Have Apologetics ruined it for you?


#1

More and more, I find myself focusing on defending and defining faith instead of practicing faith. What I mean, is it seams like I’d rather read Church history than simply pray. Does anyone else here feel like they’ve become more of a student than a desciple?


#2

All things have their time:
Ecclesiastes 3
1 All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven. 2 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal. A time to destroy, and a time to build. 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance. 5 A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather. A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.

6 A time to get, and a time to lose. A time to keep, and a time to cast away. 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew. A time to keep silence, and a time to speak. 8 A time of love, and a time of hatred. A time of war, and a time of peace.

But Pray Always.
2 Corinthians 6 :10 As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as needy, yet enriching many; as having nothing, and possessing all things.


#3

[quote=Jabronie]More and more, I find myself focusing on defending and defining faith instead of practicing faith. What I mean, is it seams like I’d rather read Church history than simply pray. Does anyone else here feel like they’ve become more of a student than a desciple?
[/quote]

Depending on the type of apologetics you are doing, you could consider adopting a rule that I’ve seen recommended (by Frank Sheed if I recall, but I’m not sure). You could spend one hour before the blessed sacrament for every hour you spend on the soapbox. I don’t follow this rule, but I have found that it is very essential to go to adoration if engaged in any sort of ministry.


#4

Anything but! I practice my faith because of what I know, and I realize that defending/clarifying our teachings is a part of that witness.

What specifically does Jesus Himself say in the great commission?

(Matthew 29:19-20)
19 Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

It does require a balance, and one should never get so hung up on apologetics that one loses sight of the real practice of our faith. If you don’t discipline yourself to spend time in prayer and the Bible as well as your favorite devotions, then you’ll find yourself burned out. Practice the faith because you know why…and never feel that you are the only one who has to answer. One has to trust the Holy Spirit, and never believe that we are the only ones who can and will rightly answer any question or allegation.
Pax tecum,


#5

[quote=Church Militant]Anything but! I practice my faith because of what I know, and I realize that defending/clarifying our teachings is a part of that witness.
[/quote]

I would be 100% in agreement with that statement, but sometimes I find that I’m just wasting time spend too much focus on some of the rules. For example, lately I’ve been catching myself looking around the church to see who does Oran’s during Our Father (and then getting annoyed about it) instead of just PRAYING the Lord’s Prayer. Due to everything I learn here, I also sometimes get a little arrogant feeling that I “know more” about the faith that most Catholics.

I do like the idea of when feeling “burned out” on apologetics to just go to perpetual adortation and relax a bit. :slight_smile:


#6

There’s no substitute for Eucharistic Adoration.
I have caught myself looking around church too, but I immediately refocus on the altar and Who is really there and what I’m there for. In the end…it is not up to me to check the liturgical practice of those around me, but to worship the Holy Trinity in the Eucharist. I desire to love Him with all that I am, and set the best example possible. If the Holy Spirit ever “needs” my help, I have no doubt that He’ll let me know. :wink:
Pax tecum,


#7

Hi Jabronie,

I know exactly what you’re talking about. I’m another on-fire amateur apologist. It’s taken me a lifetime to get sensitive enough that I don’t railroad right over someone else who doesn’t even see my freight train coming.

When tempted with self-righteousness, I try to keep a few thoughts in mind:

Camelot, Guenevere to Lancelot: “Have you jousted with humility today?”

Luke 18:13-14 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Matt 7:3-5 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

As an aside, all over our diocese we hold hands during the Lord’s Prayer, lift them still-clasped in a community “Orans” at the doxology, and I’ve even worn jeans to church (but not when I’m the reader). :smiley:

Keep up the good work.

Nan


#8

Peace be with you!

What are you referring to when you say “Orans”? I’m probably going to feel stupid after you tell me, because I’m sure I know what they are; I just don’t recall ever hearing that name mentioned.

In Christ,
Rand


#9

[quote=Rand Al’Thor]Peace be with you!

What are you referring to when you say “Orans”? I’m probably going to feel stupid after you tell me, because I’m sure I know what they are; I just don’t recall ever hearing that name mentioned.

In Christ,
Rand
[/quote]

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
“Orans: Among the subjects depicted in the art of the Roman catacombs one of those most numerously represented is that of a female figure with extended arms known as the Orans, or one who prays. The custom of praying in antiquity with outstretched, raised arms was common to both Jews and Gentiles.”

According to people who know better than me, during Mass the Orans position is reserved for the clergy’s use only. You see it especially at the beginning of the Eucharistic prayer

But here in the south, the “community holding-hands Orans” gesture during the doxology at the end of the Lord’s Prayer has been in use for so long that it has taken permanent root.


#10

I got into apologetics a few years ago and definitely was at first caught up more in the act of seeking a battle to defend my faith than in prayer. I think I’ve improved (at least I hope I have!).

I, too, struggled with finding all the things “wrong” with Mass that I got distracted. I finally got over that and now I close my eyes during the Lord’s Prayer and during the Creed (so I don’t find myself looking for people doing things they shouldn’t (orans posture/holding hands, and not doing things they should (bowing during part of the Creed)).

'thann


#11

[quote=Jabronie]More and more, I find myself focusing on defending and defining faith instead of practicing faith. What I mean, is it seams like I’d rather read Church history than simply pray. Does anyone else here feel like they’ve become more of a student than a desciple?
[/quote]

Quite the opposite. It is in defending the Faith I have found myself being drawn more and more to Christ. I think each builds up the other. The more I know of Him and His Church, the more I love Him. I guess you could say, to know Him is to love Him.

