struggling with the faith

hey everyone
This is my first post (and I wish it was under better circumstances)

I am a convert to Catholicism, and have been one for little less than three years. When I felt the call to come to God and believe in His son Jesus Christ, it was an amazing experiences. Truly the best experience I ever had.
When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and truly believed, it felt like a piece of myself that was missing had been restored. It was GREAT.

The next step was in choosing a church to be baptized into. This is when I first realized just how many churches there are. Since I disparately wanted to be baptized and let the world know that I believe, I decided that I should go with the church that has been around the longest, the Catholic Church.
I attended RCIA classes, which had some of the nicest people I have ever met. In the classes we would learning and talk about God and Catholic history.
When the day came for me to finally be baptized, confirmed, and receive communion I was so happy.
Since then my love, faith, and trust in God has grown everyday, by His Grace.

now here comes the sad part

The same growth has not happened with the Church itself. There were apparently a lot of teachings in the Church that I was either unaware of, or did not understand. It was not that the RCIA classes misinformed me (well apparently indulgences, I was told then that they no longer existed) but I guess it was just not possible to go over everything. The teachings I have struggled with, I have prayed to God for help but as of yet I am still struggling.
I have considered just going to church and pretending that it is not an issue, but who am I fooling. The person sitting next to me? Maybe. The priest? Maybe. The Pope? Maybe. God? NO.

I don’t understand how I can grow so much with God, but not with the Church. I don’t know what to do. I even sometimes wish that I did not become Catholic (I am weeping as I write this) and instead started in some sort of non-denominational church. It’s so confusing and I am worried that I am now in a loose, loose situation. Leave the Church, or continue to remain as a fake.

There are other issues that have come up, but I would prefer not to get into everything at once.

Hi

Welcome Home!!!:wink:

Our walk with the Lord will ONLY end when we die ,thats just what I believe.Don’t stress.

You are not fake at all.You just do not understand, that is human .If you love God and strive to do His will I believe its enough.I am a cradle Catholic but there are still things I do not understand myself:rolleyes:.Luckily for me I am surrounded by helpful people(priests,nuns,parents etc…) who do not mind my curiosity.I ask a lot ,I get satisfactory answers but you can’t know everything hey.The best way to deal with your questions is ask,read books and research issues.Dont forget to pray :thumbsup:,it helps to calm the questions and the confusion.

You will get there eventually.I can guarantee you though that there is nothing unGodly or Evil within the church.If you join these forums you are going to learn more, they are helping me a lot hey…

Peace be with you:)

Hello, welcome!:slight_smile:
You are a good and sincere person from all that you say.
You don’t have to leave the Church because you mind is going over different questions. May of us at times have wondered and struggled with questions regarding the Church or its truths during our faith journey as Catholics. As my parish priest says, doubt is an invitation to growth. Many people grow through various issues as they grow deeper in faith.

Perhaps you may wish to share some of your doubts or questions here at some time, and you may be given perspectives or information that may make your faith struggles easier.

Warmly, Trishie

To read more about indulgence, please read

Myths about Indulgences

Now the following is only my humble opinion. Any comments to correct or affirm is welcome as I am too still trying to grasp the vast mysteries of the Mystic Body of the Church.

Jesus said to follow Him, what we must do is to deny ourselves, and take up our crosses, and follow Him. Struggling with your faith the very essence of the first step of following Jesus. Especially in this era where the world seems couldn’t go anymore worse. Believe me in saying that the devil is at work against your decision to join the Church and will use all of your weaknesses (mind, body and spirit) to drag you down to his level.

Strengthening your faith (if you are still game) needs 4 key elements:
[LIST=1]
*]God’s Word
*]Prayers
*]Community
*]Ministry (sorry - for lack of other words)
[/LIST]

When I say ministry, what I mean is what action would you take in your and practice what you learn from God’s Word. Some people teach, some people sing, some people visit the elderly, provide to the needy, become a faithful wife and mother, become a wise businessman, etc. It is to do your calling in “Take up our crosses and follow Him” part.

Although all 4 must be rightly balanced, they are all centered in community. Find yourself a supporting community that can cradle, grow and strengthen your faith in Jesus. Preferably, find within your diocese a bible study group, a prayer group, or anything within the Church that you feel can improve your understanding of God’s Words, can encourage you in praying and can facilitate or widen your ministry.

