I have been a Catholic all my life but it’s only been this year I really decided to study about my faith. Sometimes, the topic just overwhelms me and at the same time I am so in love with the Church.
Some teachings scare me… some things just basically goes against what I believe in (contraception, sex before marriage, homosexuality, etc). I am scared that I might change and scare people away… I am scared that I am now going to start being judgemental against non-believers.
I just read about “The Lady of Fatima” and her secrets… and I got really scared of the topic of hell for all this time I have always believed that God is not a punisher… that he is a forgiving and loving God. What Father would like to have his children go to hell?
So in these past few months… I really do believe that the Catholic Church speaks the truth…However, I have been really wracking my brain and now I am kinda fearful with God. I guess I am just overloading myself with a lot of information and been really spiritual that now I don’t know myself and what I believe in.
Anyway, what do you guys think? Do you guys get overwhelmed too?
Sorry this new thread is kinda all over the place …
I feel I’m on overdrive too right now, moving forward at breakneck pace in my spiritual life. That feels to me like a good thing, but sometimes exhausting and overwhelming. I certainly can relate!
I would like to help you as best I can with the issues that are troubling you, though.
That’s so good to hear :). The Church so totally deserves all our love, but it so rarely gets this from people :(.
St. Augustine was one of the first to use the phrase, “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” That’s a valuable lesson for everyone. It reminds me a lot of Jesus saving the life of the woman caught in adultery, and then telling her, “Leave your life of sin.” Also, it’s not our job to judge our neighbors, but we need to tell the truth if asked where we stand. And this truth is that we stand with God and His Church.
For a better understanding of the issues you brought up, I recommend reading John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body.” I bet it will help you. I’ve heard it recommended many times, and I’m planning to read it eventually too, so I can get a more thorough understanding of God’s will on sexual morality issues. It’s supposed to be an extremely good, and I’m sure it will be.
God doesn’t send people to Hell. God is Love. All sin is unloving. It is separation from love. So when people sin, they separate themselves from God of their own choice. When people sin mortally, they choose to depart from Love eternally by the nature of their choice. God doesn’t want them to go to Hell. He sent His Son to save them from Hell and He keeps loving them and trying to draw them back to Himself even after they’ve mortally sinned.
However, death is the end of the journey. Life is a journey, and people choose through their actions in life whether they will unite with Love or separate from it. They choose whether they wish to become one with God or to abandon Him through the very nature of their conduct on Earth. God wants everyone to be with Him, but when people choose to leave Him, He won’t force them to be with Him. It is certainly against God’s will that anyone should be destroyed in Hell, but unfortunately, this doom is within the will of many people on Earth that don’t want to surrender to Love.
This Love is only found in its perfection and can only be approached through the self-sacrifice and forgiveness of sins offered in union with Jesus Christ, and graced and supported and made whole and one through the Catholic Church.
I know this may be a pretty convoluted answer, but maybe it can help. I’ve written better posts on this matter before :D. Sorry.
I understand been there done that, and am still doing, guess i will 4 time 2 come.
Truly you are not alone.
Prayer as Jesus taught, that is to Y-H-W-H (Our Father).
No other way
only Y-H-W-H (Our Father) is all knowing and all seeing, Jesus taught the Father knows things he did not so pray to Him, be patient and open He does not disappoint.
Our Father does not want people to go to hell but is always just and merciful.
At the risk of enraging others here at CF stay away from books of well meaning people.
Prayer as explained and the bible.
I would suggest start with the narrated words of Jesus, then move onto the scriptures he refers to.
This is the simple road assuming you believe the way of Jesus is the way to the Father.
May God bless and guide you on your journey and if u eva feel too over whelmed feel welcome to pm me.
I think it is so important to remember that everything God asks of us he asks it for love. If he says no to something like, premartial sex, contraception, it is because these things have consequences.
All sin hurts our relationship with God but it also hurts us, we may not see all the ways it hurts people but it does.
It is out of love that God says don’t do this, like a father saying to a child don’t touch that hot stove.
We must be careful that are not afraid to become Catholic based on what others think. People will mock us for our beliefs but we shouldn’t be afraid of that. People who spoke out against slavery and racism were mocked for what they thought.
Juris - God’s love IS overwhemling! Somtimes it can be overwhelming to learn how wrong and sinful we have been in the past, even when we thought we were being a "good person."
There is a great blog, that I reccomend to you: www.conversiondiary.com. If you scroll through the archives, the author touches on some of the same topics you have, including "what will I tell my gay friends?"
Even though I am not a convert, I had spent too much time in a secular mindset, so I can relate to the idea of discovering truths for the first time.
I was there a few years ago. I always thought I knew most of what/why the Church teaches what it does, and then I realized I was not nearly as educated as I thought I was…:o
I highly recommend reading Good News About Sex and Marriage (Answers to Your Honest Questions about Catholic Teaching) by Christopher West. It’s an excellent resource for everyone (married or not) on Catholic teaching related to sexuality. It explains God’s plan for sexuality within marriage and ***why *** contraception, sex before marriage, and homosexuality are not part of that plan. It also explains why clergy are celibate and why the IVF procedures are not acceptable. It’s a great book.
