I know that it is not uncommon for faith to wax and wain sometimes. I struggle with those times when i seem out of touch with God. When it seems so many I know are leaving the Church or out right rejecting it after being Catholic there whole lives it worries me to think that I too might get "hooked on a feeling". I know that the Church is the true Church..I have read the Church Fathers and have looked beyond the Bible and into history to confirm my beliefs. But I see these people in all their ferver on fire for Jesus and I just dont feel that. I have this impatience with those of "other denominations" and I think I cant be open with them because I am always waiting for that anti Catholic slur or joke. I feel on edge most of the time when I am around anyone who is not Catholic. My sister has left the Church and joined a Bible only church. It is hard for me to feel close to her anymore. I know people that were far better Catholics then I that have left the Church. It makes me fear that maybe they know something I dont. To top things off...My son came to me a few weeks ago and told me he is atheist and has been for two years and that he felt that his entire life i have tried to guilt him into being Catholic. So I am struggling with my faith and wondering what I am doing wrong. Sorry if this is confusing...I guess I am using this as more of a journal entry then a thread topic. I appriciate any encouragment and or prayers.
Please remember that it is not feelings that count, it is your commitment that is the important thing.
There are excellent spiritual books and videos that can help. And, of course, continue in a life of prayer and the sacraments.
It is difficult when you see many people leaving the Church because of “feelings”. We don’t know what it in their heart and exactly why they leave. You can love them with the heart of Christ, and pray for discernment as to what you can say (or just not say) when they confront you with their misunderstandings. If they are truly searching for truth there are excellent books they can read.
We have a great many former evangelicals who have converted to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic faith and who are on fire for the Lord!
In the parishes near you are their spiritual groups you may want to join? It helps very much to have community around you that are like-minded, and support one another.
Have you every listened to the uplifting things said by Father Robert Barron? He and many others are gifted in teaching and in leading to authentic Catholic spirituality. Here is part of his site:
There is a lot to explore there. The particular page presented is only a little bit of what Father Barron has to share. There are also short clips of him commenting on current events with him deeply Catholic insight.
There are other gifted people who are loyal to the Maisterium of the Church who can help us with their teaching and exhortation.
Recently I purchased his DVD “Seven Deadly Sins - Seven Lively Virtues”. I brought it to the spiritual discussion group at my parish that meets weekly after Friday mass. We watched two segments of it and the rest during the weeks after that. They wanted more and have decided to chip in and buy his video on the Eucharist!
Meditating on the Mysteries of the Rosary with the help of our Blessed Mother helps much!
Remember, our Lord Jesus Christ does not want us to be anxious, but to live confidently in His Peace.
Prayer and Sacraments enable us to do that.
Thanks for posting.
To address one of your points, what crossed my mind, is that we cannot compare the way we feel on the inside to the way that others appear on the outside. Please don't compare the amount of your faith with others. They may seem on fire, but they are probably struggling just like the rest of us. Keeping and growing in faith is a lifelong effort. The struggle will have peaks and valleys.
I am glad you decided to come here with your concerns, because that only shows how deeply you do care for your faith. I think you need to take some time and reflect on how important God is in your life. I like to spend time on many different Catholic sites in their Prayer Libraries and read different prayers. I have compiled my own favorite prayers now into a prayerbook. It is amazing when you go into the prayer libraries, how many prayers there are, and how many seem to have been written just for you. It shows how many of the faithful before us have struggled with the same situations that we encounter. I love to sit and read my prayerbook, but I still love to go into the different site libraries. I find new and inspiring prayers every time. I also love to spend time saying the Rosary. There is no better way to focus on our faith. It only takes about 25 minutes to say a 5 decade Rosary. Start thinking about God in all of your daily activities. You will be amazed at how soon you will start to see Him in everything. Being Catholic is very worthwhile and it does help to continue to learn about the faith and teachings of the Church on our journey. The journey is a lifetimes work. I find myself pulling in different directions all the time while learning about our faith. I find myself reading about Spiritual Direction a lot. So many paths to follow in our faith, but they all lead to God. Let our faith show outwardly in you every day. Your sister and son will notice. Start celebrating the different days and feasts of the Church. Start going to Mass daily if you are fortunate enough to have daily Mass at your parish. Use the Sacrament of reconciliation often. Go face to face with your confessor. Make the faith alive in you in all parts of your day,and in no time, there will be a fire rekindled in your heart. I will pray for you:) G1j
You know what helps me when I wonder why people leave the Church and worse, Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist? I watch an episode of “The Journey Home” on EWTN. The host is a convert himself, and every week he interviews a convert or a “revert,” and many of them were evangelicals or even Protestant or fundamentalist MINISTERS!!! They tell their stories and I find myself smiling and nodding and wanting to cheer them on by the end of the show. It confirms some of my own journey away from and back to the Church.
Your son - don’t be too discouraged. He may be going through a phase where he just turns his back on God, but God, as you know, will never turn his back on your son. Many of us have to be prodigals before we wake up in the pig pen of life without God, and we find our way home. And God celebrates with His angels when He sees us coming! Keep praying and never give up. Ask St. Monica to pray with you! I mean, look at what God did with St. Augustine!!!
There are over a BILLION Catholics world wide and more convert every day. Remember that Church is also made up of sinners, we are all just doing the best we can every day. People who experiment with other religions can still find their way home, and some do every day. Don’t be discouraged! Pray for those poor people who have left Christ behind for now!
And keep praying for your son especially! I will add you to my prayers too.
Oh, and one more thing - faith is more than a feeling. If faith were only a feeling, no one would have the stamina to persevere in difficult times. Mother Theresa went through incredible periods of doubt and feeling deserted, but she never lost faith. Read Job, that book is very inspirational for faith and a right relationship to God.