I need help with a lot of un-answered quesitons


#1

First, I would like to say that I am venting really bad here because that’s how I get my oppinions out when I’m stressed. I will, at the end of this post, apoligize again if I have offended anyone with my ranting and raving about all of my un-answered questions.

My entire family is Catholic, on both sides, and I was raised Catholic. I went to a Catholic grade school, but an curently in a Public High school. in my grade school I learned a lot about my religion, but I was always ignored when I tried to ask simple questions that came to mind while the teacher was explaining the Cathlic religion. So therefore, now that I’m actually thinking for myself, I have so many un-answered questions that my parents and family and friends don’t have answers to. I need answers. I cannot keep going to Mass, listening to the priest, and walking away from the building going “that was a pointless hour of my life”. Will someone or everyone please help me?

The most dominant question is where in the Bible does it say you HAVE to attend Mass or you will be forever shuned by God? Also, aren’t there people of other religions, not only Christains, who go to Heaven? Why do we abstain from meat on fridays during Lent and instead go to Red Lobster and pig out on expensive sea food when it’s supposed to be a sacrifise? What is the point of all the little “extra” stuff, if most Catholics just do it to say they did it and to “become a better person”? I mean, come on. Even Jesus said it’s better to be say a silent prayer for yourself than to announce to the world that you’re the better person because you do all that stuff. I guess what I’m really trying to get at is - Is it really not enough to love God and find God in everyone and every place that we are forever condamned to Hell for simply not going to mass because Jesus never actually said that you had to? Yes, he said you need to keep holy the sabath day - when did that get translated into “got to mass you you will go to hell”? Some lazy guy who got sick and tired of listening to different ways to keep the sabboth dday holy, that’s who. I don’t agree with a lot of the things Catholics seem to be brain-washed into believing, but I do agree with the basics of the religion itself. I have a friend who used to be a UPC Apostolic Christain. Her parents finally got sick of punishing her for things they never really believed in (like no jewlry, no make-up, no pants, and such) that they decided when they moved to Michigan to swich to Assembly of God (I do believe that’s the right demonination of the Apostolic faith…), and she has grown sooooooo much closer to God and actually loves to get involved her her church because she’s not around the people that she says were always doing the motions to be “better” but never really loved it because they loved it. She’s with people who love what they do and love God all the more for it. I don’t feel this way! I feel like when I’m walking into that church building to go to mass, I’m walking into a group of people who do what they do because they have to, and they are so much better than the world because they’re practicing Catholics in good standing faith who have never done a bad thing in their life. :ehh: I’m sorry. But where did I miss something? I thought going to mass was to get closer to God? I guess I missed the memo that God took back what he said about being outspoken and pridefull. I’m sorry. rolls eyes

Again, so the whole point of this was to simply get answers - I know there are other ways of asking, but venting helps me, so I do hope no one takes offence, and some one can help give me some answers, because when I try to bring this up with my parents, I get shot out of the sky, and I always used to either get yelled at or ignored in my grade school when I tried to ask.


#2

It does not. Christians (and before Christians, the Jews) are commanded come together to worship God.

Jesus himself said that we are commanded to “love the lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength”.

Seems that spending one hour per week is a small sacrifice to make to someone who died for your sins.

The only thing we know is what Jesus told us.

He said over and over that HE is the way to heaven, that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood in order to go to heaven. We are told “baptism now saves you”.

Nowhere did Christ ever say that those who did not follow Him would go to heaven. We understand that God may in his mercy provide a means for those who did not have a chance to accept him, but, that is up to God.

Seems that you have seen some people who are not taking seriously their commitment. Just because someone else is not devoted does not mean that all Christians are that way. I do not know any Catholics who go pig out at Red Lobster during Lent. Pray for those who have not yet learned the spirit of sacrifice.

Jesus said we are to be the salt of the earth, a light in the darkness. Could you go into what you mean by “extra stuff”?

Bottom line, Jesus set up a Church on this earth. He did not leave us to just wander about and follow what ever felt good or sounded pretty. He gave us leaders and teachers, authority figures.

I’d suggest you take some time to really dig in and learn your Faith, why the Church is Christ’s authority on earth. And pray, ask God to increase your Faith. Talk to your Priest, to your youth minister - are you in the CYM at your Parish? What about Life Teen?

Begin with some of the works by Amy Wellborn “Prove It! Church” would be the first book I’d suggest.


