I feel very, very discouraged right now. I spent a vacation with my husband and his wonderful family. They are all lapsed Catholics and went on and on about how much they don’t trust the Church and don’t agree with many of the teachings. They were quick to tell me the bottom line with the Church is money and the priests are against birth control so there are more people to give.
I come home to find it is very slim I will get either of my previous marriages annulled. I was told RCIA would be “rather pointless” and I would not be allowed to take Eucharist. It is probable I could not join the Church until Easter 2014. My husband was like, “See. This is how they are. This is why I don’t like the Catholic church and would never go back.”
My husband starting to warm up to Christianity. A local church (one of the “the pastor wears jeans–and so can you!” congregations) is offering a month-long series, using multimedia, to teach Scripture using football and sports. My husband often jokes his “religion is football” and this is very appealing to him. The sermons are half an hour and there is contemporary music. There is a ton of stuff for the kids (we have kiddos in every age group). The rest of my family is actually interested in attending.
So much is happening that seems to be drawing my family from the Church and I feel very discouraged right now.
Sounds like The Holy Spirit is pulling on you, that’s why you should bother.
As to the annulment thing, I’m no canon lawyer, but the only hard one is the first marriage. It is presumed that all marriages are valid until proven otherwise. So you were still married in the eyes of the church when any subsequent marriages took place, thus, in simplified terms, they never existed.
Your imagination is nothing compared to God’s. Even if you can see no answer, it doesn’t mean He can’t. Just keep following that call back and pray for a solution.
Have you watched The 10 Commandments with Charlton Heston? Remember the scene where Moses comes before the burning bush and he falls on his face. The voice from the bush says to “take off your shoes, you are on holy ground!” Wow. What a moment. When Moses returns to the people, his face is shining with the glory of God, so much so, that the people ask him to veil his face. Like the Eucharist, veiled.
You and I both have the same awesome privilege when we kneel in the presence of the tabernacle. God is there physically, on this earth, as a prisoner of love. Keeping us company until the end of time. In the last century of turmoil, people have risked their lives to receive the Eucharist and have been caught and tortured. They wanted to be in the presence of this awesome God we serve. Even if you cannot receive right now, you can kneel in His presence as Moses did, and come away with your face glowing with the glory of God.
When you think of what the world is spoon feeding your children, would you deny your children the bread of life? If you cannot receive, then they cannot? When God fed the Israelites manna in the desert, that was a type of Eucharist, pointing forward in time to when Christ would feed us with His Body and Blood, disguised as bread, so we wouldn’t be afraid to approach him. We are certainly in a desert of sorts. There is nothing Godly at all when you leave the house, and for most, nothing Godly inside their homes either because they have all kinds of messages filling our ears from the world, TV being the worst culprit.
Protestants can have many bible studies, but to miss the Old Testament prefigurements of Christ in the Eucharist is not Bible study. They have to maneuver around the scriptures like a mine field to avoid talking about it, and to keep their hearers from the truth of the Eucharist. I know that is not their intention, but that is how it is or they would be at the feet of Christ, enthroned in the tabernacle themselves.
I would continue to return to the feet of God, gaze upon His face in the Eucharist, and ask Him for the solution. That action will have a great merit before God and will sooth the ache in His heart for those who receive Him with a cold and indifferent heart and for those who have left him for other things.
I can relate to how you feel, as most of both sides of my family have either left the Catholic Church or are lapsed and have fallen asleep.
The first thing you can do, as it seems as though the Holy Spirit is tugging at your heart strings, is to educate yourself. This is a good start at this website. There are a lot of good articles here and if you have a question and post it, someone who is educated in Catholicism will direct you to the truth. I don’t have all the answers but felt compelled to respond as I know how you feel.
You state, “They were quick to tell me the bottom line with the Church is money and the priests are against birth control so there are more people to give.” Everything that the Catholic Church teaches is what Jesus taught with regards to birth control and many other things.
It helps if we can have a good defense ready when we are in the company of those who are verbally attacking Jesus. With regards to birth control, only God is in control of life, not man, no matter how man tries to control it. Birth control in a sense kills life because it prevents life from being and distances us from God who is the author and creator of all life. If a couple is not married and engaged in premarital sex, they are committing adultery. Again, Jesus says this and the Church defends Jesus’ teachings. Its hard when you are trying to explain this to people who are ignorant of Scripture because they are not reading the Bible.
This link will take you to what the Catholic Church teaches
which I find today’s readings, especially the Gospel reading for today interesting in your case. God’s Word is one of the many ways that God speaks to us. I believe God is speaking to you and perhaps He is calling you back to His Catholic Church to lead your family home to Him as well.
This link has lovely commentary’s on the daily readings. How is God speaking to you today?
There are many other websites. Here are a few that I have found useful and posted by some of the kind people here at Catholic Answers:
This one has short video clips on the Catholic Mass and funny seems to be perfect for your husband who refers to his religion as football as the priest uses a football game as a way to introduce those who are ignorant of the Mass to The Magnifcance of the Mass.
I wonder how many people would continue to worship God at their Protestant church if they removed all the bells and whistles? If we truly understood why we go to the Catholic Mass, the pews would be filled like on the first sunday after 9/11! I enjoy listening to Contemporary Christian music but the reason I go to the Catholic Church is because there is no other place for me to go to receive Jesus:
A good book to read is Search and Rescue: How to Bring Your Family and Friends Into or Back Into the Catholic Church by Patrick Madrid.
