h o l l y.
i’m so sorry beyond words, holly, that you seem to be suffering so much right now, and that you are considering leaving the Church. please know that i will be keeping you in my constant thoughts and prayers. i hope and pray that this post will be able to help you, comfort you, support you and encourage you in at least some small way, and convince you that leaving the Catholic Church is not the answer.
there could be a lot of reasons why you are not experiencing as much fulfillment in the Catholic Church as you used to. the first one that comes to mind is that this is a temptation you are going through, a temptation to give up on the Church because you are not feeling what you feel you should. i’m not judging you or trying to be harsh with you in any way when i tell you that it’s best not to rely on what we feel or experience as part of the True Church, but to rely on our faith to guide us, and the conviction within our hearts that we are living out the Truth to keep us strong in the Catholic Faith. i know that there are times when i experience spiritual dryness and have difficulty praying, meditating or living out a good Catholic life—do you think this could be what you are going through? please don’t give up, holly, at the first sign of things growing difficult. i have no doubt that you have the strength, courage, bravery, determination and perseverance to get through this and to overcome this completely, and to experience the fulfillment and beauty of the Catholic Church once more. your lack of fulfillment will most likely be only temporary—it could be a temptation from Satan or God’s way of purifying you and bringing you closer to Himself through this suffering. please don’t give up on the Church simply because you are relying completely on what you feel as part of the Catholic Faith—it’s not what we feel that keeps us in the Faith, but what we know to be true despite what our feelings tell us. for example, today i struggled with the idea that God loves me, for i was feeling rather upset and my feelings kept telling me that He doesn’t, but i persevered in overcoming this lie because of what i know to be true despite my emotions, which are weak and easily influenced—what i know to be true is that God does love me even when i fail and even when i displease Him. i hope and pray that you will be able to realize that even when you don’t feel fulfilled from the Church, you are still living out the One True Faith, and experiencing and receiving many graces from the Eucharist, from Adoration, from prayer and meditation, from the Rosary, etc., even if you can’t tangibly feel yourself receiving them.
i’m not saying that this is the answer, because i don’t know the depth of your spiritual life, but another reason that you could be experiencing this spiritual dryness when it comes to the Church is because of a shallow spiritual life. have you been persevering in prayer, even if you don’t feel the Presence of God or anticipate a response? have you been going to Mass and receiving the Eucharist? have you been reading the Bible, spending time with God, attending Adoration, etc.? if you have, then this is most likely a temptation, one that i hope and pray and trust you will overcome in hope, strength and perseverance. but if you haven’t, then please know that when we neglect the spiritual life, we will not feel or experience the same graces and fulfillment that we would know and receive if we were actively working to grow closer to God. if you haven’t been keeping up with your spiritual life because of what you’ve been feeling, then please know that it’s times like this when it is especially important to stay close to God through prayer, Mass, the Eucharist, meditation, fasting, reading the Bible, etc. i know how incredibly difficult it is to work on the spiritual life when your soul seems to be falling apart—i’ve experienced it myself. but please know, holly, that it’s at this time that it’s essential that you stay close to God so that this temptation doesn’t overwhelm you—the temptation to give up completely and leave the Church simply because of what you aren’t feeling. if you have been keeping up with your spiritual life, then my suggestion to you is to simply persevere. i know how difficult and painful it is, holly, because i’ve felt the dark night of the soul, and you are definitely not alone in this. but please know that it’s so important that you stay close to God at this time, during this temptation, and don’t allow the temptation to overwhelm you and steal you away from the Truth.