My struggle - anyone share it?


#1

As I read through the threads in these forums, I discover the majority of people who frequent here appear to be of a strong unwaivering faith. Either people here do not struggle as I do or they chose to keep thier doubts and doubtful moments to themselves.

My struggles are unceasing. I have come to believe that I will always suffer with them to the same degree I struggle with them today. The reasons for this, I feel, are intellectual ( I didn’t say intellient I said intellectual). It seems the more I study, the more questions I encounter. I feel answers to these questions
are never fully satisfying. They simply lead to the next round of questions.

I can state many specific examples of these troubles. However what would happen is a warm-herarted person may respond by
tackling the specific example. And, (hopefully this doesn’t sound arrogant) but I have heard most of the point/counter points already of these specifics already.

Let me attempt to state it this way. The simple fact that apologetics are necassary, or purhaps better put, exist at all, I find troubling. It is simply an infinitly long struggle of people trying to convince people they have the truth. We (Catholics, Evangelicals, Muslims, JW, Atheists…etc)
all use the same tools to make our point(s). It becomes a battle of wit and intellect. This alone is deeply disturbing to me.

I have to ask why would God give us such a confusing revelation that the entire world is in vast disagreement as to how to interpret this revelation. Or, for that matter, if there was a revelation at all.

This post doesn’t come from a person who is not trying to understand. In fact, it has become an obsession. While pondering what is Truth, I go to Mass twice a week, say the rosary fairly often, have brought my family to the church, and read the bible nightly, have read dozens of books by dozens of wonderful authors. . I’d do more if I wasn’t away from home 60+ hours a week making a living. Yet I ramain unsatified.

I find, when praying, I am always praying with a certain despondence. I pray with mixed emotion, wanting desperatly to believe someone is hearing me, yet feeling a bit the fool
for even hoping. When praying the rosary I am constantly interupting my prayer and asking forgiveness for not fully believing anyone is listening.

I don’t know how to bring this struggle to an end. I fear I never will.


#2

Pray for an increase in faith, God will give it to you. Everyone struggles, including everyone on these message boards. No one can ever figure it all out intellectually, and the truth can never be proven intellectually. Faith is what we have to bridge the gap. Learning, reading, and reasoning are all important, but prayer is crucial.

God bless,

Pete


#3

[quote=Pete2]Pray for an increase in faith, God will give it to you. Everyone struggles, including everyone on these message boards. No one can ever figure it all out intellectually, and the truth can never be proven intellectually. Faith is what we have to bridge the gap. Learning, reading, and reasoning are all important, but prayer is crucial.

God bless,

Pete
[/quote]

Right on Pete! I struggled for years with this same doubt, but stayed in the Church because I was raising children. I started praying for faith, and it took about six months, but one Sunday while kneeling it hit me like a bomb, tears streamed down my face, and I believed completely and totally, in that one moment, God took my doubt, and I am no longer bothered with it.

Pray with the yearning that is in your heart, talk to Jesus as you would your wife or husband (that same emotion and love) and ask Jesus to not leave, and give you faith to believe.


#4

Mark 9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

I think we all struggle with our faith at one point or another, and some more frequently than others. Your struggles are not unique.

Our faith is not in apologetics.
Our faith is not in suffering.
Our faith is not in theology.
Our faith is in our hope.
Our faith is in our love.
Our faith is in God.

It sounds like you are in serious need of a “retreat”. Sign up for one, as soon as you can. It may be hard on family or on work, but remember who comes first - Jesus. If your hope has grown dim, and your light does not shine, neither will you understand our Lord’s will for you. It sounds like you need to get out of your head, and into your heart, and I believe a “retreat” is the best way.

The Blessed Mother will lead you home again, and the Holy Spirit will restore the hope if you ask Him - but this will be done on His timeline, not yours. Trust in Him.

If you need intellectual sympathy, you may also pick up the book “The Dark Night of the Soul”.

I will pray for you,
RyanL


#5

Boy, I hear you…I know just what you mean. After a long time of tormenting myself trying to intellectualize the faith, and after much prayer, I said to myself that I can’t do this anymore. I’m only a weak human being and I’m never going to be able to understand the mysteries of faith and God’s mysteries…I gave control to Him.

It was a conscious, willful act of the will and intellect along with the grace of God, that I determined there’s just no way I’m going to understand and absorb it all. It was an act of surrender and acknowledging that He knows everything far better than I and that it was time to give up my own will (well not all of it but I’ll struggle with that the rest of my life I guess) and have faith in Him.

