What must I do to become a better Catholic?


#1

I find this forum to be of a great deal of help, Which is the reason I think I should be a lot more “open” and ask where I am going wrong.

Bit complicated, I was born and raised a Catholic, but from early on I had issues. first there was a period of time when I was molested, and from age 9 till 19 I spent most of that time not accepting it wasn’t my fault and making an issue of it in my mind. Thankfully now I have learnt better and do not think about it so much or make it so much of an issue.

However that has been the start of my struggle with my faith. I went on retreat when I was 19. I thought that once i had done all that I would be fine, I would be a more frequent church goer, would find it easier to pray, easier to live my life.

But since then I have struggled more, I do not pray like I should, I very seldom go to mass.
In fact I have pretty much stopped living a life that a catholic should.

I can’t pray, I find my mind drifting and it’s ages before I really realise it has. I have taken all statues and crucifixes and hidden them in a cupboard. I don’t even think about it lately.

It works on my mind because on one hand I hate this, I want to go to church and actually want to be there and pray without it taking so much effort. And to look at my life and how I live it and be proud of it.

Should pray I know.

I am not trying to look for attention or anything, i know some people will think so, I am really looking for help.


#2

Everyone, at some time or other, has problems praying and living the Catholic life. Our minds wander all the time, some more than others, but it happens to everyone. We often don’t feel like going to Mass or praying, or doing other things either. It could be because of a physical problem we’re dealing with, a psychological one such as depression, or a spiritual problem - a period of desolation. But, the first thing to remember is that love isn’t about feelings. It’s about an act of the will.

Sometimes you just have to force yourself to go to Mass. Sometimes you have to do that every week. The same with praying. We often make things much more difficult than they need to be. At least, I know I do. I’d suggest, though, to just start off with something small. A “Thank you God” or “Praise be to you Lord Jesus Christ” to start and end your day. If your mind wanders during the day at times, why not direct it to one of those or similar thoughts as well. You can also also quickly ask God to help you to pray or to love Him more or to help you become aware of His healing presence in your life. Often we forget we can ask for those types of things. As you flex your prayer muscles, pray to our Blessed Mother. I’m particularly fond of the Memorare. Ask her for peace, for help. She will lead you to her Son. That’s how I came back to the Church after a 20+ year absence.

St. Ignatius tells us that desolation always follows consolation; that during the good times (consolation) when we feel close to God we must be aware that a period when we feel separated from Him will arrive (desolation). During the desolation, we must will ourselves to be strong; to believe God is there and to continue to pray and live as we should because the period of consolation will come again. We don’t know when but it will be there.

When I go through those periods of desolation (and some have been very bad), I force myself to continue going to Mass and especially to Adoration. Sometimes in Adoration I just have a rambling conversation with Jesus when I’m in those periods of desolation. I also remember the words of Teresa of Avila - “Lord, if this how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few.” For some reason, it works every time. Not that everything all of a sudden turns around. It just makes it more bearable knowing that St. Teresa - a doctor of the Church - felt the same way.


#3

I think it’s all about love. Not the emotion, but agape love, which comes from and is only of God. This kind of love does not come from sentimentality because it flows from the very nature and essence of God Himself.

But the problem is, we cannot love something we are unfamiliar with. If we have no relationship with a person or do not frequent the places where they are to be found, how will we ever visit with them enough to know what they are about? And just like human love, our part in agape love is to be open to it, to ask for it and to nourish it. And to be committed to the effort it will take. Perhaps refreshing your mind with the truths taught by the Church and re-learning your faith through this forum, the Catechism and other spiritual reading will help.

We all have problems with prayer and dryness and we ourselves should not judge our own prayer life for we do not always know what the Lord is doing in the secret parts of our soul. But if we try to pray and then tell ourselves it is futile, the devil has certainly won that round.

Why are you hiding those very things that will draw your mind to your Savior like the crucifixes? Perhaps the first step would be to look at them and identify whatever is troubling you about them. The hidden darkness is cold…I pray you might be able to bring yourself into the light and warmth of Christ. God bless you and give you peace.


#4

Whenever I am down I always pray in my heart the prayer that our Lord taught us, that prayer covers everything that I ever need in my life. I pray that many times everyday. It helps me tremendously. It will help you too, whenever you feel distracted etc, say the Our Father.

“Our Father who is in heaven holy be your Name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, give us today our daily bread, forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sinned against us, do not bring us to the test but deliver us from evil. Amen.”


#5

I was going to suggest baby steps…by saying one Hail Mary every day. Mary will help you get closer to her Son. :hug1:


#6

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