The Church, although with her “patchy” past, still is THE CHURCH - THE MYSTICAL BODY OF CHRIST ON EARTH. And she has proven herself over the past 2 millennium and surely death will not conquer her. So it is important to find a community that is in line with the teaching of the Church.

If you feel you cannot find one, then maybe it is a sign from God for you to start one and be the community that will grow future saints. Maybe it is your calling. Again, read the Scripture (with the Church commentaries) and bring it in your prayer.

And the more you move forward towards following Jesus, the more the devil will try to drag you. That is why you need a good community to pick you up when you fell, to remind you when you feel lazy, and to grow together with towards God.

Will pray for you…
God Bless…

I am a convert as well, and I always willing to help anyone who is sincerely looking for answers, especially to some of the more complex questions of the faith. More than anything, I can give you the resources to be able to vet from good authority, anything you hear or do not understand about the faith and the Church.

Remember that the authority of the Church is from God. You will be brought closer and closer to Christ by the guidance of his lowly but Holy servant, the Church.

Dearest brother/sister in Christ. It sounds like you are experiencing spiritual dryness which we all do from time to time. But don’t give up; don’t divorce Jesus! Don’t embark on a starvation diet! Yes, that is what Catholics do when they leave the Church, because each time we have Holy Communion at Holy Mass, we consummate our relationship with Him and enter more deeply into His Mystical Body and so enter into eternal life with Him right here on earth in anticipation of heaven. Don’t give up this privilege! No protestant community offers this.

At such a critical time in your faith journey, use your head and don’t act on your feelings, because the Enemy is using these to sew doubt in your heart. You therefore need to feed yourself spiritually to strengthen yourself against this onslaught, and the sacraments will give you sanctifying grace to assist you in this struggle, so avail yourself of them as often as you can. Also try to participate in Eucharistic Adoration, spending time in His Holy Presence. I urge you, fight for Jesus and His Church. This is your opportunity to be a great witness.

May God bless you and keep you.

With fondest love in Christ

Hi! I will keep you in my prayers. I have returned to the Catholic faith after being separated from it and it was like being on a roller coaster. I had all these emotions and at times I was very sad, angry, and other times I was very fulfilled, but now after 3 years of being back in the faith, I sincerely feel very blessed. I love attending mass, receiving the Eucharist, and singing in the choir. I think what really helped me was joining the choir and the Catholic Women’s League. When you join a ministry, it really makes you feel a part of the Body of Christ because you are involved and get to know people. Through being involved, you start to develop friendships in the parish and feel like you have a purpose other than just going to mass. Another thing that helped me was that I changed parishes, to a more charismatic, active parish, which was a huge difference. I do miss the people I have met at my last parish, but now I feel like I have much more in common with people in this parish community, so it was a good decision for me. I also have been watching a lot of Catholic programming and have been doing a lot of reading to learn more about the faith. It has really helped me understand that every part of mass has a special purpose and we worship the Lord using all of our senses. We have the gift of the Sacraments, unlike the Protestant faith and our faith has existed since the time of Jesus, so it is the first Christian religion. I am not sure if any of this can help you, but just know that you are in my prayers. I sincerely hope that you can find a sense of peace and that you will find the blessings I have found.

With Love and Peace of Christ,

Deborah

Lookaround, I’m very sorry that you’re struggling :hug1:
that is so wonderful that you’ve found faith in Christ.

I think about the Church, there is always more that we can learn about it. It’s impossible to learn Catholicism from an RCIA class alone. It takes years, if not a lifetime :wink: please, don’t be discouraged! Maybe there are things that just need more time for you to understand. For example, indulgences. They can be sort of complex, and it might seem false or superstitious at first, if you don’t know the theology behind them. The good news is that there are many resources to help you learn. This is a journey we’re all on, and don’t feel like everyone else knows all about the Church, and you don’t.

I think if you remain in the Church, that does not mean that you’re being ‘fake’. It just means that you’re giving it a chance and taking your time to figure things out. That is not a bad thing, and I don’t think any Catholic or any priest or any Christian for that matter, would think that’s bad. I don’t think God would be against it either. If you need help with any particular issues, feel free to ask here at forums, and Catholic Answers has some good articles about many topics! (under “faith tracts”).

