It may help for you to not feel isolated. :wink:

I had a hard time believing in God at one time. I had just started going to AA. All the “Higher Power” talk made me examine my beliefs. I prayed about it and got good advice in the rooms. I was fortunate enough to go to many meetings on a nearby Native American reservation; I told the group I thought I was an atheist…in their wisdom they simply told me to have an open mind and to go sit in nature for an hour, which I did. It actually cleared up all my doubts! Today I say God led me to AA, then AA led me to God.

Once I was absolutely convinced about the trueness of God, I worried about Jesus and His Truth, and which church was right. I’d been seeing a priest for step work and he told me to read the Gospel of Mark. I read it and I never wondered again.

Everyone has their own journey to Truth, this is what worked for me. If you’re sincere, seek and you will find. Keep praying and seeking. I will pray for you.

dilleachta,

Keep in mind that the Catholic Church’s teachings is like a tripod.

We have the authentic teaching authority of the Church that Jesus gave us: Magisterium.

We have Sacred Scripture.

We have Sacred Tradition. (capital “T” Tradition).

The truth cannot stand up in its fullness in those who have “Scripture alone”.

All other religions besides Christianity do not contain the fullness of Divine Revelation.

May our Lord Jesus Christ lead you on your spiritual journey to Him.

I would say to seek Spiritual Direction. Ignatious type Spiritual Direction. I forget what exactly this is called but to seek Spiritual Direction with a Priest is especially recommended.

Also, feelings is no way to detect closeness of God or even to find out if you have faith or not. You can feel incredibly far from God and yet be closer than you think. Of course you’re going to go through a spiritual battle before coming into the church.

May I also say this, I didn’t come into the church after my first year of the RCIA program. I went through RCIA for a couple of years. Actually 2 full years and part of a 3rd year. I wrestled with Catholic teaching for roughly 15 years maybe longer before I joined the RCIA. Then when I got to RCIA I took my time. In ancient times it wasn’t uncommon for people to process through the RCIA program for 3 to 5 years and it was a rather intense time for the individual coming into the church. What was required then is not required now. They met one on one with their Priest every day! Point is, don’t feel bad if you want to extend your RCIA time. That all said, schedule an appointment with your Priest leading the RCIA. You should also have a Sponsor so talk to your Sponsor and ask your Sponsor and Priest if you are ready to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church. Seeking Spiritual Direction will give you greater clarity. That all said, whether Protestant or Catholic, going through a time of asking these questions isn’t necessarily lack of faith or even enough to call into question what to believe. It could and very likely an opportunity for you to have lived experience in your faith journey and it’s the best time for this too! I encourage you to really pray, seek the counsel, and really engage in this season of lent.

I like to watch a TV show called Come Home Network on EWTN. It reminds me why I believe and is an inspirational program and insightful too.

Whether you do or don’t either way I couldn’t recommend spiritual direction strong enough.

Questioning is normal throughout one’s journey of faith. I have been there and what has helped me was by seeking spiritual direction and writing out what I doubted and questioned. Then asked the Holy spirit to get me through it step by step.

If you can find sometype of Catholic youth or young adult group that will really help in terms of giving you a safe space to ask your questions.

If you are really unsure, it is alright to wait another year before you join the church. I did that myself and it was one of the best decisions I ever made because I needed that year to work through some doubt and questions I was experiencing. Furthermore, although it’s not common, it is also possible to join the church at another time other than Easter Vigil so keep that in mind as you figure out what is the best path for your life.

In addition, sometimes doubt gives us the best opportunity to grow deeper in your faith which is why spiritual direction is important because it gives you a safe place to express your concerns and a place where you can work through some of your doubts before you join the church.

If you have questions, please send me a line, I would love to help you in anyway I could.

Actually I am encouraged that you are thinking things through like this. Those people that you speak of that have passion and conviction may have been where you are at some point. It’s the ones that just go through the motions and check off a list are the ones that I would be concerned about. Just continue to look to Jesus and pray, pray, pray…Lord I believe, help my unbelief. (Mark 9:24)

Try and find an Adoration chapel and spend time with the Blessed Sacrament even if you don’t understand. It’s peaceful and quiet. Ask the Blessed Mother to pray for you. She always points to Jesus.

