I just don't get much out of Catholicism anymore


#1

Hi everyone. For the past few days, I have been considering leaving the Church. My primary reason is because I simply do not get much out of the Church anymore. It doesn’t fulfill me like it used to. I wish I knew how to fix this but I don’t know how. And so, before I make my final decision to leave the Church, I’d like to have this concern as well as my others (which will be addressed in other threads) addressed. So anyway, how do I begin to get more fulfillment out of the Catholic Church? Catholicism has lately seemed to be more of an obligation than a joy for me. What do you suggest? :shrug::confused:

Also, please be gentle with me. I know I have left the Church a number of times in the past for other denominations/religions but I sincerely do not wish to permanently leave the Catholic Church. So please, please do not be harsh with me. I honestly don’t think I can take it with the state of my soul as it is now. :frowning:


#2

Well first, I would ask you what it is you hope to find in some other church that the Catholic Church can’t give you.

Secondly, are you taking advantage of all the Church has to offer? Do you go to Mass every Sunday and receive Holy Communion? Do you remain in a state of grace? When was the last time you availed yourself of the Sacrament of Reconciliation?

A rich spiritual life (by which many often see the fruits of their faith) also involves work on the part of the believer. Are you praying regularly? How often do you read your Bible? If you aren’t doing anything to foster your own spirituality, then you frankly aren’t going to find yourself in a situation any different in any other church.

We’ll be praying for you.

God bless.


#3

This is an attack of the devil. There is a cute saying that when you reach the end of your rope put a knot in it and hang on. I have gone through periods like this to and I truly believe that it is the evil one. What I do is pray.

One other comment. Your not suppose to get things out of Catholicism your suppose to put into it. You put in your worship, your time and your hope. If you concentrate on putting into, you might find the “getting out of” taken care of.

God Bless you and pray for me as I will put you in my prayers.


#4

You should taste crucifixion yourself in order to appreciate the goodness and bounty that you have now.


#5

Spend time looking at a crucifix. Would you turn you back on Christ simply because of feelings?

Faith is not about feelings.

Find a good holy Priest and talk to him.


#6

There are many people in your place right now…sometimes it takes prayer on the part of others to sustain you, sometimes it takes more effort on your part, sometimes God only knows what will being you back to Him.
There is a young man, Matthew Kelly, who is an awsome writer and speaker. The following link is a description of his book “Rediscovering Catholicism.” matthewkelly.org/book_more04.html
Just call their number in Ohio 513-221-7700 and tell them you really need this book and if ou have the courage a little bit of why. They speak with people every day on this. I have read the book myself and found it very worthwhile. Keep going! There is light up ahead!:slight_smile:


#7

you probably don’t know half what the Church offers… I’ve been there… wasn’t catechized… and so, didn’t feel the need to go to Mass… .and didn’t for a very long time… but then my life fell apart…

I prayed the rosary and aspects of my life fell apart even more… (very long story)… but spirtiually, i began to get better… then i went back to Mass… At first, i felt uncomfortable at the Mass because i could feel holiness all around me… I thought it was the people there who made me feel this holiness… & was ready to bail out, thinking i was not as holy as those people… didn’t think they were as bad sinners as i was… (boy was i wrong on that one!!!):hypno: :smiley:

anyway, then i l learned that it is the Real Presence I felt at Mass, not some human holiness… I’m so glad i stuck it out…:slight_smile:

The holier a peson gets (I feel) the more he will enjoy Mass… meaning the more intimate s/he gets with Jesus… The Mass is the holiest place on Earth. All of the angels and saints participate in the Mass…

I would like to know more where you are coming from… don’t feel i have enough info to say much beyond this…


#8

Be more faithful and stronger!

It is indeed a temptation from the devil. It reminds me of Mormonism, with the ‘fire in the breast’. We receive temptations that are emotional, in our thoughts, and in spiritual matters of all kinds.

If you are not receiving the consolations or spiritual benefits that entice you to stay here, you are not showing the Faith that is what God desires of you – He is calling you to a deeper Catholicism than you have so far possessed, a firmer and stronger one that cannot be shaken or consider this ‘going back and forth’ business which is so sinful and brings sin into your life in every aspect.