I want to tell you something…

I was raised agnostic, and then found faith in God in university. Like you, I was very happy to know Him. I started looking around for a church, and chose a non denominational church cause many of my friends went there. I attended that church for around a year and a half and loved it. I agreed with everything the pastor taught… I thought it was THE church for me.

Then, I started getting doubts about Communion being only a symbol. After much prayer and some research, I realized that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist. I knew, then, that I’d have to leave the non denom church, and be Catholic or Orthodox. This almost broke my heart cause I did not like anything traditional, I thought that I’d be leaving behind my relationship with Christ - something that was and is very important to me - for “religion” and “ritual”. However, deep in me, I knew that it was God’s will for me to leave. After struggling with this for two weeks, I gave in, and left my church.

At that point, I agreed with absolutely nothing the Church teaches except the Eucharist. I thought it was wrong about Apostolic Succession, Mary, indulgences, Purgatory, Papacy, Saints, etc. I felt like I had no home cause I disagreed with Catholicism and Orthodoxy, yet couldn’t be Protestant. I prayed and researched and talked to Catholics.

Now, a year and a half later. I am a Catholic… I was received into the Church this Easter. God changed all my beliefs. He helped me understand better the Church teachings I struggled with, enough to accept them. And now I see, that this was His will for me all along! All those times when I cried, asking Him to not make me leave the non denom church, not to make me Catholic… all the times I didn’t know where the truth is, and felt confused about all the Catholic doctrines… all that time, He knew, that one day it would all be resolved and I’d be Catholic. I just needed to TRUST Him.

Now, I’m so happy to be Catholic, because we have Jesus in the Eucharist. I’ve been Protestant and Catholic, and I can see now, how much more I have in the Church. The Eucharist is everything I’ve longed for as a Protestant. I went to prayer and worship meetings where we prayed so hard for God to be closer to us, to know Him in a deeper way… and although I had some wonderful experiences there, they don’t really compare with the union we have with Jesus in the Eucharist.

I’d encourage you to keep on researching. Don’t give up… it might be easier to be Protestant sometimes… but there are so many graces in the Church. Sometimes I can’t even believe I lived several years as a Christian without even knowing or appreciating the Sacraments, or Our Lady, or the history of the Church.

If I could give you any advice at all… don’t be discouraged if you disagree with a doctrine. I disagreed with almost all the doctrines lol! Just TRUST God. Research as much as you can, but in the end, put it in His hands, and ask HIm to show you the truth. Pray to be open to that truth, whatever it is, ask Him to help you understand… ask for wisdom. Remember the verse, if your child would ask you for bread, would you give him a stone? in the same way, Our Father in Heaven would give us what we need… and more… He is bigger than all the confusion we feel sometimes.

God bless you

Just throwing my encouragement in for you -
Fr. Corapi says ‘faith precedes reason’ - you have that. I have found his CDs, etc. to be tremendously helpful tools. I agree with all previously posters - the devil has access to the lower faculties of the soul - the emotions - so use your intellect and will to persevere. Having a faithful community of believers to join is key - I found mine by living a cursillo weekend and in my parish. The three leeged stool we’re taught from cursillo says spend time on piety, study and action and you will progress spiritually. Remember even the apostles who lived with Jesus had trouble with some of the teachings.
You have chosen the one, true church and faith - hold on to this not matter what comes. There is no doubt about that. When you come across a teaching of the church that makes you wonder - find out about the wisdom behind the teaching - which is not easy to do unless you find a good source to explain it. Fr. Corapi has been the main source for me. There is absolute beauty and wisdom behind the church’s teachings - there has to be - they came from Jesus and thus from our Father. The members of the church are not infallible but the deposit of the faith is infallible because it came from perfection itself - God.
You will progress my friend - my faith fight is fierce at times, internally, but I have come after years of study, piety and action to know that the Catholic faith is the one true faith and nothing will change that because it came from Him who is immutable.
God bless dear friend - He already has blessed you. And all others who responded to you are true friends in Christ.

I don’t mean to give a simplistic answer, but maybe there are some things that you just have to wait for the Lord to show you.

For now, cling to, treasure, celebrate and rejoice in what you DO understand and believe.

The rest will come.

