Is it a sign, or am I talking myself into it?

Hi! This is my first post. Sorry if this is the wrong forum to post this in, but there seem to be similar-ish threads here so I thought I would try.

So… I was born and baptized Catholic. I grew up Catholic, went through all the big spiritual landmarks (confirmation, etc.), but I’ve struggled with doubt my whole life. Like, hardcore doubt. I’m too emotionally drained from all of it to get into it right now… Maybe some other time I’ll make a thread about that and see if y’all can help. But anyway, because of that doubt, I strayed far away from the Church.

Today, sort of out of the blue, I felt a sense that I needed to go back to church. Just a strong gut feeling. It occurred to me that I’ve never actually tried to be a good Catholic, and maybe that’s why I never “felt” God. I was fairly religious when I was a kid (like, middle school age), and I used to like praying to saints for intercession. I spent some time online today looking at different patron saints, seeing if anything jumped out… Well, I happened to look and see what today’s feast was, and it’s St. Jude. In the bio I clicked, he’s listed as the patron saint of lost causes and desperate situations (also hospitals).

I literally laughed out loud. I definitely feel desperate, and like a lost cause. In fact, “desperate” and “lost cause” pretty much sum up my entire faith experience. Do y’all think it could be a sign that I felt called to the church on the feast day of St. Jude? Or am I so desperate to believe in God that I’m talking myself into seeing things that aren’t there?

I think God is really trying to tell you something. In God’s way, there are no consequences. Everything is planned out by him

Wow! God works in mysterious ways, right! Sounds like he’s calling you

The Holy Spirit is calling you back into the Catholic Church. All you need to do is go to confession and you can receive communion at Mass on this Sunday! If you have time, consider attending RCIA classes at your parish. Anyone can attend and it will help give a grown up perspective of the Church. Welcome (back) home, we missed you!

I’d call it a sign. I also just came back to the Church, and I often struggle with this question. Some days I think I might have talked myself back into it, but when I really consider my initial conversion, I immediately feel that pull again. “Gut feeling” is an apt term for it. It’s just something that pops in your mind and gives you a burst of energy. Remember, you had this feeling before you tried to “talk yourself into it”. This feeling came from somewhere external to yourself. It allowed you to understand the significance of stumbling upon Saint Jude.

Consider this conversion story: One night a man wakes up covered in his vomit and realizes he has an alcohol problem. It is not the first time he’s overdone the drinking, and it is not the first time he’s considered his alcoholism. But this time it hits him, he sees outside of himself and realizes how he has hurt his family, how his overindulgence has distrubed those who witnessed him lying in his own filth. There is no reason for him to realize this. This night is no different from others. He has not drank more than usual. He has not lost any more of his health than he is already aware he lost. His wife has been separated from him for a year, and has offered him a second chance if he sobers up. But he has not heeded her warnings before the separation, and has not changed his behavior since. Before his addiction, he studied literature, and wrote an A+ paper on Flannery O’ Connor. He realizes while he washes off the vomit in his kitchen that the violent grace her characters experienced is similar to what has occurred to him now. He fights this realization. He calls it a delusion. He wonders if he’s snapped. That same week he accepts it. He gets on his knees and weeps God, God, God until he falls over and sleeps. He remembers the Church he attended as boy, the Church he slept in when his teachers and parents brought him to mass. He remembers no sermon, no priest. He might as well have never been confirmed. He walks into a confession booth. It is empty. He waits. He leaves and asks a parishioner where confessions are held. The parishioner says the rectory. He rings the bell, walks in, and here he is, across the desk from a priest in silence. He clears his throat, mumbles that he’s new. The priest calms him, asks for his sins. He whispers at first, his voice cracks. He is too nervous to cry. He spills it all, his separation, how he has sacrificed his family at the expense of his pleasure, how he has continued this charade long after he realized this pleasure is a fantasy. He finishes. He is shaking. The priest lets him know that he too is an alcoholic. He has just returned from rehab. He understands, reminds him how much the Lord loves him, eases his pain with calm advice, and absolves him. The man is filled with an energy he has not felt since childhood. He almost believes he’ll levitate. He walks into the church, sits down, is enthralled by the sermon, receives communion, and returns home, his eyes glowing for the first time in years.