#3

I second this advice. Once you realize, really realize, exactly what and WHO the Blessed Sacrament is - it will no longer be a task or a chore to go to Mass. In fact you might even be crazy enough to go more than once a week just to be closer to Jesus! :wink: I highly recommend the CD “The Mass Explained” by Fr. Larry Richards. You can get it for free here: catholicity.com/cds/cds.html

I don’t feel this way! I feel like when I’m walking into that church building to go to mass, I’m walking into a group of people who do what they do because they have to, and they are so much better than the world because they’re practicing Catholics in good standing faith who have never done a bad thing in their life. I’m sorry. But where did I miss something? I thought going to mass was to get closer to God? I guess I missed the memo that God took back what he said about being outspoken and pridefull. I’m sorry. rolls eyes

I can sympathize. I think we’ve all been there. It seems so common for young people to become bored and disillusioned with their Catholic faith, sadly. In my case most of the CCD teachers I had failed me miserably. (One lady would take us all to Hardees’ for breakfast instead of teaching the lesson. Meanwhile my Baptist friends were actually studying the Bible in their Sunday Schools. Made us look pretty pathetic!) It wasn’t until I took the initiative and started to dig deeper that I really got into my Catholic faith.

You can’t control the people around you, but you can control yourself. You have two choices: Either you can keep “going through the motions” and being resentful, or you can learn about your faith, OWN your faith and get a real understanding of how close we come to Jesus through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Every action, every prayer of the Mass is loaded with symbolism. If you don’t learn about what it all means, you are cheating yourself out of a rich spiritual experience.

I can tell that you’re hungry for real spiritual food, to be close to Jesus. When you receive Communion with a pure heart, you are as close to Jesus as it is possible to get in this life. Think about that for a while. It’s been my experience that we get out of Mass exactly what we put into it. God bless.


#4

thank you! as for the cym and life teen, i’m in neither, though i do try to get involved in tch (teens encounter christ) when i’m not overly burdened with graduating from high school. i understand the one hour a weeks is not a big sacrifice, and for a teen, it should probably be easer than it is for me. one of my biggest probablems with the church is i have a very small attention span and mass is suposed to be a celebration of the religion and of God and Jesus’s life. in my church, and in most churches i’ve been to, it’s very very very conservative. holding my attention is hard enough - making me listen is even harder, so it’s really hard for me to find God in the building itself, expecially with the people who go to the church my parents want me to go to. the “extra stuff” is just things like the small sacrifices during lent and advent. I understand why we do it, but i’m such a liberal person, it’s kind of rediculous, i like to be able to see where god said it before i take it to heart… (that, and I really want to prove my parents wrong…I know, I’m a horrible person). i have tried going to different churches around my area, and every single one is just as prim and proper as my church. I feel like the catholic religion has lost some of it’s roots trying to be so strictly traditional… am I wrong? am I a horrible person for questioning these things? i don’t have the answers, and i know the preists here in my town don’t have the answers either, which is why I’m on this site.
thank you again for helping me


#5

I thank you so much for this help! And I know I can’t control others, I can only control myself. I have tried to learn more about my faith, but I never knew where to start. I know what I learned in my grade school, and I know what I’ve learned through listening to the sermons at mass. but as for furthering my education with it - finding a starting point was next to imposible for me, until i found this site today.
thank you again for your help!


#6

Good and honest reply.

I’m going to take two things to respond, okay?

Holding your attention at Mass.

We spend time every day with things that entertain us. TV, cell phones, computer, video games, Ipods, sporting events… our teachers have to compete with that so they try to entertain us as well.

Sit down, get ready for this - Mass is not about entertaining us. Mass is where the God who created the universe from nothing comes and becomes really present, body - blood - soul and divinity - it is where we present to that almighty and everliving God our sacrifice. It is ancient, it is new.

The best way not to be bored in Mass is to know what is actually going on. You have been in Mass all of your life, you can stand and quote the entire thing from memory. If you are like me, most of the time you rattle through the responses and prayers and do not even click on a brain cell.

Stop, rewind - learn what really IS. Each prayer, each response, is entrenched with meaning. Become a student of the Mass.

One of the best explinations of the Mass that I have seen is Fr. Stan Fortuna’s. This is a you tube snip of it.

youtube.com/watch?v=Ddub2td3m0k

If you can order the DVD, it would be well worth it.

If not, there are others (one of the other posters gave a link to a free talk). Something as simple as reading the Missalette, slowly, reading the prayers and responses line by line.

Then, about the sacrifices. Let’s think about your mom. Does she ever do little things for you, just because? Not because it is your birthday or you are sick, but, she just makes you something special to eat? We can give little things like that to God. Just little ways of telling him we love him by doing something (or not doing something).

When you have a good friend, you want to share with them. You would give your friend half of your sandwich if he did not have lunch, right? Those sacrifices are how we give little things to God. They help us grow to be more like Jesus (remember, Jesus told us that we will know who the other Christians are by how they love one another).


