I don't know where to start


#1

Hi,

I’m not really sure I’m anywhere near ready for this step yet so I’m not quite sure what I’m asking.

I grew up Anglican (in England), my Father’s a vicar but basically I lost my faith in my teens, around 19, and have only recently started to learn about my own faith again. I’ve been reading a pile of books and have really engaged with it academically. I can’t engage emotionally with anything and whenever I pray I have nothing to say.

I started using the rosary which has taken some of the pressure off and I don’t feel so stuck for words now lol… for years I’ve been very anti-catholic and now that I’ve been learning about it I feel kinda trapped by how people knew me to be, it would be a shock to everyone. I haven’t been to church in over a year. I don’t know how to start going to church again and I’m not sure how to begin attending a Catholic church.

on a basic level: I wouldn’t know what type to attend or what I’d feel better with. I’d be nervous in case i never knew what to do and say…

on a more complicated level I’m still struggling with Marian devotion in a big way, I struggle with SSA (all linked from when i disagreed with natural law…and then a lot of things fell like a pack of cards) and I feel that in a protestant church I’d be allowed that to be private (even though that’s why I don’t go to avoid communion) but as a Catholic I’d have to admitt things in confession… I’d feel like i was letting my anglican family down, especially my Dad… and I’m not sure how to enquire about RCIA and how i’d get on there.

It’s been on my mind since september and I’m not sure I’m even ready to do it in even the near future but I wouldn’t wanna jump too early but at the same time I’m aware that I have an endless supply of questions and if I answer them all I’ll be drawing my pension lol. I’m afraid that my academic reasoning has replaced the faith i used to have when i was younger.

sorry I rambled, I’m not quite sure if this is in the right place but I’d be grateful for ideas, Take care.

S.


#2

Abira, good luck in your journey. Why don’t you schedule some time with a priest. Find out from some of your Catholic friends who a good one is, and tell him your dilemna.

And while your at it, why don’t you meditate on the following versees from John chapter 12:
Nevertheless, many, even among the authorities, believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they did not acknowledge it openly in order not to be expelled from the synagogue. For they preferred human praise to the glory of God.

Don’t ever let your friends prevent you from being drawn closer to God.

And for goodness sake, don’t ever let your past prevent you from being drawn closer to God.


#3

hiya NotWorthy :slight_smile:

I have two Catholic friends, or at least I thought they were Catholic. One hasn’t been in three years and doesn’t believe in the real presence or confession, one is from spain who doesn’t believe in any obligation being forced on her and didn’t understand when i asked her if she needed to go to confession before she took communion again… so they kinda put me off lol.

I’ll take your first peice of advice though as I seem to have come to a stop by myself. I’m just kinda stuck, does that make sense?

Take care, S :slight_smile:


#4

Does that make sense, that your kinda stuck? Of course it makes sense. You wouldn’t believe how many people feel they are in the same rut that you’re in.

Remember, nothing you could have done would prevent God from forgiving you, should you repent. And believe me, I would lay you odds that whatever you confess, the priest has heard it before and far, far worse.

Good Luck!

P.S. And don’t minimize the phsychological effects a good confession can give you.


#5

I’m a convert. When I first started attending mass I didn’t know what to do or so either. It is OK as a non-Catholic to just sit in the pew and observe. Sit in the back row if you are worried what people might think of you. Don’t worry if no one talks to you. You can find fellowship in other venues than Mass.

SSA itself is not a sin, but it may be a struggle to be chaste. That is a struggle for all of us.

You don’t have to do Marian devotions to be Catholic. It is a nice bonus to meet her, though.


#6

Hi, and welcome. :slight_smile:

First of all, like notworthy said - don’t worry about your past, God already knows, and the Priest has heard it all and then some. When you confess you are actually speaking to Jesus, so don’t let it bother you. Many people have come into the Church from Satanism, Black Magic, and other not so pristine practices.

For Mary our mother - she was the hardest thing for me to understand! Took me awhile, and almost drove me out of RCIA - don’t let that happen to you. Scott Hahn has an excellent book on her - although I can’t remember the name of it right now. (Hail Holy Queen - just remembered) Someone else may know, get it and read it. In fact anything by him would help you understand the faith and learn - he is also a convert from protestantism. BTW - when I did finally understand Mary, I prayed and thanked her for her help in my conversion, and apologized for my unbelief and stubborness at times…she sent me the sweet smell of Roses. I cried.