A skeptic might say his childhood presence in a Church is what lead him there as a broken adult. But there are too many coincides, and they sync up too perfectly. His wife has offered him a second chance, even though the past and his current behavior dictates this is hopeless, and the offer alone seemed impossible before. The priest he confesses to happens to also be an alcoholic, giving him the ability to not only absolve him of his sins, but to put himself in his shoes effectively and offer the advice and comfort he needs. He is given the proper motivation and comfort he needs to pull through this sudden realization, one that would inevitably lead to deep sadness if he did not have these two sources of strength. He has not heard a voice, seen the Trinity, Mary, a dead relative, or any of the Saints, but he feels and is conscious of God and His love.

Here’s another fun fact to consider, which I’m sure you already know: Saint Jude was one of Christ’s apostles. He was one of the twelve Christ sent out after his death to bring the good news. It sounds like he’s brought the Truth to you.

I am a recent convert (well I am being confirmed at Easter, but I now consider myself Catholic).

A big part of my conversion journey was “signs from God” that I needed to at least find out what the whole Catholic thing was all about. I kid you not, one night after following a lot of these signs I was praying to God for understanding, and I felt something I can only describe as the hand of God literally pushing me down on my knees.

Following these signs led me to a whole new world, where everything made sense and was scripturally supported. This was not how I grew up in Christianity at all. I always had doubts. Now I still do, but much less frequently and much less “severe.”

Follow the signs, just to see where they lead you. It is worth the journey.

Hi fawn hoof! Welcome.

First off you have already blessed us with your humble, seeking attitude and a story that
is probably familiar to many more of “us” than you might suspect.

The fact that you are questioning things rather than blindly going with your emotions is likewise wise. You are seeking (and if you are as sincere as you appear, you will “find”).

I had a similar experience regarding saints. Once (when I was in a cynical place) I hopelessly lost my car keys at the Beach. A young girl chirped, “Oh, just say a prayer and ask St. Anthony to help you!”

I had taken the name Anthony as my confirmation name partly due to the fact that indeed I used to lose things, pray for St. Anthony’s intercession … and receive help … or at least always find my lost thing!

When the same young girl sing-songed a light (slightly irreverent to my taste) poem …

“Tony, Tony, come around, something’s lost and can’t be found …” I rolled my eyes and was actually mad. :mad: She saw that, but unperturbed predicted my finding the keys (which at the time was beyond all odds) … and waltzed off with a “…You’ll see!”

45 minutes later (after looking everywhere and digging sand in every spot I’d sat on that beach - as near as I could guess), I angrily plunged my hand straight down in a karate chop into the sand. My LONGEST fingertip grazed … something. The keys!

As for St. Jude … I will not render you any of the miracles he has wrought through his intercession - but I will say that after our family received ITS miracle (miracle to US, not so much for the Lord and his delegates like Jude! :wink: ) - we thanked him with a brick outside of Anaheim Stadium. “Jesus, St. Jude Thank Q” - due to space considerations on the brick. :slight_smile:

Less important than the look back to WHAT has brought you here (and back to opening up to Jesus again) - is the FACT that NOW you are here with a wonderfully humble and inquisitive attitude that I’m sure God loves very much (and has blessed us here too).

:shrug: IS it a sign? Why NOT? Jesus (and his deputy St. Jude) would be seeking you in any case. A coincidence? :shrug: Maybe. That is less fun. Bears no inspirational insight with it. But … if it were the truth … still, you thought about the other possibility … and whose to say that thought didn’t come from God. :smiley:

Your struggle might be what we call a cross. We all have one. Sometimes several. In fact some of the great saints have gone through an almost total loss of faith at times. St. John of the Cross calls that the “Dark Night of the Soul.”

It may be part of the reason Jesus quoted the Old Testament Psalm of despair “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” on HIS cross.

Apparently the graces drawing you here (or more generally back to a desire for a deeper intimacy with Jesus) are stronger than your doubts at the moment … even though there be tension. Good for you for responding to them.

There are times when we do seem to talk ourselves into things. When they are good things we have evangelized ourselves (no doubt but with His graces though).