#7

You’re very welcome. And you’ve come to the right place. Make sure you check out the main site (www.catholic.com) - there are free articles on pretty much every Catholic subject you could think about. And definitely feel free to post any questions you have on the forum.

in my church, and in most churches i’ve been to, it’s very very very conservative.

I understand why we do it, but i’m such a liberal person, it’s kind of rediculous,

I’m not sure what you mean when you say you’re liberal - but I have to say that the Church isn’t “liberal” or “conservative” in any kind of political sense. The Church is the Church :smiley: She proclaims the Truth in all ages.

I’m sorry that I can’t really sympathize in this regard because I have always loved tradition! Give me a church with gorgeous stained glass, beautiful organ music and incense any day - I love to worship with all my senses engaged! I don’t see tradition as being “fuddy duddy” at all. Rather it gives me a sense of connection to all Catholics past and present - what we call the Communion of Saints.

How often do you pray outside of Mass? Do you read the Bible regularly? Cultivating a prayer life during the week will help you get more out of Mass - and it’ll teach you to sit still longer too! :thumbsup:


#8

thank you!

Sit down, get ready for this - Mass is not about entertaining us. Mass is where the God who created the universe from nothing comes and becomes really present, body - blood - soul and divinity - it is where we present to that almighty and everliving God our sacrifice. It is ancient, it is new.

The best way not to be bored in Mass is to know what is actually going on. You have been in Mass all of your life, you can stand and quote the entire thing from memory. If you are like me, most of the time you rattle through the responses and prayers and do not even click on a brain cell.

:yup:

Stop, rewind - learn what really IS. Each prayer, each response, is entrenched with meaning. Become a student of the Mass. Something as simple as reading the Missalette, slowly, reading the prayers and responses line by line.

that makes sence…

Then, about the sacrifices. Let’s think about your mom. Does she ever do little things for you, just because? Not because it is your birthday or you are sick, but, she just makes you something special to eat?

I would like to interject just to say… no, my mommy doesn’t really do much little things unless I NEED help… I love my mommy, but she’s the most un-sympathetic person on the planet, and I love that about her. :slight_smile: she makes me stronger.

We can give little things like that to God. Just little ways of telling him we love him by doing something (or not doing something).

When you have a good friend, you want to share with them. You would give your friend half of your sandwich if he did not have lunch, right? Those sacrifices are how we give little things to God. They help us grow to be more like Jesus (remember, Jesus told us that we will know who the other Christians are by how they love one another).

you make a lot of really good points that no one’s ever brought up with me before… and I get where you’re coming from, I really do. (and I have given my friend my whole lunch when they didn’t have any… almost had to shove it down their throat… that was an interesting experience… I really hope I don’t have to do that with God… insert weak atempted laugh and crickets here …ok… bad joke…) The more I think about everything you’re saying, the more I’m starting to realize I’m really way off on some of my thinkings…
Thanks, again.


#9

hehehehehehe, no, I didn’t mean it in any polital sence. I meant more of a “conservative” as in, it’s an organ with a very ophratic chior director and a very traditional choir and we got yelled at once for clapping in church… and as for being liberal, i take things very literally. if you don’t tell my what to get at the store, i’ll drive there, look around, come back. my family is used to it, but it drives my friends up a wall. :slight_smile: no politcal statement was intended

I’m sorry that I can’t really sympathize in this regard because I have always loved tradition! Give me a church with gorgeous stained glass, beautiful organ music and incense any day - I love to worship with all my senses engaged! I don’t see tradition as being “fuddy duddy” at all. Rather it gives me a sense of connection to all Catholics past and present - what we call the Communion of Saints.

How often do you pray outside of Mass? Do you read the Bible regularly? Cultivating a prayer life during the week will help you get more out of Mass - and it’ll teach you to sit still longer too! :thumbsup:

I like tradition, but I’m definately a teenager. I like load obnoxious music, and in-your-face kind of things. Tradition always seemed… repetitive, which drives me up a wall. i’ve accepted it when it comes to mass, but sometimes i wish we had a teen mass, with an up-beat band and fun music and … idk… something like what the music is like at an apostolic church service. i learn through music and i listen through music. heck, if my teachers sang their lectures, i’d a perfect straight-A, valadictorian! sadly… they don’t… but anyway… tradition’s great, but I think so is change nodnod thanks again!


#10

I’m so glad you are asking these questions, they are very important. Here are the answers as far as I know them, but from your questions ,it sounds like you need to get a Catechism or you can go to scborromeo.org/ccc.htm to answer quite a lot of them.

  1. The Bible says to keep holy the sabbath in the 10 commandments. For Catholics, the greatest gift the Lord gave us is the Eucharist. When we don’t attend mass (without very good reason) we are committing a serious sin because we are not keeping the sabbath and basically denigrating the most precious gift we have. It is not that God will forever shun us (that is why we go to confession), but it is a serious sin that separates us from our Lord.

