Hello everybody! I hope you’re all having a great day
My name is Joseph, a 25 year old male. I am someone who never truly practiced the Catholic faith at any point in my life, though I was baptized and received my first communion in the church, and even went to Catholic schools from Pre-K through 12th grade. No one in my family is a practicing Catholic, so I had no family model to live against. I’m trying now for the first time in my life to finally be a devout, practicing Catholic, but I need some help and support and that’s what this post is all about.
Growing up, I don’t believe I ever really accepted the Catholic church or its teachings fully. I didn’t understand where the teachings were coming from because I never read the bible, nor did I understand what was said during mass. I was a daydreamer with a very small attention span as a kid, so I could not get the Word of God into my head through reading or through hearing. I made up my own rules and beliefs, therefore. I feel I’ve completely missed the whole idea of what Catholicism says about Jesus. Up until this month, my whole life I just assumed that everyone went to heaven (maybe not immediately after death, but eventually), and that one should believe in God and live a good life. I believed that as long as you live a good life, and you’ve got more good in you than evil, then you go straight to heaven, and if you have more evil than good, that you go through some sort of process only known to God like purgatory and then went to heaven. I didn’t believe in hell. I believed that this was the whole idea of Jesus dying for our sins-- that he saved all of mankind in doing so. So even though I only learned about these terms this month, you might say I was a “Once Saved Always Saved” and “Universalist” my whole life. I hardly ever went to mass in my life, not even on days of obligation, nor followed the church rules, because I didn’t believe you needed the church to get to heaven.
NOW at the age of 25, like I said, I’m trying to follow the Catholic church and start on a clean slate. I’ve prayed to God every night before bed for the past 12 years or so, and I feel He’s calling me. Without consulting a priest first, I wrote myself a prescription: I’d go to confession, then go to mass for the first time in years, and inquire about RCIA so I could be confirmed. Here’s where my problem is: I spent nearly a whole week trying to think of everything that I possibly could that would be considered a sin that I commited since my last confession (which was nearly 15 years ago) and I typed it all up in a Word document. When I went this past Saturday, the priest only had a total of 1 hour allocated for confession for everyone and he couldn’t stay afterwards because he had to prepare for mass. So I started reading off my list, very sincerely and trying to explain each and every situation, and he indicated that I needed to go faster because other people needed to have time to confess as well. So instantly I started rushing and just started reading off the list without thinking about everything, and I even missed a few things that were on the list accidentally, all because I knew I needed to hurry and let others in. But now I’m wondering if I truly did get that perfectly clean slate I was looking for.
I don’t want to gamble with my soul, so I’m looking for guidance to see what you think I should do. I am awaiting a call back from that priest and may also ask another priest. I want to make sure I’m right with God and can start my life afresh. Please keep me in your prayers, and ask that God may lead me on the path to heaven and that I have sufficient grace to avoid sin.
P.S. - I still haven’t read the bible but I now have one and am firmly resolved to reading it ASAP!