May St. Jude, all the saints, and this community here, give aid and fellowship to you as you continue your search … and your finding. :angel1:

Then again it could be just a coincidence.:shrug:

God speaks to us in ways we need to hear. Often people do not recognize the signs or will ignore them. Renew your faith. Ask St. Jude to help you on your spiritual journey. Pray the Novena to St. Jude weekly or daily. Through his intercession you will get closer to Jesus. Make a good confession, receive Holy Communion, and do your best to live in the grace of God. Do not miss Mass. God bless you.

[quote=fawn hoof]I spent some time online today looking at different patron saints, seeing if anything jumped out…
[/quote]

So you were looking for some sort of connection. I would be very surprised if you hadn’t found one.

Humans have a tendency to seek patterns in information, even if it’s random. It’s called apophenia. We look for patterns and connections. It makes humans amazing at recognising faces, but it makes us rubbish at assessing probabilities. So we can recognise someone from a long way away just by their outline, way of walking or by just a vague glimpse of their facial features. But it also makes us assign significance to coincidences. The gambling industry relies on it.

I think you mean there are no coincidences. There are plenty of consequences (for example, consequences for sin).

Matthew 13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!”

I’m just wondering if there is some method to distinguish “signs” from happenstance.

I suppose, if it leads one to God, it isn’t happenstance. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter if it is one or the other.

you were seeking and something showed up that might be the answer.

I say go with it!

I would say that the “sign” is that you felt the urge to go back to Church “out of the blue”. That, my friend, is the work of the Holy Spirit. Finding out that you felt this urge on the feast of St Jude was a confirmation for you because it touched your heart. God could have chosen a different day to call you but He called you on that day, because He knew it would touch you in a special way. My advice is that you heed the call. God is calling you because He wants to call you out of darkness into His wonderful light. He wants you to yoke yourself to Him and He will make your burden light. It isn’t always moonlight and roses, the Christian journey can be difficult, but if He is with you, who can be against you?

You belong to Christ and it is so easy to be reconciled to Him if you have strayed from the faith. Simply go to confession! Faith is a response to God’s grace. I think you should pray for an increase in your faith and really try to watch for what God is doing. Some of the ways you can respond to God’s invitation to faith: Go to confession, go to Mass, join a Bible study, or maybe RCIA just to answer questions you might have about the Church. Read some spiritual books by lay people or apologists who can really help you in areas that you struggle. Please do post a thread about the areas where you have doubts, and we will be happy to chime in. And it is most important that you start the lines of communication with God and pray! Then be very attentive and see how God answers. Your doubts won’t disappear overnight (most likely) but God has made His invitation, the more you respond to Him, the stronger your faith will become (because He will give you more and more grace)

PS> I’ve never known a person to be called by God who wasn’t immediately spiritually attacked by the enemy. Pray for spiritual protection by praying the St. Michael prayer at the minimum and also reading through Eph 6:10-18 and asking God to arm you with the spiritual armor.:knight2:

There is no such thing as “coincidence” for those who have been called by God. Everything is a Godincidence. :thumbsup:

Romans 8:28

It’s definitely the Holy Spirit was giving you a sign :wink: He is always there, waiting for you to come. Sometimes we’re just too occupied with our own thoughts that we do not see.

Just a couple months ago, I was in my lowest point of my life (yet),and I began to pray and pray, like alot. I went to this forum seeking prayers, comfort, and advice… and I stumbled upon a post about Padre Pio. I remember he was once mentioned by a priest I know, but I never really looked him up. So I googled him, and I ordered a book about Padre Pio online. I didn’t know when the book would come, it usually about a week after I placed an order (I ordered via amazon, free shipping). But this time the book took a little longer to be delivered, and there was no tracking number provided. Just few hours before the book arrived, the priest ,who told me about Padre Pio, texted me meditation that he sent daily. In his text, he mentioned that today was Padre Pio’s feast day. The book came not long after (and I certainly not expecting the book that day).

The book has helped me a lot to go through all my problem :slight_smile: and Padre Pio also brought me even closer to the Lord and the Blessed Mother.

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.