BTW–there’s no such thing as a non-denominational church. It might be a congregation of just one denomination, but most likely it will be found to fit quite nicely into one of the already existing ones, even if it is independent.

Reading all the responses to the initiator of this thread was very encouraging. Each contributer’s reply was a manifestation of our gratitude to and deep faith in Jesus and His Church. The profundity expressed in the various posts also speak of the great beauty with which God has endowed the Church as well as the love He bears His Church. And we are that Church. What a blessing! How privileged we are.

Mother Church teaches that God allows trials to bring about a greater good, and that is true because in His humanity Our Lord endured the worst trials ever, and wrought our salvation, a great good. The members of the Body of Christ get to share in his redemptive suffering for the salvation of souls. So I pray once again that you will persevere so that you will triumph. Make the decision to love despite adversity.

He is risen! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Look, I have been a Catholic my entire life and there are some Church teachings that I find hard to understand or that perhaps I have a slightly different opinion of certain things the Church teaches, but nonetheless, the main thing for me is the forgiveness of sinners and Our Lord’s presence in the Holy Eucharist. I leave my heart and mind open to those other things and in due time perhaps I will be more enlightened than I am now. God is patient with us, that’s for sure. So, hang in there friend, God did lead you to the Catholic Church!

thank you everyone
I wish I could say that things have gotten better, but sadly they have not. I went to Reconciliation on Saturday and Mass today but I feel like I am holding on by a thread.
On Saturday, the Priest told me that I am clearly a person with faith. It just reminded me how fake I am.

praying

Dear…don’t get discouraged. God has not answered perhaps to see if you’re persistant.
He does have a sense of humor but remember that He loves you. He came to earth to
feel our pain, our anxieties, our heartbreaks. He understands…believe me.

I also am a convert. I’ve been in “church” since I was 16 years old, but in the Catholic Church only 6 years. I prayed for 10 years for God to show me what was the real church, the one Jesus started…

One Sunday morning while I was halfway listening, halfway watching a Baptist minister on the tv but was silently praying this pray…

God, you know I have prayed for 10 years to find the one true church, please Lord, I just need a little help here.

“coincidence after coincidence” followed and led me to the Catholic Church. (incidently, I don’t believe in coincidences)

My first step out of my car and onto Catholic grounds…This thought raced through my mind.

“Take your shoes off, you’re walking on Holy Ground”. and I started shaking and crying, I knew I was home.:smiley:

Don’t let anything stand in the way of the door to your home, the Catholic Church.

You’ll hear arguments for and against certain liturgies. The Catholic church has been fought against since time began, but she’s still here. Let God show you the way…

Go to your parish’s library and get books by Scott Hahn and Tim Staples and videos galore. They will answer most all your questions. You’ve already made that first step in converting. Learn, read, all you can…It is a wonderful faith…

You are not fake. You are honest about your feelings and that is very noble. You are trying to seek advice and reaching out to other Catholics. I pray that the Lord touches your heart and fills you with His Spirit. Never give up. The scripture for this Sunday was from John 10:11-18. " I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep…
I know My own and My own know Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep." This scripture is so beautiful because it shows how much God loves us, that He would lay down His life for us. God loves you and He wants to keep you in His fold. May the Lord bless you and help you find the peace you are seeking.

Deborah

Remember lookaround, while you want to strengthen faith, there is one who doesn’t want you to strengthen. You must acknowledge this. The enemy of God may be the one sowing these seeds of doubt. He is the father of all deceit, all lies. I’m not trying to scare you - he cannot win, the victory has already been won for us by Jesus. If the priest said you have faith, you have faith, it is the truth. There is one that wants you to doubt, not believe and to think you’re a fake. Having doubts and wanting to feel more solid in your faith is all our wish and our mission, it does not mean you are any less a believer. It is difficult, I know. But your heart and conscious are leading you and go can grow trees from mustard seeds. A thread in God’s hands is all you need, He doesn’t need any more. Hold on to the thread. He’ll see you through the rest.

By the way lookaround, my thread was the sign of the cross. I did nothing else religious for over 20 years but when I went to bed at night for some reason I made the sign of the cross and said in my head “I love you.” I did nothing else. And God picked me up after 20 years of not even paying attention to Him. That’s why I say, hold on to the thread.

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.