Really struggling with something


#1

Hi, :slight_smile:

I’m going to be totally honest in this post…

for a couple of months now I’ve been struggling with something and it’s been causing me a lot of doubt…

I’m converting to Catholicism and I can honestly say that I believe this is where God lead me. For all I know, I might be totally wrong. But I really feel called to it. I resisted so much at first. But …I couldn’t escape, lol. :smiley:

Well there’s one thing that’s bothering me.

I was baptized Eastern Orthodox as a child and I have lots of good memories in that church. I have memories of Divine Liturgy feeling like a ‘celebration’ and looking around at all the icons and candles and hearing the beautiful music.

When I think of the Latin Mass I get this sense of it being so reverent and holy.

But - when I’m at my regular ‘Novus Ordo’ parish Mass… sometimes I feel really sad because of some “modernizations” that took place, I don’t mean Vatican II but as a result of misinterpretations of VII. I totally understand having Mass in the vernacular and having more participation of the laity etc but some things are simply abuses… sometimes it almost looks too mainline Protestant or Anglican and not Catholic enough. :frowning: I read about the Saints and I feel like today’s Catholic Church is somehow different from theirs…

I want so much to go to Latin Mass parish but I don’t live near any…

and it bothers me also that there are those traditionalist groups who broke away from the Church. :frowning: like SSPX.

Sometimes when I go to my family’s Orthodox church or when they (or my Orthodox friends) talk about it, I feel such sadness that I have to leave it behind. But I know that I’m becoming Catholic out of obedience. And I do love the Church so much… I love the devotions and prayers and Adoration, the Pope, everything about Mary, the Saints, ETC… I just really don’t want the Church to lose it’s Catholic identity… I go to a parish with barely any statues and it’s really modern and the Tabernacle is on the side… and I love the people and the priests are great but my whole conversion feels like such a sacrifice.

And next Saturday I’m meeting with my priest to discuss entering the Church… I just want to be free from doubt…somewhere deep in my soul I just KNOW that I have to be Catholic, and this never goes away regardless of my thoughts or feelings… I’ve learned to ignore my feelings more in the past few months.

However…that being said… when I go to Mass, even if it’s really not the type of Mass I prefer, I use it to worship God and I take it seriously… and sometimes I really feel His presence in the Eucharist, I can’t explain it, - I can’t even receive Communion lol - but it’ s very strong… and I think that’s how God has been encouraging me.

More than anything I want to receive the Eucharist and go to Confession, and that’s why I haven’t given up yet.

Basically:
I love the Church and I believe its teachings are all true but I just feel so sad because sometimes I fear it’s lost some of its Catholic identity, and that’s what I loved about it to begin with. This causes me doubt if I’m making the right choice and if I should be Orthodox instead, cause their Liturgy IS great. But - I do know where God is calling me and I want to obey Him.

any advice? :frowning:

I’m sorry if I’ve said anything wrong, this is just how I feel, but I would much rather not go through this anymore.


#2

Dear Monica,
It’s not wrong to say what you genuinely feel.
I can’t direct you or what would most help you.
I can only say the Mass is what it is, in Christ, in God, in the communion of saints. This is the basic truth around which others are details in a sense.

“It is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven, the true bread; for the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst.” [John 6:32-33, 35] “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I in him…anyone who eats this bread will live forever.” [John 6:56, 58] For “Jesus took some bread, and when He had said the blessing He broke it and gave it to His disciples. ‘Take it and eat,’ He said ‘this is My body.’ Then He took a cup, and when He had returned thanks, He gave it to them. ‘Drink all of you from this,’ He said, for this is My blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” [Matthew 26:26-28]

“The blessing-cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ, and the bread that we break is a communion with the body of Christ. The fact that there is only one loaf means that, though there are many of us, we form a single body.” [1Corinthians 10:15-18] “Now in Christ Jesus, you that used to be so very far apart from us have been brought very close, by the blood of Christ. For He is the peace between us.” [Ephesians 2:13-14]
“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a part to sing the praises of God who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” [1Peter 2:9] For “Christ has come, as the great high priest of all blessings…and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice to God through the eternal Spirit [purifying] our inner self from dead actions so that we do our service to the living God. He brings a new covenant, as the mediator, only so that the people who were called to an eternal inheritance may actually receive what was promised: His death took place to cancel the sins that infringed the earlier covenant.” [Hebrews 9:11, 14-15]

This is what the Mass is. :slight_smile:

I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide the precious unique person you are in the direction the He Himself desires for you…and within it may He draw you to Himself and make you holy in His eyes.