We have a Church that has the witness of history in its miracles, and its unchanging moral teachings – that is a miracle more than any other, no other Church has it, no other place exists so unchanging and timeless.

I am surprised you have not found in the apologetics here more firmness than you have so far.

For the Lord changeth not.

You need to feed yourself and give of yourself to gain fulfillment from God through His Church. You feed yourself through reading the works of the saints, and you give of yourself through prayer and sharing your gifts with others.

Pray more, and do not -pray for the sake of consolations-. You must -pray when you do not wish to pray-, and you must -pray as a duty not only as a way of feeling good-. And you -must not expect that your whole spiritual life is going to be one of fine feelings and rewards.

God does not intend to feed you like a baby your whole life but calls you to grow in Faith and be able to be faithful in the desert. If your adherence to God is based on this baby feeding you will be like a baby bird who refuses to fly, and you will die a spiritual death.

God is calling you to grow! To empty yourself out of the bad, and change and grow! This is the hard path of love!

You must empty out yourself for you to ever be truly fulfilled and to pursue the spiritual journey.

Have you heard of the purgative, illuminative, and unitive way? Pursue it! You have not even begun! :slight_smile:

Stay with the readings of the saints and prayers and learn to fight the devil’s so pleasant temptations rather than follow them wherever they lead!


#9

Go back to Mass next Sunday. Forget about what you might “get” out of it. Bring love with you. Give that. Bring gratitude with you. Give that. See what happens. Sending a prayer up for you now.


#10

If you are trying to get a lot of friendships out of going to the Catholic Church, I’d say you might not have much luck…

but if you want Jesus - and ALL of Him… well, he is the best and only friend any of us needs…

and what i have learned is that he is the ONLY friend we have PERIOD.

No one else can be trusted…


#11

When I first became Catholic, my spiritual life was very full of consolations, the feelings that come with knowing and loving God. I had visions during communion, every time. I had always been taught not to rely on the feelings, that they can go away but I didn’t believe it cause I felt His Presence so keenly all the time. Then one day, the feelings stopped. I was no longer being consoled in communion. Prayer was dry and empty and felt completely useless. Mass was more going through the motions than anything else. That was in 1989. I have not ‘seen’ the Lord since.

For me, there was only one response. Hold on tight to the Truth and the True Church because even if I don’t feel anything, the Eucharist is still Christ and the Church is still the Church that Christ founded. Christ can work in me even if I don’t ‘feel’ Him. It is not necessary that I feel anything, only that I trust God, trust that He knows what He is doing.

It is easy to trust when you ‘feel’ but when the feelings go, it takes faith to trust.

It is a time of trial. Just losing consolations, although it hurts, is not as severe a trial as someone dragging me off to prison and throwing me to the lions. Many Christians around the world are facing this kind of trial - trial to the death. What I was suffering was very small comparatively. So I began to thank Him for the trials He sent me as I learned to place more and more of my trust in Him. I regard trials now as opportunities for me to Trust, even if this is sometimes quite hard to do.

It is not about me being fulfilled, but about me serving God to the best of my ability. I am His servant, not His master. He owes me nothing and I owe Him everything.

Hang in there, Holly. Trust God and serve Him to the best of your ability. Please, don’t leave the Church. Persevere, even through dry times. You won’t regret it. I found keeping a picture of the Divine Mercy on my wall and contemplating it when things get tough to be of great help. Contemplate ‘Jesus, I Trust in You.’


#12

Holly, you mentioned once before having some emotional challenges. May I suggest gently that this could be those emotions guiding you? Remember to always act thoughtfully, not impulsively.

I think you will be ok if you remember your relationship with the Church is give and take. Sometimes, even when the Church isn’t giving us immediate comfort, we need to remember that is has in the past, and trust that it will again in the future. In this way we trust the Church and have a long-term relationship wtih her.


#13

spend some time at Eucharistic adoration


#14

Recall all the previous times that you have left … how did you feel?

