What next..

I am writing to ask for some help, some support, some guidance and ideas; if you think you can offer any.

I have been dipping in and out of the catholic faith for a few years now, it is probably fair to say that I have never really received the answer nor support and encouragement that, in retrospect,t I needed.
​I will tell you a little about myself. I was born into a catholic family, although not a practicing one. As was the custom, and expectation where I grew up, I was sent to the local catholic primary and high school. Consequently, I received the sacraments of Holy Communion, Confession and Confirmation. After leaving high school, I attended college and went on to pursue my dream career. This career involved a lot of travelling, earning a lot of money and living a good standard of life. I travelled the world and in all honestly, I had an amazing time. But, at the same time I was living life according to my own rules, at the end of the day this was how it had always been for me.

​I started to work within a different sector of my industry, this involves being more settled and working from home. One day, several years ago, totally out of the blue, I had this urge to bless myself. I was sitting at my work station in my office and next thing I was blessing myself. To me, it was the weirdest thing. But, it stopped me in my tracks. And suddenly something changed and I had this strange urge (strange for me) to start to read more about the catholic faith. I researched it and I looked into it, I read books on the matter, I watched documentaries on the subject and finally I talked to God. I was a totally new thing for me. And I did feel a bit out of my depth, but I kept researching.

I found a local catholic church and I emailed the priest there and he showed me around the church and told me I was most welcome any time. He was kind and answered my questions but wasn’t that forthcoming with information. Finally, one Sunday I went to Mass. I was so nervous but it was quite frankly amazing. It was beautiful. Quite quickly, I found that going to Mass was my favourite part of the week. At the time, my husband knew nothing about this – I sneaked out of the house. My husband is not catholic, when I married religion was the not on my horizon, I married before I started to develop this interest. I was not married in a catholic church.

​My husband and I were delighted to give birth to a beautiful little baby just over a year ago. She is our pride and joy. Since her birth, I have been unable to attend mass. I can’t bring myself to do it, I can’t even walk in the door. A few times, I have got to the entrance door and have turned away. I feel too hypocritical; I have been given this beautiful gift and I have decided that my marriage had nothing to do with God. I spent pretty much most of my life doing my own thing and often doing the selfish thing, but still, I was blessed with this beautiful gift. She isn’t even baptised due to my husband’s ideas about Catholicism. I feel awful about my past. I spoke briefly to the priest I had spoken to before and I kind of got the feeling that his non response was his polite way of confirming to me that I have cut myself of. I feel like God is tugging at me, I wish I could respond properly. I try to speak to God every day, and some days I feel ashamed to even turn to him in prayer. I believe in a kind and caring God, can I explain all this to him? I have turned my back on him so much, can a leopard change its spots? I really do want to let him into my life, I just don’t know how. What I want, more than anything is to walk into a church and sit quietly in his presence, I miss him.
​I am sorry for writing such an essay, I guess I am looking for some suggestions, advice? Is it silly to say that my heart is aching for God?

(Ps I feel a lot better having written all this down.)

No it is not silly and I know that ache for God very well!! I came back to the Catholic faith 2yrs ago after having it in and mostly out of my life for most of my life. I too spent most of my life living it My way. I didn’t think or know I needed God, He was for “religious people”. Anyhow, I may not be the best one to give advice as I’m still re-learning the faith myself. After 2yrs I have barely got it off the ground but that’s because I’ve spent most of that time doubting and questioning everything. It’s been tough but I’ve hung on to the little bit of faith God gave to me. But it has always been just enough, even after all the times I doubted Him and wanted to walk away. God held on to me. Now I try to stop questioning Him and just believe and trust. Things have got so much easier that way! I came back alone (without my husband he still does not go to church and has no desire to). It’s been difficult to do this alone but like I said I’ve held on tight. It’s baby steps everyday, some forward and some more back. Keep looking forward to God and keep praying.

You need a prayer life. Start with one Hail Mary every day and work your way up to a 5 decade rosary. Leave it to your Heavenly Mother to bring you back to her son!

Just a thought - maybe you could start by finding out if your local parish offers adoration (if not, maybe find one in the area that does) - then you can take the first step of going in and spending some quiet time alone with Jesus (the turn out for adoration tends to be sparse- if your parish is like mine)Then you can work your way up to returning to Mass.

My other suggestion is to pray daily - maybe get a copy of the The Word Among Us wau.org/ which shows the readings and reflections for each day’s Mass - then you can begin to read on your own what is happening at Mass until you feel ready to return.

Above all else - remember that God is calling you home, you can feel the truth of that in your heart - and He wouldn’t call you home if he didn’t miss you too. :slight_smile:

Have you talked to your husband about this? If not it is time to, and he might be much more receptive then you think if you simply explain your feelings to him.

Take time to pray and ask Him for help throughout all of this.

Remember He misses you and loves you more than you do Him.

Don’t be afraid to bring your baby to church with you, joyfully present him or her to God and thank Him.

Your not a leopard. Pray to God and ask him to guide you do not feel guilty. He will sort things out. It’s never to late!

Oh, honey, God already knows the desires of your heart and how much you are aching for Him. Someone suggested seeking out an Adoration chapel and I so agree with that. You can just sit there quietly and let Jesus gaze lovingly at you. The Holy Spirit is speaking to you gently, so “be still and know that I AM God.”

Congratulations to you and your husband! Nothing will turn things on their heads more than a child. I’m sorry you feel the baby is keeping you from Mass, from God. But truthfully, I had all I could do to get the kids baptized. Maybe your husband is rethinking some things too, now that he is a father? I am a revert, left for many years, and am now an enthusiastic Catholic once more, because I want to give my kids what I didn’t have. A strong, sticky faith, one that will see them through their lives. My husband isn’t Catholic (a whole story there), but is supportive. For example, my 13 year old was caught in a lie, and I said “that’s it, we are going to confession”. My husband said, “great idea!”.

You are on your faith journey, its personal, its in many ways challenging, but so rewarding. Be patient with yourself, God is.

Thank you for all your replies. They are all helpful and have given me some inspiration.

Finally I built up the courage to go into a church again. What a sense of peace I felt. I will return, I feel like I have taken a big step. And, I am working hard at the praying. I have found some great catholic podcasts and have been listening to the, during my hour long drive to work each day.

Thanks again x

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