Warmly, Trishie :slight_smile:


#3

“The Eucharistic Sacrifice is the source and summit of the whole of the Church’s worship and of Christian life. The faithful participate more fully in the sacrament of thanksgiving, propitiation, petition and praise not only when they wholeheartedly offer the sacred Victim, and in it themselves to the Father with the priest, but also when they receive this same Victim sacramentally.” [Vatican 2 documents…:9]
“The other sacraments, as indeed every ministry of the church and every work of the apostolate, are linked with the Eucharist and are directed towards it. For the Eucharist contains the entire spiritual good of the Church, namely, Christ Himself, our Passover and living bread, offering through His flesh, living and life-giving in the Spirit, life to all who are thus invited and led on to offer themselves, their labours, and all created things together with Him.” [Vatican 2 documents.9:6] “The One that offers Sacrifice is the same One who, after having sacrificed himself on the Cross…to obtain for us eternal redemption…offers Himself now by the ministry of the priest; there is no difference except in the manner of offering.” [Council of Trent, S. 22, c.2] “For in it Christ perpetuates in an unbloody manner the sacrifice offered on the Cross, offering Himself to the Father for the world’s salvation through the ministry of priests.” [Vatican 2 Documents.9:3]

“The faithful are gathered by the preaching of Christ’s Gospel and the mystery of the Lord’s Supper is celebrated, ‘so that through the Body and Blood of the Lord the whole brotherhood is united…Christ is present, by whose power the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church is united. For the partaking has no less an effect than to change us into what we have received.’” [Vatican 11.9:7. Constitution of the Church, n.26] “But union with Christ…is not to be limited to the duration of the celebration of the Eucharist; it is to be prolonged into the entire Christian life…(as) a continual thanksgiving under the Holy Spirit and may produce fruits of greater charity.” [Vatican 12 documents.9. iii. 38]

So it doesn’t specifically answer your question…but it does stress that it is the Mass itself that matters. Obviously it should be offered and participated in great reverence…but your question remains between God and you and with the help of discussion with your priest, if you can find the courage.

God bless you, Monica :slight_smile: …Trishie


#4

Do you have any Byzantine Catholic churches nearby? They are part of the Catholic Church, but their Divine Liturgy is probably much more similar to what you experienced in the Orthodox Church. Try to visit one if possible. You may want to become Byzantine Catholic, or even if you become Roman Catholic you can attend Divine Liturgy at a Byzantine Catholic church whenever you like.


#5

Hi Monica,
Try to remember that faith is not based on our emotions, though “nice” emotions can help reinforce our faith.
Also, statues, icons, stained glass windows, architectural style, and other works of art give glory to God, but aren’t essential to our faith life. You’ll find a wide range of art in Catholic parishes – in the three parishes nearest to my home, there are great differences.

I encourage you to study the liturgy of the Mass privately with an RCIA leader or priest, to help you appreciate why it’s structured the way it is. This may help you to “stretch your comfort zone” and to more fully and actively participate in the liturgy. You are comfortable with the Orthodox style; it may take some time to become fully comfortable with the latin rite, but be patient!

If you have some misgivings or doubts about what the second Vatican Council is all about, please try to talk with a Catholic priest, or someone knowledable, about it. What you’ve heard about it from an Orthodox Christian perspective will not be accurate.

Keep praying for understanding and for love for Christ’s Church, and keep rejoicing in the Lord.


#6

This was my thought as well. If there’s no Eastern Catholic churches nearby, start praying for a Latin Mass to come to your area soon.

By the way, Rome has lifted the excommunications against the SSPX in the last few days, so soon (please God) it will be possible to worship with them without any concerns about doing so.


#7

Tell Jesus about your struggle, and omit nothing. Though He knows everything, God is love, and a lover enjoys listening to the one he loves. Entrust yourself to Jesus, for He will work everything out for you for your greater good - and remember to give Him thanks always and everywhere for everything, for nothing can happen to you that is against His Will and all that He wills to happen to you is for the sanctification of your soul and for the sanctification of God’s Name in your spirit (life). :slight_smile:


#8

Thank you everyone!! :slight_smile: I really appreciate your posts. I do know that you are all right… for some reason I just feel this way, and it’s really upsetting me. Sometimes when I think of how the Mass and church buildings have been “modernized” and I don’t mean things decided in the VII council, but other, newer ideas… it just makes me doubt everything.

But God has been very good to me because He has given me faith in the Eucharist, and I know that is what the Mass is about… in fact this is the reason I haven’t given up yet, cause I know that Jesus is truly there. How can I give up on Mass if He is present there on the altar and in the Tabernacle?

Regardless of whether the Mass is in a beautiful cathedral or a modern suburban parish.

Maybe this is all happening to me for a reason… maybe this is a way that God wants to use to help me ‘die to self’. Cause sometimes I feel that I’m becoming Catholic out of obedience only and somehow God helps me keep going even when it’s hard.