And last but not least, pray to God to send His Holy Spirit to help guide you in your journey and try to go to Mass even during the week at the 9 am Mass and see what happens. Good luck on your spiritual journey. Peace2U
I can sympathize with you. While my father wasn’t exactly a lapsed Catholic, he wasn’t the most educated and the most… well-tempered man. We attended Mass only a few times a year. My mother and I tried to find a way to fit RCIA into our busy lives and that took several years. There were quite a few problems in my family back then.
I know quite a few wonderful people but when they rant about the Church, it’s demoralizing. But hang in there. The wait is long but it’s worth it. God will help you even though it seems like forever before things take a turn for the better.
Your a much better woman than I am as I tend to lose my patients with lapsed Catholics that want to speak badly of Catholicism/Church because generally they are so ill informed and uneducated concerning Catholicism that it is just too much to bear sometimes. I use to have this problem with a few family members until I finally decided to challenge them and started asking them questions about Catholicism and lo and behold they went silent.
Only the chirping of crickets.
I am saddened that your husband isn’t following you into the Catholic Church but please do not let that stop you and actually he may follow you at a later date.
I can relate to this. My husband and I are awaiting the decision regarding his annulment; the archdiocese is in communication with us but it is such a slow process and I am yearning to come fully into the church. In the meantime, we go to Mass and are practicing Catholics, just without being able to take the Eucharist. It makes me feel bad, and I do worry about the fact it’s possible the annulment will not be granted (our deacon is sure there are plenty of grounds for annulment, but until it’s official I continue to worry). We are the only Catholics on either side of our family, so we don’t have those issues to contend with, but I always feel a little “less-than” because we can’t take Eucharist yet.
Something that has helped me a great deal is to understand that our suffering and patience with this issue is a penance paid, a time of testing and trying to refine us and purify us and make us worthy to receive the Host. I pray the following during the Eucharist, while others go forward, I receive Christ spiritually on my knees:
“My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You are already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.”
Keep enduring. It is worth it. As a lifetime Evangelical/Baptist, I can say that even without being able to participate physically in the Eucharist, being a part of the Mass and Eucharistic adoration is vastly more meaningful and worshipful than any Protestant experience of ‘worship’ that I ever have known. Jesus is in His Church. I am honored to be Catholic. I thank God every day for bringing us to the Catholic church.
My late, beloved father always told me to “keep the faith!” and I pass that along to you: Keep The Faith! My prayers are with you, dear SurlyMermaid.
Lifeandhope, that’s a lovely testimony. Thank you for your witness and sharing that with us. I remember a couple of married ladies who came from a Lutheran background, but not practicing. They came daily to Divine Liturgy, and when they knelt and did not receive when I went up, it was very humbling and edifying, that I should have such a privilege and that they would come daily to be with Jesus in such a way. How they must have consoled His wounded heart with their yearning! Making up for my lukewarmness. It made me appreciate the Eucharist even more and I thank you for being that witness in your parish.
In RCIA you will be leaning what Jesus wants you to know. What could be more important that that?
If in the event your marriage is not blessed in the church, you still should not distance yourself further from Jesus by not attending church. When others go to communion, ask him at that time to make it possible for you some day.
Many seem to lose their way when they give up attending Mass. They drift further and further as the clock ticks away. One way to keep the faith is to be faithful to Mass and prayer. Some get discouraged and quit, and that will be hard to repair after a good bit of time has passed.
Stay with it. And don’t let go. Be determined.
God rewards all good works either in this life or the next so whatever effort you make in that direction he is a just Father and will give to you your due. Just don’t let anyone tell you any different.
If I were in your place, I would get a green scapular and keep it on me at all times.
And here is why.
Ten years after the manifestation of the Miraculous Medal to Sister Catherine Laboure in
1830, the blessed Mother entrusted the Green Scapular of the Immaculate Heart to Sister Justine Bisqueyburu, likewise a Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.
The manner of using the Scapular was indicated by the Blessed Virgin. Since it is not the badge of a confraternity but simply a double image attached to a single piece of cloth and suspended from a cord, investiture is not required. It suffices that it be blessed by a priest and worn by the one for whom it is intended. It may be placed in the clothing, on the bed, or simply in the room.
The only prayer is the inscription surrounding the heart on the reverse of the Scapular:
“Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.”
Although wonderful graces are obtained, they are proportionate to the confidence with which
it is given.
Wear or carry the scapular
To help another, place it in their vicinity (i.e. their room)
Pray, at least daily: “Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.”
The prayer should be said for oneself and separately for each person to whom it has been given (unless they pray themselves)
No enrollment of any kind is necessary, but each scapular should be blessed by a priest
(general blessing of sacramentals)
Have confidence in the effects of the scapular:
Mary ’ s own words were,
“The greatest graces come from using the scapular but these graces come
in direct proportion to the degree of confidence in me which the user has.”
Conversion of those who do not have the faith
Reconciliation to the Church for those who have lost/strayed from the faith
Assurance of a happy death
Strengthening of the faith for those already in the Church
Protection from Satan for those who wear or promote the scapular
You can get a free one by googling “green scapular”.
Get one for you husband as well.
Remember that this is Mary’s gift to you, and she wants you to have it to help you.