  2. The catechism does teach that there are people of other religions who go to heaven. We believe in the Lord’s mercy. However, if you knowingly refuse Christ as your savior, we believe this is different.

  3. We are not supposed to pig out on expensive seafood on Fridays. As you point out we sometimes behave in a hypocritical manner. We should eat very plainly and then donate the money we save to the poor. I know at your age, it is hard to accept, but all of us make mistakes, or have misunderstandings about our faith. Most people are not trying to be hypocritical, they probably don’t understand.

  4. We aren’t supposed to do the “extra” stuff to show off. We are supposed to do it to increase our self mastery and discipline. It should be done quietly and without fanfare as you said, but again, the Church is a hospital for sinners not a resort for saints so we all fall short of the glory of God.

  5. It is enough to love God and find God in everyone, but if you truly do that wild horses wouldn’t keep you away from mass because He gave us His precious Son and the Eucharist for all of us. I myself was raised Catholic but missed the Eucharist part of my teaching until I was about 30, so I’m assuming you don’t yet understand either. Catholics believe literally in John 6 (read it carefully). After studying the scriptures, it all holds together and I go to daily mass because I love the Eucharist so much. How can you refuse God’s most precious gift when you are lucky enough to be Catholic and have access to the Lord Jesus in the Eucharist? If you pray on this, you’ll find this is true and you not only will go to mass, it will be hard to stay away.

  6. I’m glad you believe in the basics of Catholicism. When you refer to being “brainwashed”, you should specify your issues and you will find that the true teachings of the church all have scriptural and traditional basis. We are a very rational faith and all your questions can be answered.

  7. As to your friend, I don’t know what is happening with her prayer life, but the Holy Spirit can work in a variety of ways. The Catholic church offers the Universal church which through the 7 sacraments gives you the support you need throughout your life to come closer to our Lord. There are tons of spiritualities within the church and disciplines that you can do to help each individual fulfill his or her vocation in this life in order to be prepared for the next.

I’m so glad you are venting on this forum. You are obviously intelligent and looking for answers. If you seek the truth, all roads will lead back to the Catholic church.


#11

Wow, you’re looking hard for God! That’s wonderful. Most people would just shut up and stop going to Mass. You’re clearing really searching for Him. You’re on the right path here!

As to “being such a liberal” - listening to your posts, you’re looking for several things. You seem to want to:
a) find a more closer relationship with God
b) learn to sacrifice, but you don’t have any examples around you
c) be a part of something that energizes and inspires you
d) learn more about the faith

Do you know the story of St. Francis of Assisi? Other than garden statues and the sanitized pictures we see of him? St. Francis was a REBEL. He felt called by God, but his father said he shouldn’t follow it. So, in the town square - in front of the bishop - he renounced his father, stripped naked (so he kept nothing of his father’s), and went on his way to found a great order, live in total poverty, and “rebuild My Church, which as you see is in ruins around Me.” (which is what Jesus asked him to do). He sounds like the type of guy you’d like :D. I would recommend that you check out some of his work - maybe a biography, or read about him on the net. Ask him for help - that’s one of the great parts about being Catholic. The saints are like big brothers and sisters (good examples for us) who want to help us succeed and love God.

As to the Mass - basically, it’s the unbloody sacrifice. When we go to Mass, we see Jesus again sacrifice Himself for us. Think on that, and it might not be so boring. It’s hard at first. But when you find yourself wandering, ask Him to help you bring your attention back. I keep my eyes closed through most of it - of otherwise I start thinking about other things. Hey, whatever helps, right?

Very few people, nowadays, really strive to live a holy life. And by that, I mean that very few actually LIVE trying to be closer to God every single day. Lots of emphasis on the don’t, very little on the do’s - and very little on the fact that God calls us each to a personal relationship with Him. He’s your best friend. Ask Him to show you that.

Most of all, PRAY. Every single night. Start small - a Hail Mary, an Our Father. No need to start with a whole Rosary. Every single night (and morning, if you can) bless yourself and tell Jesus, “I trust you.” Even if you don’t feel like you trust Him - saying it will help immensely.

And before I forget - no, you’re not wrong to question things! It happens. Try, "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief."
I’ll keep you in my prayers. Check out St. Francis - sounds like you two have a lot in common.


#12

normal feelings, no? all young people want to break out. this is not “horrible”. good time to decide who you are. be who you are. this does not mean you are what your parents are not. that is a thing that has no sense. it is ok to decide to be Catholic. a shock to your parents? ha.

did you try Mass at a Newman Center parish? they are at university. i have been. they had a rock band.

i like incense and Latin. :slight_smile:


#13

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