Not sure the above made sense…to summarize, I still read and educate myself, but our intellect needs to give way at some point to Him and we’ve got to acknowledge that He is far greater than we are and we will never, ever be able to fully understand the mysteries of faith while on this earth. (and I’m not saying absolutely blind faith–reason what you can but surrender to Him for everything that you just can’t grasp)…it’s kind of like just letting go.

Penitent


#6

**Imitation of Christ **

by Thomas Kempis

ccel.org/k/kempis/imitation/imitation.html

The Second Chapter

HAVING A HUMBLE OPINION OF SELF

EVERY man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars. He who knows himself well becomes mean in his own eyes and is not happy when praised by men.

If I knew all things in the world and had not charity, what would it profit me before God Who will judge me by my deeds?

Shun too great a desire for knowledge, for in it there is much fretting and delusion. Intellectuals like to appear learned and to be called wise. Yet there are many things the knowledge of which does little or no good to the soul, and he who concerns himself about other things than those which lead to salvation is very unwise.

Many words do not satisfy the soul; but a good life eases the mind and a clean conscience inspires great trust in God.

The more you know and the better you understand, the more severely will you be judged, unless your life is also the more holy. Do not be proud, therefore, because of your learning or skill. Rather, fear because of the talent given you. If you think you know many things and understand them well enough, realize at the same time that there is much you do not know. Hence, do not affect wisdom, but admit your ignorance. Why prefer yourself to anyone else when many are more learned, more cultured than you? If you wish to learn and appreciate something worth while, then love to be unknown and considered as nothing. Truly to know and despise self is the best and most perfect counsel. To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself.


#7

I think that the reason that Catholic apologists exist is that our beliefs have been questioned by other faiths and those without any faith at all. Unfortunately, if someone doesn’ respond to their errors many would assume we don’t have a response! Sad but true - we need apologists. I for one wish it were not necessary.

Your struggle reminds me of the book (the link is cassette/DVD but I believe it’s also a book) that I suggested to Reen about the “spiritual dryness” experienced by some saints during their journey. Here’s a link and a synopsis:

aquinasandmore.com/index.cfm/FuseAction/store.ItemDetails/SKU/7898/category/314/

How do you respond to the universal call to holiness required by the Church? How do you overcome human weakness in the face of trials and tribulations? What do you do to resist the temptation to desperation or resentment over personal failure, ineffectualness and other hard things in the spiritual life?
The Struggle For Sanctity
Digitally recorded and available now on five CDs or cassettes, the classic work Saints for Sinners by the renowned spiritual writer Alban Goodier, S.J. is sure to inspure you with true stories of saints who were every bit as human as you in their struggle to attain sanctity. Written precicely to inspire us even when our sins oppress us and we are tempted to lose hope, Fr. Goodier focuses his unique talents as a gifted author and distinguished spiritual director on the humanity of these saints rather than on the sanctity that is built upon that humanity.

Beautifully read by professional voice-over artist Peggy Normandin, Saints for Sinners powerfully reminds us that the saints had their weaknesses, too. And aptly demonstrates the truth that it is precisely in our frailty, failings and struggles that “virtue is made perfect in weakness.”

Keen Insights
Really a concise collection of brief but beneficial biographies of nine Catholic men and women who were ultimately raised to the altars of the Church, Saints for Sinners will introduce you to flesh-and-blood individuals who faced real temptations, flaws of character and periods of spiritual dryness, to emerge as proof positive that there is no condition of life that God’s grace cannot reach, and none so low or humble that He cannot make it worthy of Himself.

You’ll experience a rekindling of the spiritual spark within as Goodier’s unique style and keen insights combine with the inspiring facts of the saintly lives of such profound examples of faith as Ss. Augustine, Joseph of Cupertino, Claude La Columbiere, Margaret of Cortona, John of the Cross, Francis Xavier and more. Order today and discover the fulfillment of St. Paul’s words, “The foolish things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the wise, and the weak things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the strong.”

What you are experiencing can be a welcome interruption on your journey of faith that will eventually make your faith stronger.


#8

(1.) I have always found the mystics as a great way to reinvigorate the faith. Their example illustrates what is possible for God to achieve.

(2.) Apologetics are necessary because of the constant attacks against the Church. I grew up in Baltimore, which is Catholic, Jewish and mostly mainline protestant. Nobody ever talked about religion or tried to convert anyone. Then I went to shool at Auburn Univeristy in Alabama and was attacked from DAY ONE. My born again roommate would introduce me as his “Catholic Friend”. My faith, which had been taken for granted at that time, was now under constant and heavy assault. I was astonished and taken back at first. No Jew or mainline protestant in Baltimore ever attacked me. Only once,in a thousand sermons, did I ever hear a priest give a minor disparaging word against fundamentalists. Yet Alabama was a long way from Baltimore.