And for the tenets of the Faith here is a short read…

catholic.com/documents/pillar-of-fire-pillar-of-truth

What a great statement. This is the heart’s desire of every Christian. You have to trust, trust, trust in God when he said " his will is that everyone be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:3). God’s love and mercy for us is beyond our understanding, it truly is. God provided the “way” for any person to come to an accurate knowledge of him, it is through Jesus Christ Our Lord, the Word of God, and a visible church, the Catholic Church, which Jesus Christ established on earth with Peter the Apostle as the first of many successive shepherds to protect the fullness of faith handed down from the Apostles. He, Jesus, promised that the Church would never be defeated by Satan. He, Jesus, never said that the Church would be perfect in carrying out its mission to the world, that there would be many difficulties and trials, but those who persevere to the end, not forsaking the true faith for a lie, would be saved. Your Father in heaven hears the prayer of the one who truly seeks Him, pray for increased faith and the peace of mind that comes from being in Christ’s one true church.

Earlier I referenced Catholic’s Come Home. While that seems like a good resource I meant to reference EWTN’s Journey Home !! Love the show Journey Home. You can watch it on YouTube as I do if you don’t get EWTN.

I can sympathize because I’ve been right where you are. However, I am slowly learning that I cannot trust my own “feelings”. Feelings are subjective but truth is not. Faith is putting one foot in front of the other and trudging on in spite of feelings. There will be mountains and there will be valleys. You never get to enjoy the experience of a summit without first trudging through the valley and back up the mountain :slight_smile:

I find myself analyzing what brought me into RCIA. After years of empty living I finally felt that spiritual void- it was unbearable and I began seeking God to fill it. A series of casual events led me into the RCIA program- and I am questioning whether I was so spiritually desperate that I would have latched onto and believed in anything that was put in front of me…Questioning whether I went back to the Catholic church because it was somewhat familiar (I was baptized and did 1st communion as a young girl- if I learned anything as a kid I didn’t retain it and wasn’t raised with a religious family, it was kind of a label that had no meaning), or because it’s so available (lots of Catholic churches around).

I wish there was some proof or a way to understand why Catholicism is the truth…as opposed to the many, many, other religions that exist.

Define “religions” as you used it in that last sentence. Are you comparing Catholicism to Islam, Buddhism, etc., or simply some other form of Christianity (i.e., Orthodoxy, Evangelicalism, etc.)?

I am on track to complete confirmation in a couple months and I don’t think I’m ready. I know that a great deal of accepting God/the Catholic church comes down to having faith…but I don’t know if I have enough of the initial “belief” to base that faith on. It’s a really terrible feeling…I want to know God but feel empty, lost, totally confused and overwhelmed.

If anyone has any advice to offer…a book recommendation…spiritual insight…anything…Thank you.

When you say “having faith”, are you referring to faith in God/Jesus Christ, faith in Catholicism, or faith in yourself to actually make a decision (or possibly a combination of all these)? Knowing this will give others a better basis on which to respond. We just don’t know what you need to be convinced of :wink:

Here’s my $0.02:

You want the relationship, right?

Well…if you wanted to deepen a relationship with anyone–as in, another human being–how would you go about doing it?

Would you google them, and read everything there is to know about him or her?

Would you talk to their friends?

Well, seems like you’re doing all that.

But what the next logical step? The most obvious one?

Go to Him.

I don’t mean just pray; prayer, is a conversation–but, when we pray where we are, it is like our invitation to Jesus, to come to us.

Go TO Him.

In the Eucharist–in Eucharistic Adoration, that is. Sit in silence, before the Divine Sacrament; introduce yourself (not that one is necessary…but a nice ‘ice breaker’…); then ask Him to speak to you.

…and listen. Quietly. Patiently.

Set aside at least one hour for this; leave your cel. phone in your car; do not bring it in; do not permit any distractions; do not rush it. Be present with Christ, as He is for your, there in the divine Sacrament.

Ask Him to speak to you; ALLOW Him, to speak to you.

This is how you foster your relationship with the Living, Risen, Christ, of whom you read in Scripture, RCIA, here, etc.

That’s my $0.02.

