I just think I rediscovered God after about a decade of atheism, now what?


#1

I was raised a Catholic: went to a Catholic school and got baptised, confirmed, and all the other relevant sacraments. The problem is when I was ~17-18 I just stopped believing in God. Over the last few years I’ve gradually drifted back in the general direction of faith through changes in my aesthetic tastes, politics, views on family, etc… and even made a couple of attempts to go to Mass, but never really “got it” and always gave up after a week or two.

About four months ago my girlfriend broke up with me, which left me completely heartbroken for a while, so I started going to Mass, found a parish that I enjoy. and it just felt right. I’m fairly but not absolutely confident that I believe in God now. How can I know for certain that I truly believe, and what should I do to rejoin the Catholic community?

The reason that I’m asking this here instead of talking to my priest is that I’m an Australian expatriate living in France so my priest and me, while both being somewhat bilingual, don’t share a fluency in the same language so I can’t ask him difficult questions like these.


#2

Ask yourself if you believe. If not, then keep going to Mass and pray, “God, I want to believe. Help my unbelief.”
Reading Scripture and going to Adoration will help too.
You can be a good practicing Catholic even as you struggle with perhaps some residual doubt. Mother Teresa did.

Just go make a good Confession. Don’t forget to include any times you missed Mass or made an unworthy Communion.
And since you’ve already received all the necessary sacraments…you’re back in good standing.
Simple as that.

Welcome home.


#3

It’s not an uncommon journey, I’ve been along a similar path, it’s one foretold of by Jesus Himself in Luke 15. That should be comforting. Time and experience will erode what ill feeling you have, and know that some doubts are natural.


#4

Yes, they are. The homily at Mass this morning was all about doubt and how good Catholics may suddenly have a doubt at any time, such as when they have to watch a loved one suffering with illness.


#5

Thanks, I think my residual doubt is just because I’m not used to believing in God so I try to act as if I do and it seems to be getting easier to believe.

The first time I went to confession after returning I did exactly that. I’m still relearning the catechism and am trying to fix the bad habits that lead me to sin.


#6

It sounds like you’re on the right track. It’s an ongoing process. The important thing is to stick with it even when being a Catholic doesn’t feel so great. It’s like exercise or correcting a bad habit, there are times when it feels great and times when it feels difficult and times when it’s just boring. Being consistent no matter what you are feeling will really help.


#7

I’ve found the obligation to attend Sunday Mass really helpful since I not only don’t want to sin, I don’t want to break my chain of attendance.


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