God Bless.


#12

[quote=Jabronie]More and more, I find myself focusing on defending and defining faith instead of practicing faith. What I mean, is it seams like I’d rather read Church history than simply pray. Does anyone else here feel like they’ve become more of a student than a desciple?
[/quote]

Your dilemma is a common one.
Pray to God for humility. Pray to God that the knowledge you have acquired in your head can descend to the heart and be transformed into pure love for God and neighbor. Sit silently and listen to the voice of God.

Bless you,
Mickey


#13

[quote=Jabronie]More and more, I find myself focusing on defending and defining faith instead of practicing faith. What I mean, is it seams like I’d rather read Church history than simply pray. Does anyone else here feel like they’ve become more of a student than a desciple?
[/quote]

Yes, I think we can become sidetracked if we are not careful.
However, I think if we are truly good apologists, we must have a strong prayer life .
We must practice what we are defending and explaining to others.

Trick


#14

[quote=Jabronie]More and more, I find myself focusing on defending and defining faith instead of practicing faith. What I mean, is it seams like I’d rather read Church history than simply pray. Does anyone else here feel like they’ve become more of a student than a desciple?
[/quote]

Actually I’ve become a little of both. I find myself defending the Catholic faith therefore I have to refresh myself on Church history, which in turn has reinforced my faith.

I find myself more inspired by the biographys of the early Church fathers, the dedication of the martyrs, and I pray the rosary in Church a little more intensely now.


#15

[quote=Jabronie]More and more, I find myself focusing on defending and defining faith instead of practicing faith. What I mean, is it seams like I’d rather read Church history than simply pray. Does anyone else here feel like they’ve become more of a student than a desciple?
[/quote]

It would seem to me that by increasing your understanding of the faith you are practicing it or getting ready to defend it. Maybe that is what you have been asked to do. Take time to pray for discernment and I for you


#16

I kind of know what you mean. The “liturgy police” now sit inside my head at Mass and are constantly harping on something or other, ie., “he isn’t supposed to do that” and “I can’t believe that little altar server’s parents let her wear those shoes at the Altar,” and “once, again, no one in the choir bowed at the Incarnation in the Creed!”, etc. It gets wearing.


#17

I think I understand what you’re saying. I can spend hours on these forums each day, enjoying every minute of discussion about the Bible or apologetics or anything else, and then when it comes time to pray, I struggle to get through thirty minutes of it. I could easily fall into the trap of talking so much about God that I never actually talk to God. On the other hand, the more I know about God and His Church, the more I love them both, and the more I want to know. I also consider that if I weren’t learning about my faith (and occasionally defending it, albeit poorly), I probably wouldn’t spend the extra time praying but would instead waste it on mindless or unimportant things.

I find that the best remedy for this is consistent daily prayer. God always gets at least thirty minutes of my time each day, and sometimes much or all of this time is spent in front of the Blessed Sacrament. In addition to this, I try to go to daily Mass. At Mass, I do find myself getting irritated by people doing ‘wrong’ things during the Mass, but I have found the best remedy for this is to look at them and think, These people are probably far holier than I am, and though they may lack knowledge of what they should be doing, they probably have a much greater love in what they are doing. Thinking a short think like this humbles me and challenges me to have a greater love for Christ. Then, my focus is on loving Him, and it’s exactly where it should be!


#18

[quote=Jabronie]More and more, I find myself focusing on defending and defining faith instead of practicing faith. What I mean, is it seams like I’d rather read Church history than simply pray. Does anyone else here feel like they’ve become more of a student than a desciple?
[/quote]

Jabronie,
I struggle with this all of the time. When I had my latest conversion experience, I was eager to share my Faith but I didn’t know that much about it. Therefore, I started studying apologetics to come up to speed in a hurry. After awhile, I had to take a break from reading apologetics books and start reading scripture, encyclicals and various scriptural commentaries. For a while, I knew more about apologetics than I knew about my Faith.

I started saying the Divine Office every day and that has helped me. I discovered that I was doing things in the wrong order. I was practicing to defend my Faith without worrying about increasing my Faith. Now I try to remember that I need to get my own prayer life in order before I try to solve everyone else’s problems.

God Bless,
Gary


#19

[quote=Grace and Glory]I think I understand what you’re saying. I can spend hours on these forums each day, enjoying every minute of discussion about the Bible or apologetics or anything else, and then when it comes time to pray, I struggle to get through thirty minutes of it. I could easily fall into the trap of talking so much about God that I never actually talk to God.
[/quote]

I agree completely! I don’t think it’s apologetics that has ruined it for me; it’s twenty four hour access to interesting discussions about God! I love these kinds of discussions, but I until I discovered this forums they were limited to a Bible study or woman’s group a couple times a week at most. I prayed much more, and spent most of my free time reading the Bible and writings of the Saints until I discovered the writings of all you lovely folks here at Catholic Answers forum!


#20

[quote=JKirkLVNV]I kind of know what you mean. The “liturgy police” now sit inside my head at Mass and are constantly harping on something or other, ie., “he isn’t supposed to do that” and “I can’t believe that little altar server’s parents let her wear those shoes at the Altar,” and “once, again, no one in the choir bowed at the Incarnation in the Creed!”, etc. It gets wearing.
[/quote]

Innoculated and abuse-free…the TLM.
ps.
Anglican Use not too far behind.


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