Offer it up and keep going to Mass … go to Confession.


#15

Hi Holly –

I was exactly where you are at about 10 years ago. I am the only one of my siblings who is still Catholic (so I get a lot of opposition) and my faith felt very dry. I knew it would be a difficult thing to leave because I didn’t think my husband would ever leave, and I knew it would deeply disappoint my parents. But I wanted to have a deeper relationship with Jesus again, and to be on fire, and I didn’t feel that where I was.

So, I prayed and said “Lord, You know my heart. Please lead me where You want me to be and give me the courage I need to follow You!”

Be careful what you pray for!

Shortly after that time, we had financial struggles and then I became seriously ill. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. After much time and many doctors and specialists, I finally started getting some answers, but I still deal with chronic illness issues.

During this time, however, I would listen to our local Catholic radio station at night when I couldn’t sleep. It was amazing that the things I needed to learn, and the encouragement I needed to have were right there – in the music, in the call-in shows, in the teachings, in the gospel! So, I began reading anything and everything I could on the faith. My parents bought us a year of cable (because I was bedridden) and I began to watch EWTN (the Catholic TV network). I read a lot of Scott Hahn books (highly recommended), and I fell head-over-heels absolutely in love with Jesus and His Church!

Since that time, I have had additional ups and downs, dry spells and even what some might call “dark night of the soul” experiences. But I will never, ever leave the Church, because it’s the Bride of Christ, it’s His Church, and it’s the only place where Jesus is Truly Present – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

I make a weekly hour of adoration and go more often when I can. I look forward to Sunday – not because of who I’ll see at Church, or what activities are going on, but because a miracle occurs every Sunday on the altar when Jesus becomes present in the Bread and Wine and heaven and earth are joined together with the angels singing “Holy, Holy, Holy!!!”

When we realize what a treasure we have, then we want to become more involved (in whatever way God calls us and with whatever gifts God has given us). In doing so, the fruit of friendship follows, yet I always remember not to put my faith in people, but in God, because people will always disappoint (I’m sure I’ve disappointed others) – but Jesus will NEVER disappoint!

We also have to move beyond our “feelings” and come to a commitment – like a marriage – to Jesus and the Church. You don’t walk away just because it doesn’t FEEL like it used to, or the spark isn’t there anymore. By enduring the difficult times, the relationship with Jesus and His Church grows stronger.

I remember a couple years back when I was having a really dry spiritual time. I spoke with my priest and he asked if I was still praying every day, and I said yes. He said that Our Lord appreciates our prayers during the dry times more so than others because we are praying out of love for Him, out of faith that we don’t always feel, out of commitment and not because of how it makes us feel or that there’s any perceived benefit to us (although there always is, we just might not feel it). This has helped me greatly.

So, I would suggest reading books on the faith, watching DVD’s, watching EWTN if you get it, listen to Catholic Answers on the radio or on the internet. Once you start learning how beautiful and rich our faith and our Church is, you’ll never want to leave, no matter how you “feel.”

God bless you! I’ll say a prayer for you!


#16

Thanks everyone so much for your help. Some of you were a little harsher than I would have liked but I think that maybe you needed to be harsh with me in order to get me to see what it was I was getting myself in to. Anyway, thank you again. I am definitely going to stay Catholic.


#17

I’m so overjoyed to hear that!! Bless you Holly, you are in my prayers.


#18

God Bless you, Holly! You will be in my Rosary tomorrow.

Jon


#19

Love is action, choice, not a feeling, emotion. Choose God or mammon, and choose wisely, for we will be judged on our love.


#20

Many of the saints did not feel like they got a lot out of the Church. Most recently, Mother Teresa’s letters talked about how she had a hard time feeling God’s presence in her life. I once asked a priest about this and why God would allow someone doing His work to feel so detached from His grace. The priest replied that is God’s way of protecting us from ourselves and our pride. We should carry on God’s work for His glory and kingdom, not for our own.

In other words, to be doubtful is human. To have faith and follow Jesus Christ despite those doubts is saintly.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.