Let me set the stage here a bit:
For myself, I only really came to faith a short while ago - while born and baptised a Catholic and believing in the Church, I didn’t have actual faith in God until quite recently. Oddly enough, it took an evangelical pastor to break the log jam…he merely pointed out that what was worrynig me - my unfitness for salvation - is the problem all humanity has. Once that finally got into the noggin, my heart was truly opened to faith.
Born a baptised a Catholic - and my father is the big, old Catholic. More Catholic than the Pope, as my Lutheran mother used to put it. My father attends church regularly (especially since he recently moved in with me and I can take him to church), is deeply instructed in Catholic doctrine (the man has the Catholic answer to any dillema at his fingertips), prays daily and to all appearances is exactly what a believer should be…but I doubt, often, that he is truly a believer.
Keeping in mind that he’s 79 years old and in poor health - and therefore has a greater concern about ‘the end’ than, say, his healthy 41 year old son - he seems to live in fear and despair. There is an underlying level of anger and resentment I can just feel in him now; seemingly since I gained faith.
My big question is: is there a question I should as my father? Is he in peril? He’s certainly not long for this world (he just turned 79 and I’ll be a bit surprised if he makes it to 80) - I worry often about the ultimate fate of my mother who died in 2003 and of whom I have no solid indication whether she believed or not…I’d hate to have to go through the same with my father. Can a man go through the motions for 79 years and yet not be a believer?
Any advice will be greatly appreciated.