I hope He will help me get to the end of this journey…

Also, I’ve realized recently that I really, really want to receive the Eucharist. I think God has placed this desire in my heart. I know I can’t give up cause if I do, I won’t be able to take Communion… and I won’t be able to receive the Eucharist at my family’s church either cause my beliefs are not Orthodox and it would be a lie participating in their Sacraments.

I think it was CS Lewis who said, if we look for truth we might get comfort in the end, if we look for comfort we’ll get nothing.

I do believe that the truth is in the Catholic Church. Maybe it’s just going through a difficult time right now and trying to find its balance after a major council. I’ve read that after every single council there have been many problems. It just takes some time maybe.

I just really pray that if it’s God’s will, that a Latin Mass would come to my area or that Pope Benedict will bring back more of the traditional elements… I know he does appreciate them… that would be so great, to bring back the reverence and mystery of the Tridentine Mass… I think I read that in VII, they decided to only replace some of the Latin with vernacular, and it was never planned to remove the statues etc. Sometimes I just really want to go to Latin Mass and wear a mantilla lol (I just feel drawn to this idea of covering your head “because of the angels”) and know that the Eucharist is being treated with all possible reverence. That we are truly giving God our all.

But… maybe all this doubt is some sort of a cross I have to carry. I don’t know why. I think what I’ll do is I’ll just continue in my conversion and when I go to Mass, I’ll just try to come to Him with a pure heart and offer Him myself, and not pay too much attention to the externals but to the spiritual reality. I do know that the spiritual reality is what matters. So I don’t know why I’m feeling this way… but I’m pretty convinced that God wants me to be a Catholic.

thanks again for your replies :slight_smile:

God bless!


#9

About the Byzantine churches, I looked and there isn’t one in my area.

But after thinking about this, I’ve realized that I’m actually much more drawn to the Latin Mass than Eastern Divine Liturgy. Even with my Orthodox background. It’s strange. I think because my whole approach to God is (surprisingly!) very ‘Western’…and I use the ‘Western’ Catholic prayers, devotions, etc, that makes Novus Ordo much much easier for me… than if I were very ‘Eastern’.


#10

Sorry, I am coming to this thread rather late, but I thought I would put down some thoughts!

Personally, I am really grateful for many of the changes that happened after Vatican II because I think that if the Church is going to grow to be as large and universal as we want it to be, it needs to be able to accommodate all kinds of tastes, personalities, spiritualities (on an aesthetic level – without relativizing the Truth, of course). Some people like the richness of baroque churches or soaring Gothic cathedrals, and some like the simplicity and austerity of small, more modern chapels; and that diversity is a sign of the richness of the Church.

All this is obvious, of course, but the reason that your post caught my eye is because I think a large part of the need for diversity in church aesthetics is because so many people have different childhood memories. I have a friend who grew up in a very Vatican II-type church, where everyone was really friendly and sociable and easy-going, and it didn’t keep her from being one of the most devout and orthodox Catholics I knew. Unfortunately, in college, she became involved with a group of ultra-conservative Catholics that really tried to change her personality and inflict a spirituality on her that simply wasn’t hers. Long story, but basically this caused a really deep identity crisis in her relationship with the Church, and scarred her deeply. To this day she experiences a sort of “post-traumatic stress,” a feeling of not-at-home-ness, whenever she hears the Tantum Ergo or sets foot inside an obviously conservative church.

I think this is really, really sad, but the point is, we all have different places that feel like home to us. That conservative Catholicism she got involved in wasn’t home to her – and so thank God there are still churches where she can feel like she’s returning to the warmth of the Church of her childhood, where she recognizes God and has the feeling that God recognizes her. Because if there weren’t, then where would she go? I think she would leave the Church, no matter how much she wanted to love it.

So that’s what I say to many people who think there should be one Church aesthetic and that all churches should be Cathedral-esque and the Tridentine should completely overcome the Novus Ordo. But I found your post really thought-provoking, because you feel a certain at-home-ness missing in your modern parish, because of the deep beauty of the church of your youth. This is important for people to hear, as well, because there are also fans of Vatican II who think the Tridentine and the orthodox icons are antiquated and oppressively conservative and should be forever abandoned to history.

So, I am afraid I have no advice. What diocese do you live in, by the way? Some have more diversity than others. I pray that you may find a parish that suits you, and I second the other posters who have said that your longing for the Eucharist and love of the Church is a great gift, and that no doubt, with prayer, this gift will feed a deep appreciation of every Catholic Mass. I think your attitude – your openness to conversion and your willingness to make certain personal sacrifices for the sake of the truth – is really, really admirable.