#9

Mijoy2, what do you pray for? Have you asked for faith?


#10

…we all face life’s challenges… sometimes it’s tough…

…the only trick…don’t give up… Will you fall from time to time… heck yes, join the club my friend… Peace:thumbsup:


#11

I would strongly suggest some time before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament if you are not already doing so.

I can’t even begin to count the revelations and understanding God has given me through spending this hour with Him each week (and more if I can get there!). Often I will be questioning something or just not understanding something, and behold, exactly the right book makes it into my hands with exactly the right passage I need to get a better understanding!

Sometimes it’s just during my prayer time with Him, talking with Him silently that something is made clear in my jumbled head!

He knows what we are feeling – offer Him your doubts, anxieties, frustrations, questions. I know of people who questioned Jesus’ presence in the Blessed Sacrament who prayed before the monstrance: “Lord, if You are there, then show me, give me faith.” It might not have happened the first, or second, or fourth time; but eventually they believed because Jesus is Truth and Truth will not be silenced!

Imitate the father who cried to Jesus, asking for his son to be healed: **“I believe; help my unbelief!” ** (Mark 9:24)


#12

I am unwavering now, but at one time I had to pray reach this point. Keep up your prayers. I will add you to mine too. Intellect can not account for what the heart knows. Many allow their intellect to lead them awway from faith. It is a common problem. Many saints also struggled so you are in good company.


#13

We all have our own struggles so don’t feel alone with that. I suggest that you pray for God’s grace to increase your faith. I know it’s hard to do, but it’s important to pray with confidence. I sometimes struggle with praying that way. I sometimes catch myself praying “Now, I KNOW that this will never happen, but God, could you please help me with…”

You will be in my prayers. I hope you find God’s peace.


#14

I understand the temptation to see all religions as vying for your attention, all of them claiming to be the truth.

Our faith is something we have to seek and find. We have to knock for the door to be opened. It requires activity on our part.

There are many religions because human nature instinctively seeks GOD.

Yes, upon superficial glance, all religions look alike. Just like real mushrooms and poison mushrooms are indistinguishable to the untrained eye. That is precisely the point: Yahweh had to train, teach, condition the Israelites to discern between defective and pure worship! Don’t you notice how often they moved to a place, and instantly fell in with the pagan worship and human sacrifices? See Psalm 105 if you doubt it. The entirety of salvation history was that of the chosen people being led from false belief based on intuition, animism, and feeling, to a substantive belief in a real, living GOD, the ground of all Being, who wrote His law on your heart.

So you see, your job is to use the intellect you obviously have, and discern the truth.

But notice this: quite a few of the very smartest protestants ultimately end up leaving those sects to come into communion with the Roman Catholic church.

I may be off the mark, but I notice you focused on the variety of religious claims to truth as a stumbling block for you, and I just want to point out that your insight is fundamental and important.


#15

[quote=Mijoy2]I have to ask why would God give us such a confusing revelation that the entire world is in vast disagreement as to how to interpret this revelation.
[/quote]

God never intended for the entire world to intrepret it - that’s the job of the Magesterium (which has consistently interpreted Divine Revelation for 2,000 years).


#16

Good luck in your struggles. I will pray for you.


#17

I of course, can only speak for myself. Faith, for me, is not an act of emotion or of the heart, it is first an act of will.
I will believe, I will entrust my life to Christ. Then, once in a while, the rush comes, but I never depend on it. I’ve read thet Mother Teresa was spiritually dry for most of her life.
As for apologetics, maybe it’s not for you. There are so many kinds of spirituality in the Church that I’m sure you could find one that you’re comfortable with. Me, a certified curmudgeon, I enjoy the spirited give-and-take of good apologetics.
There’s a place in the Catholic Church for everybody, Mijoy. Find yours.


#18

Yes, I share the struggle. There’s already been many good responses, I especially liked Penitent’s. Realizing that the knowledge built upon over centuries by many intelligent, inspired, loving minds (the Church) is much more likely to have figured thing out than me, with my few years of reading & thinking about these things in my spare time.

The only thing I would add is that I have shifted from concentrating “my” efforts on trying to find God and Jesus in science and history, to trying to find him in people - even myself.

God bless you, we’re all in this together!