For the rest of your struggles...Chastity is a battle we all deal with, not being chaste is the only real sin - ssa is not. Prayer can help you deal with this all a lot if you let it - prayer isn't so much what we say to Him...but an act of listening to what He says to us in our hearts. Tell Him your troubles and doubts and fears....and then just listen - you may just get a feeling of comfort out of it - but woudn't that in itself be worth it?

I will pray for you…and keep coming back with questions and stuff - we’re all here for you.

Peace

John


#7

Hi John, I suppose that’s my biggest thing, that I might go and feel driven out because of all the questions and doubts I have. I’m reading this book someone on here recommended ages ago, it’s by two priests…one a convert from Anglicanism, which is handy for my background about Marian devotion.

lol and I always pester with various questions although lately i’ve just been reading older threads and some book on the early church but the more i read the more questions and/or objectios I have lol…

Take care, S


#8

Hey, Abira:

Where ever your journey leads you, may it end up closer to Jesus. :slight_smile:

The first thing i did when i first believed in Jesus was to try to learn all i could about Him. I bought myself an easy to read Bible in plain English (it was a New International Bible, but there are many other good translations, and some bad ones). I started reading the New Testament gospels, and my favorite was the gospel of St. John. It has more words of Jesus than the other three and was, in some way, like sitting with Him listening to His every word.

My favorite book in the Old Testament was Psalms. David went through a lot of bad times, and the songs He wrote about it encouraged me when i was feeling down. He was real with God in expressing how he hated the way things are, but his songs of despair always ended with hope in God.

I have managed to read all of the Old and New Testaments, but i still love to read the Psalms and the gospel of St. John the most. One thing i like to do, which seems to work, is to always ask God to show me something new and helpful whenever i read, as James wrote in the New Testament:

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.(James 1:5)


#9

Hi, and welcome, as far as the Mass goes here is a little booklet you can print off and take with you when you do decide to go to Mass.

There is also a free home study course you can take that is wonderful in being able to answer your questions. He has a really good one on Mary called “Christ’s Mother and ours”.

He also has a book on prayer that you can get. It just came out this year.

The Rosary is excellent. It will help you in your prayer life. Another one you might like is the Divine Mercy Chaplet. It also uses Rosary beads.

May God richly bless you on your journey. :slight_smile:


#10

Would that be Catholicism for Dummies? I have that book and it is really good about explaining what we believe and why we do what we do.


#11

lol, no it was Mary: An evangelical-Catholic debate… but I have Catholicism for Dummies as well lol

I read through that mass leaflet and there’s loads of stuff in there that is worded exactly like the anglican responses I grew up with. so that’s made me feel a bit better :slight_smile:

when i was reading through the ten misunderstandings I think i used to hold about nine of them lol and probably still hold one lol

Take care, S


#12

ok, so I’ve decided upon two places that I may get in touch with but if i just turned up on sunday would I be allowed a blessing? I’d kinda just sit there the first few weeks or lots more lol, but after that?

S


#13

Here in US during Communion non-Catholics can cross their arms over their chest walk to the front and get a blessing from the priest.
I would think it works the same way in England.

You may talk to the priest and find a RCIA class to join.
God bless!


#14

Yes there is alot to examine, just take little bits would be my advice. it took me fours years to sort through everything I was reading feeling. Just start with simple things like praying the Rosary and talking with folks here at the board, Perhaps take an issue like Mary and thresh that out for awhile and folks here at the board will be praying for you. God bless you and may you find what you’re heart is yearning for:)


#15

English Protestants did a very clever job in associating in the public mind Catholics with foreignness and treason to the throne.

In fact it is the old religion. The faith of Arthur and King Alfred, of Henry V and Richard the Lionheart, of Chaucer and Malory, of Duns Scotus and St Bede, in fact of almost everyone who lived before the sixteenth century.

Now is the best time to leave the Church of England, when it is rent by insanity over homosexual bishops and similar issues. It makes the break very easy to understand, even if the real reasons go deeper.

Catholics must go to Confession whilst for Anglicans it is optional. Very few people find it easy to go, however even saints commit sins, and so this is something we must do.