But my main reasons for writing were to suggest one positive aspect of the Novus Ordo – it is home to so many people – and also to suggest that you share your own spirituality with the other Catholics that you meet. You could be a great gift to us – you could teach us a lot about the possibilities of liturgical aesthetics, and about the desirability of unity in diversity! After all, one of the great longings of the Catholic Church is the restoration of full unity with the Eastern Orthodox Churches…

Peace,
+AMDG+


#11

Such a beautiful post! One must learn the rules and the preferences and allow others the free will to make their own choices, in the preferences, while maintaining the rules.

For example, Our Lady of the Rosary as well as several Marian apparitions have told us to say a daily Rosary. Thus, one must say it. But must one say 3 a day, 4 a day, or 90 a day? St. Padre Pio, who said, “The Rosary is The WEAPON”, said as many as 90 rosaries a day in a special form for which he received ecclesiastical permission. Father Thomas Euteneur, President of Human Life International, cites this in The Rosary Batters the Gates of Hell hli.org/sl_2008-10-03.html It may aid in holiness but it is not mandatory or necessary.

St. Francis of Assisi lived in a time when the Rosary was not really even known about. Isaiah, David, and Jeremiah didn’t live in a time when the Rosary was known about either. St. Maria Faustina didn’t say that many Rosaries. Even illiterate people in Iraq can be saved. Yet, the Rosary is of enormous help in salvation, and the vast majority of the great saints of the Catholic Church [See St. Maria Faustina and this Boston, Massachusetts miracle - http://thedivinemercy.org/news/story.php?NID=3212 - their contact emails are listed on the site] have been greatly devoted to Mary, to the extent of their sincere knowledge about her during the time when they lived on Earth. [Christ is infinite and knowledge about him can only expand over time.] They humbled themselves to pray through intermediaries, instead of always praying by themselves - both Mary and other saints, and Christ exalted them. Like I might humble myself by contacting the President through one of his close friends instead of by phoning him directly. :cool:

While many Protestants, Muslims, Jews, and others may go to heaven despite not living in the fullness of truth, many Christian denominations these days support abortion, gay marriage, and contraception. Yet before the 1930 Lamberth Conference, **pretty much all denominations agreed that contraception is wrong. ** The Catholic Church is the only one with teachings that have not changed for 2,000 years, since the death of Christ * although I’d personally love to understand more about the current differences between the Eastern Orthodox and Roman and why they exist. * As a devotee of Mary, I have noticed that the Eastern Orthodox have lovely feast days that we do not and I have learned about Mary from these feast days - why don’t we have them as well? :confused: :shrug:

One must always question when one does not like something - is this thing wrong or do I just not like it. Is my dislike of me or of God. Can I take a heart of humility, a heart of a servant and slave as Christ commanded me to in the Bible or must I have it my way all the time?

When Satan tempted Christ in the desert, Christ answered his questions respectfully and politely for the first two temptations - against Christ. It was only when Satan denigrated God - the third time - that Christ banished him. So if Christ can be humble and respectful and defend the honor of God while not getting angry at subtle attacks on himself, can I accept what I don’t prefer?

For me myself, I try to defend Christ, Mary, and the Holy Catholic Church to prevent people from spreading heresy at all costs if appropriate. If something is factually incorrect and important to the faith and advancement in holiness of both the one spreading the heresy and the one listening to the heresy, I believe that it should be corrected. I take this example from following Christ in the desert and St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort when he says that many people attempt to, as I word it - diminish, demean, denigrate, or reduce in importance - devotion to Mary through the Rosary out of pride, self-satisfaction, independence, or a scrupulosity - (in believing that by honoring Mary we are slighting the Son.

For we never give more honor to Jesus than when we honor his Mother, and we honour her simply and solely to honour him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek - Jesus, her Son.

Yet, she is of so much power, second to the Eucharist in our faith, - that the devil delights enormously in this diminshment.

His Holiness Pope John Paul II also had this fear that he would slight Jesus by honoring his Blessed Mother, luckily it was cleared up when he read True Devotion to Mary. See True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin fisheaters.com/totalconsecrationmontfort.html
**Secret of the Rosary ** montfort.org.uk/Writings/Rosary.html
Reflections on True Devotion to Mary by His Holiness Pope John Paul II http://www.michaeljournal.org/montfort.htm

Was Martin Luther, when he decided that he did not like Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelations seving God or himself? These books are called Luther’s Antilegomena and Luther stated that Revelation is “neither apostolic nor prophetic” and stated that “Christ is neither taught nor known in it.” Anglicans established a new Church when they didn’t like the rules on divorce in England. Mormons established a new Church. Seventh Day Adventists established a new Church. Muslims established a new Church. Now the Eugene Robinson and Bob Duncan has split the Episcopal church even further. :frowning:

I think you received excellent advice at the end of the thread about using your knowledge to help to repair the schism between the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

Thank you AMDG! Your post taught me too and Monica4316, your question made me think. :slight_smile:


closed #12

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.