#19

[quote=Mijoy2]As I read through the threads in these forums, I discover the majority of people who frequent here appear to be of a strong unwaivering faith. Either people here do not struggle as I do or they chose to keep thier doubts and doubtful moments to themselves.

My struggles are unceasing. I have come to believe that I will always suffer with them to the same degree I struggle with them today. The reasons for this, I feel, are intellectual ( I didn’t say intellient I said intellectual). It seems the more I study, the more questions I encounter. I feel answers to these questions
are never fully satisfying. They simply lead to the next round of questions.

I can state many specific examples of these troubles. However what would happen is a warm-herarted person may respond by
tackling the specific example. And, (hopefully this doesn’t sound arrogant) but I have heard most of the point/counter points already of these specifics already.

Let me attempt to state it this way. The simple fact that apologetics are necassary, or purhaps better put, exist at all, I find troubling. It is simply an infinitly long struggle of people trying to convince people they have the truth. We (Catholics, Evangelicals, Muslims, JW, Atheists…etc)
all use the same tools to make our point(s). It becomes a battle of wit and intellect. This alone is deeply disturbing to me.

I have to ask why would God give us such a confusing revelation that the entire world is in vast disagreement as to how to interpret this revelation. Or, for that matter, if there was a revelation at all.

This post doesn’t come from a person who is not trying to understand. In fact, it has become an obsession. While pondering what is Truth, I go to Mass twice a week, say the rosary fairly often, have brought my family to the church, and read the bible nightly, have read dozens of books by dozens of wonderful authors. . I’d do more if I wasn’t away from home 60+ hours a week making a living. Yet I ramain unsatified.

I find, when praying, I am always praying with a certain despondence. I pray with mixed emotion, wanting desperatly to believe someone is hearing me, yet feeling a bit the fool
for even hoping. When praying the rosary I am constantly interupting my prayer and asking forgiveness for not fully believing anyone is listening.

I don’t know how to bring this struggle to an end. I fear I never will.
[/quote]


#20

[quote=Mijoy2]As I read through the threads in these forums, I discover the majority of people who frequent here appear to be of a strong unwaivering faith. Either people here do not struggle as I do or they chose to keep thier doubts and doubtful moments to themselves.

My struggles are unceasing. I have come to believe that I will always suffer with them to the same degree I struggle with them today. The reasons for this, I feel, are intellectual ( I didn’t say intellient I said intellectual). It seems the more I study, the more questions I encounter. I feel answers to these questions
are never fully satisfying. They simply lead to the next round of questions.

I can state many specific examples of these troubles. However what would happen is a warm-herarted person may respond by
tackling the specific example. And, (hopefully this doesn’t sound arrogant) but I have heard most of the point/counter points already of these specifics already.

Let me attempt to state it this way. The simple fact that apologetics are necassary, or purhaps better put, exist at all, I find troubling. It is simply an infinitly long struggle of people trying to convince people they have the truth. We (Catholics, Evangelicals, Muslims, JW, Atheists…etc)
all use the same tools to make our point(s). It becomes a battle of wit and intellect. This alone is deeply disturbing to me.

I have to ask why would God give us such a confusing revelation that the entire world is in vast disagreement as to how to interpret this revelation. Or, for that matter, if there was a revelation at all.

This post doesn’t come from a person who is not trying to understand. In fact, it has become an obsession. While pondering what is Truth, I go to Mass twice a week, say the rosary fairly often, have brought my family to the church, and read the bible nightly, have read dozens of books by dozens of wonderful authors. . I’d do more if I wasn’t away from home 60+ hours a week making a living. Yet I ramain unsatified.

I find, when praying, I am always praying with a certain despondence. I pray with mixed emotion, wanting desperatly to believe someone is hearing me, yet feeling a bit the fool
for even hoping. When praying the rosary I am constantly interupting my prayer and asking forgiveness for not fully believing anyone is listening.

I don’t know how to bring this struggle to an end. I fear I never will.
[/quote]

I feel I know what you mean. I sometimes feel that ever since I have become religous I have had a beautiful peace than I had ever felt peace, but a greater sadness than I have ever been sad. Right now I’m in a dry gultch and feel depressed. I have many problems I just cannot end or seem to let go of. I have COUNTLESS thoughts of “what is this” or “what if that?” I just try to remember St. Francis of Assisi and how he didn’t learn much of anything regarding science and even an apologist. But he only stuck to his own Faith in Catholicism and he seemed so happy. That’s what I want. I don’t care if one calls me a spawn of Satan because I’m Catholic or tells me this or that. I just want to focus on God and Catholicism and just ignore ALL negativity no matter what it is.


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