#16

[quote=Abira]I can’t engage emotionally with anything and whenever I pray I have nothing to say.
[/quote]

If you possibly can, start going to weekend retreats. Silent retreats might be comfortable for you.

As for praying, there are many many different forms of prayer. Google around the internet until you find a quiet Catholic meditation site and visit that for a bit.

As for engaging emotionally, once you get going on the retreats and the meditation, then why not start asking around for someone who can be your spiritual director?

[quote=Abira]I started using the rosary which has taken some of the pressure off and I don’t feel so stuck for words now lol…
[/quote]

After a while with the rosary, you will start receiving insights.

Whatever you decide, be patient and allow things to unfold in good time.

[quote=Abira]for years I’ve been very anti-catholic and now that I’ve been learning about it I feel kinda trapped by how people knew me to be, it would be a shock to everyone.
[/quote]

Being a Catholic is definitely a humbling experience for everyone, not just you.

[quote=Abira]I haven’t been to church in over a year. I don’t know how to start going to church again and I’m not sure how to begin attending a Catholic church.
[/quote]

Oh gosh, you’ll have privacy in a Catholic church. Folks won’t bother you or look at you. They are mainly there to worship. You can sit in the back and gradually get accustomed to the what to do and say.

[quote=Abira]but as a Catholic I’d have to admitt things in confession…
[/quote]

The priests are very gentle in the confessional. And you are guaranteed confidentiality with the seal of the Holy Spirit. It is a bit scarey before you go in, but it’s supposed to be because you are going to have a direct encounter with the Almighty. You’ll be fine once you get in and once you get out.

Confession will do you a world of good.

[quote=Abira]I’m afraid that my academic reasoning has replaced the faith i used to have when i was younger.
[/quote]

Nothing wrong with academic reasoning. There is a place for everyone’s gifts in the Church.

:slight_smile:


#17

I can promise you, as someone who has just started going back to confession, that once you go, you will find it amazing. If that is something that is holding you back, don’t let it be! I am frequently in a state of sin (sins that I find disgusting and difficult to say out loud), and I know that it can feel “embarrassing” to keep going back and saying the same things, but it is so valuable, and once you actually get there, it is wonderful to experience Christ’s victory over sin taking place within you. As someone who didn’t go to confession for a period of probably 10 years, now that I am back, I can’t say enough good things about it! Peace, and God bless!:smiley:


#18

You can also make an Act of Spiritual Holy Communion while sitting in your pew. This simply means to ask Jesus to be with you in a special way, until you are able to receive Him in the Eucharist. You don’t have to go up and get a blessing if that would make you nervous. (It’s not really part of the Mass, anyway - only some priests even know about this idea, so if you do decide you want to do that, it’s best to make sure that the priest knows about this idea, and is willing to do it.)

You can certainly “just show up” at Mass - an engraved invitation is not required. The Mass, like all the liturgies of the Church, is open to the public. We respectfully ask that you don’t participate in the Sacraments (especially Reconciliation and Holy Communion) until you have been prepared for them through the appropriate steps and processes of the Church - for adults, this normally happens in RCIA.

To get in touch with a priest, simply call his secretary and make an appointment - it’s exactly the same as getting an appointment with a doctor or a lawyer. You can talk to him about whatever you want.


#19

Here is a very simple and traditional Act of Spiritual Communion that I have used many many times.

An Act of Spiritual Communion (LINK)

My Jesus,
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.

Amen.


#20

thanks guys,

I was going to post individual replies but there were too many good suggestions lol.

I think this may take me a few years lol but I like the idea of retreats and silent retreats.

thanks for the ideas, I’ll keep checking back here when I have more questions… erm… are there different ‘types’ of Catholic churches in the same sense that some anglican churches are more liberal than others etc.

How do you know what style of church would suit you?

It was strange that someone said that people in catholic churches don’t tend to chatter at services as in anglican churches people are very sociable and always go over to say hello to new people before service and as they go in.

also, I have never heard of anyone requesting a confession from an anglican vicar… even thouhg I’m sure it can be done it’s not something that I’ve ever seen done, so it’s kinda alien to me. although that’s kinda the reason I’ve been dodging church; as I feel that I’ve done/ doing kinda bad things and shouldn’t be there.

anyway i’m rambling… again… I think maybe silent retreats must be kinda hcallenging for me lol.

take care,

S


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