Also, of course, the Catechism is an excellent resource. You can access it online at scborromeo.org/ccc.htm and you can search alphabetically by subject. It’s very helpful!
As far as worrying about being judgemental, remember that there is a difference between judging someone out of pride and judging them with the truth. People today are so afraid to “judge,” yet we all make judgements all of the time! It is our duty to stand up for the truth – that doesn’t mean that we’re cruel about it – as someone else posted, “hate the sin, love the sinner.” One of the best things you can do for someone is help them get to heaven – so if that means being honest and pointing out mortal sin so they can stop engaging in it, then so be it. All you can do is share information and be a good example (and pray of course!). It isn’t always easy, but the more you learn and live your faith, the easier it gets.
God doesn’t send people to hell, people choose hell by rejecting God. Everyone is given at least one chance in their life to accept God’s love, Jesus’ gift of salvation on the cross. Don’t fear God – He loves you soooooo much and is so happy that you aren’t just going through the motions anymore, but instead are actually learning about His Church and want to live your faith actively. I highly recommend learning about the Divine Mercy (www.thedivinemercy.org) – I’m sure it will bring you much comfort and peace as it does me!
Praying for you now – keep learning, keep praying, and remember that all of the teachings of the Church are there for our benefit, to help us get to heaven.
Lots of priests from after Vatican II preach the Godis Love angle without talking about sin, so you probably got that dished out all along.
As I’ve studied, I came to the conclusion that the ‘fear of God’, thing is actually the AWE of God. That is much more palatable and makes sense throughout reading the Bible.
I am a convert from 2002, and had no idea what I was getting into. But the more I read and experience, the more I fall in love with the Catholic faith. Keep reading and experiencing all the aspects of it. Your opinions will conform eventually and that doesn’t mean you will be judgemental, just in line with the teachings of Mother Church.
None - and God the Father doesn’t either. Just as no loving father would like to have their children addicted to drugs, or dying of cancer, but too many find that these and other bad things happen anyway, whether they like it or not.
Knowledge is great but we need to imitate our Blessed Mother who- kept these things carefully in her heart. Mary meditated and contemplted God continually. Knowledge is just the beginning and can be overwhelming. You think - I want to know everything. But there is so much to learn. We need to understand that the faith is very vast and God is something we shall learn more and more about eternally if we go to heaven. It’s a big subject. Almost all people make the very big mistake of gaining knowledge, and just do that. It’s much more important to understand and appreciate the knowledge you get and to live it. It’s better to read one sentence from the gospel and meditate on it for an hour than to spend the whole day reading the bible. Knowledge does not save us and is of little use to us or anyone. Knowledge becomes very useful as we gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of God and the mysteries of the faith and begin to become more and more like the God we get to know. We are much more effective in every way when we have a deep understanding and appreciation of our faith. I’ve seen many people on here with tons of knowledge and yet they did not have a clue who God was in reality. It’s necessary to meditate and contemplate these mysteries. Ponder them carefully in your heart like Mary did. You’ll learn a great deal more if you can discipline yourself to learn, understand and appreciate the faith this way. Hope this helps.
Catholicism can be overwhelming precisely because of its rich history and its attempt to embrace all aspects of human life. I mean, there’s church history, theology, the writings of the Fathers; then there’s a study of the liturgy, the sacraments, and the symbology of everything we do; then there’s a plenitude of devotions; then there’s how the Church reacts to issues of social welfare.
The problem arises when we burden ourselves, feeling the need to develop well-reasoned answers for an imaginary set of detractors and opponents to our faith. There’s this desire (stimulated by pride) to be the great intellectual hope of Catholicism, to engage in apologetics with pristine clarity and forcefulness, and to do more than just offer an answer for our hope (1 Peter 3:15).
I firmly believe that if a Catholic were to do no more than go to Mass, lead a sacramental life, pray the Rosary and read the Scriptures (and/or any orthodox commentary) then the rest would fall in place by the grace of God and holy life could be lived. If there’s time, read and study the Catechism. This is a life of simplicity, which can be difficult to live amongst a church which embraces a plurality, but it’s possible and it’s not quite so overwhelming.
Well, the first words that come to me are: BE NOT AFRAID! I’m sure you have heard that hymn? The words are beautiful and very comforting.
You mentioned being afraid of being judgmental…so whenever you feel yourself being tempted to be judgmental then say a prayer. And, on the other hand, remember that correcting someone who is in sin is not being judgmental it is a spiritual act of mercy. Of course, you may need to discern when and how to do this.
The sexual moral teachings of our Church are there for our happiness and peace! Many awful, hurtful things happen to those who choose to disobey. Chastity is strength!
Also…talk to our Blessed Mother about all this. She is a loving Mother.