…and btw…do tell Him that ‘Goya’ sent’cha. :wink:

By ‘other religions’ I meant everything from Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Wicca, to other forms of Christianity. And by ‘having faith’ I meant that I realize it’s not possible to ever fully understand the mystery of God, which is where faith has to come in. But more specifically I am struggling to determine whether I truly have a belief in Jesus.

Jesus = great starting point!

What readings (besides the Bible) have you done so far?

The first prayer is the prayer for faith.

I agree, starting with Jesus is a good place to start.

I’m not sure if there is a good Catholic book out there that really goes into detail about examing the claims of Christ, who he is, etc but a good non-Catholic Christian book is:

Case For Christ by Lee Stroble

In this book the author examines everything including historical claims, archeological evidence to prove that Jesus walked the earth and died on the cross.

One thing CS Lewis said,

“either Jesus was a liar, a lunitic, or he is who he claimed to be,”

Also, I don’t know how many people would die for a lie. Do you?

Just about every single one of the original Apostles of Jesus died as Martyrs. They didn’t die because Jesus was a good man, they didn’t die because Jesus was a good teacher or Prophet. They died because they continued to teach Jesus is not only God but because Jesus died on the cross to redeem man. They died because they continued to teach who Jesus claimed to be.

Then, take a look at the writing of the Early Church Fathers. There was a continuation of this teaching and great continuity of the teaching throughout every generation. If Jesus never existed or if there was never any claim made by Jesus then a great number of people died for a lie and died for nothing and if that were true died knowing it was a lie? But many would and have laid down their lives as martyrs for Christ.

I think that you should start reading more Catholic apologetics. There is a lot of Catholic apologetics material online. Indeed, Catholic Answers has tons of apologetics articles that can help to strengthen your faith.

Recently I was going through a time of doubt and reading apologetics articles helped to bring me back to a strong faith again.

When you seek God the best that life allows you and are still content knowing you can never be absolutely sure.

Its the content bit that is more important.

I can’t recommend this suggestion enough there is no better time spent then in an Adoration Chapel and being alone with the physical presence of Christ. Do not be fearful in prayer communicate your doubts and your desire to know him. The poster above suggested praying to Mary and I would also suggest finding a devotion to the Sacred Heart and pray that as well.

Be patient and don’t expect grandiose signs be content to be in His presence and let Him know how much you desire Him in your life. I have no doubt He will find you and you will come to know Him as you desire simply be patient and sincere.

Are you struggling with whether Jesus ever existed? Or with whether Jesus is God?

There is ample non-biblical evidence that a man named Jesus was crucified by Pontius Pilate. If your struggle is the latter, then remember that there are only three options:

Jesus is a lunatic, a liar or Lord.

Did Jesus claim to be Lord? And what did His disciples and enemies believe about him? I’ll answer the first question here?

**The Divinity of Jesus Christ Proved from Scripture

  1. Jesus claimed the Divine Name (‘I AM’)**

Exodus 3:14
13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.

John 8:58
53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you claim to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is your God. 55 But you have not known him; I know him. If I said, I do not know him, I should be a liar like you; but I do know him and I keep his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” 57 The Jews then said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

Why did the Jews want to stone Jesus if they did not believe that He was claiming to be God?

2. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God and equal to God.

John 5:18
16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” 18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

3. Jesus claimed to be the First and the Last – a Title Reserved for God Alone

Isaiah 44:6
Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.”

Revelation 1:17-18
“Do not be afraid; I [Jesus] am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.”

Would a mere prophet claim to be the “First and the Last”?

4. Jesus claimed to be Truth – not just to proclaim the truth.

John 14:6
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.

5. Jesus claimed to share in Divine Glory

In the Old Testament, we find that Yahweh will not share his glory with anyone.

Isaiah 42:8
“I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another.” (Cf. Isaiah 48:11—“My glory I will not give to another.”)

Yet Jesus claimed, not only that he would be glorified with the Father, but that he had glory with the Father before the world was created!

John 17:5
“Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

How can anyone see this as anything other than a claim to deity?

6. Jesus claimed to be the Messiah and the Son of God Before the Sanhedrin

Daniel 7:13-14
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

Daniel prophesied that the Son of Man would be worshiped as God.

Mark 14:61-65
61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 63 The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. 64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death.

Replying to the High Priest at His trial before the Sanhedrin, Jesus quoted the Daniel and applied this prophecy to Himself.

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