What to do when you need the info, your mind goes blank

Okay, so I’m 16, and a devoted and excited Catholic. I’ve been reading lots of Catholic conversion stories and other books, looking up Catholic music, listening to Catholic radio, going to Catholic websites, I’ve been on several great retreats, my church just started a new youth group and will shortly begin a Bible study- and all this has got me so pumped! I hear all this evidence for the Faith, and I just know that it really is Jesus’ One True Church. Well… this is where the problem comes in. I really don’t have many if any Catholic friends. Lots of on fire Protestants, and quite a few also who don’t care one way or the other. And I want to help these people- I really want them to know what I know! And when I listen to radio programs, etc. it sounds so easy. I mean with my friends the topic of Jesus, religion, etc. comes up a lot. But when it comes down to it, and I’m put on the spot (even with comments like “Yeah… but Jesus is the only one who never sinned!”) I have nothing to say usually. Like I totally blank out. Which I hate, 'cause I know so many reasons, explainations, … for Catholic beliefs and stuff. But when the topics come up suddenly it’s like, “Umm… there is a reason! Uhhh…” and I have nothing to say.
Does anyone else have this problem? What should I do?
Okay, well if you could help that would be great! God bless!

When I loose my mind I always pray to St. Anthony to ask God to help me find it!

I can Identify with this problem. I have read alot but non of it seems to come to mind in situations like you describe, but Im 55. I think to myself latter what a goof I am, when the correct response comes to me. Some have the verbal gift some do not. I try to show a good example. It is better for me and to let others do the talking then I can agree or disagree as my memory is then activated. My Jesus bless your efforts

I’m 62 years old, and I can get away with “I’m having a senior citizen moment, due to too much cat hair up my nose”.:smiley:


I have that problem and I’m only 33!

I’ve only been Catholic since June, but I have learned so much over the last few years in coming to the faith. Now I help teach RCIA at my parish.

I would suggest attending as many of these types of functions as you can. Bible studies, ect… Repetition has been a good friend to me. The more I hear the answers, the more I remember them when the time comes.

God bless!

Are you suggesting evangalizing to our peers is not an important issue?

I have the same problem too, we sometimes discuss Mary and whenever I bring up her being full of Grace, they seem to redefine God’s grace as “grace like a ballerina.” This is how i see it. It is a herding mentality not anything else. Basically whoever is in the minority loses in those debates. I am serious. Also it is a lot easier to say something is wrong, then prove it is correct. It is easier to attack then defend. A lot of the Non-catholic christians try to go out and study up to prove why it is wrong. Thats the big difference. They are prepared on it and you aren’t. They basically try to prove their beliefs by trying to prove yours are wrong.

~Gabe :thumbsup:

This makes sense. It seems what the apostle Paul did was to defend the faith as it was under attack, not speak without without provocation. A person must take care where the person you are speaking to are not interested in finding what is true,
2 Timothy 2:22-24
"Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments,
because you know they produce quarrels.
The ability to persuade is a gift that not all have.
2 Corinthians 10:4-6
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

When it’s a friend or someone I know I’ll see later, I usually just say something like, “There’s a reason for that” or “No, that’s not right” or “The Catholic Church teaches” and then say, “I can’t remember exactly what or why, but I’m going to look it up and get back to you, because I know there’s an answer and I’m curious about that too.” :slight_smile:

This has never happened to me that I can recall but then again I’ve only been Catholic since Easter.

Great toolkit to carry in your purse is

Copy of “Pillar of Fire/Pillar of Truth” available from Catholic Answers.

Paperback copy of the CCC - there is a small paperback version the size of a regular paperback novel, you can pick it up for less than $10 at any big bookstore.

Your Bible marked with the Scripture Tabs avaliable from Catholic Answers.

These will help you through those moments :thumbsup:

Help! I’m trying to think and nothing happens! :confused:

You can formulate and memorize some one-liner responses that can get the conversation going - that’s what they do, and it’s not cheating to steal their trick. :wink:

For example, you could say, “Full of grace means there’s no room for any sin - Mary had no sin. It doesn’t make her superhuman, though - we were created to be without sin, so in reality, she was more fully human than those of us who sin.”

It’s a short, succinct response that can get your point across without having to give a great long explanatory speech.

The Compendium of the Catechism has a list of questions with short answers - it would be worth memorizing the ones that seem to come up the most often, in your case - that way, you’ll know that you’re giving them the authentic teaching of the Church.

It’s part of the learning process. Painful, yes.

What has happened, is that after the fact, I re-study the issue. Write it all down. Theoretically, that way I am prepared for the “next time” that the question comes up.

Interestingly, it never has come up again in quite the same way.

HOWEVER, what has happened, is that after I bungled a dozen or so of these questions, I had done so much research to help prepare myself for “the next time”, that when questions DID come up I enough “building blocks” stored away in my brain, that I WAS ABLE to come up with a reasonable response.

This takes time and patience, based on my own experience.

THE OTHER THING that happened, was that I began, eventually, to sort of “mentally close my eyes and pray for the Holy Spirit to give me the right words”.

And you would be shocked at the eloquent and BRIEF and to the point responses that came out of my mouth.

I know that I have been shocked many times at the appropriate responses.

But this is going to take a while.

So, just study up in response to previous bungled questions and build up your library … to make it into a super resource for the future.

I have a 20 yr.old son who is a soph in a public university. He is exposed daily to classmates, a roommate and sports buddies who are not Catholic. The thing is …he’s the only one with a car on campus, so they come to him regularly for a ride.
For anyone who wants a ride for whatever reason, include come with camping, hiking, fishing…because the campus is surrounded by a national forest, he tells them they have to come to mass with him at the campus Newman center.
Since he started this last year, his buds have opened an ecumenical dialog…sometimes it gets very heated because his Protestant friends have ingrained prejudices which are regularly a part of their catechesis…our son has a great barrier to breach.

Particularly the concept of the Holy Eucharist. But since he frequently calls me up for help on resources to substantiate his arguments…we have grown closer as a family of faith…and our son has grown deeper in his. As I remind him, I will suggest to you…when you find yourself getting confused …send up a very silent or verbal prayer to the Holy Spirit…Sometimes your answer will be…give me a day and I will get back to you with the answer…this will provide time for you to do some research. With all things…pray first last and all the days inbetween. God bless you! You are not alone in your quest to get closer to Christ!

Also consider investing in the Catholic Youth Bible.

First thing to do: pray! Pray ahead of time, too. Pray that God will give you the wisdom and courage to respond to these kinds of statements.
Second, you can always say something like “That’s actually not true, but I can’t remember exactly why, I’ll get back to you on that!” Then you can take the time to find the answer, maybe even write it down, and present it in a later conversation.
Rember, only God can convert people. He may or may not choose to use you as the tool to do so. But don’t stop giving Him the chance! That’s awesome to hear that other people near my age are as on fire for the true faith as I am. Keep it up! :thumbsup:

Yes, I have had this problem, but it gets better.

My first suggestion is to be sure that you have been to confession, and are frequently receiving the sacraments. If you are in mortal sin, I doubt that you will be very successful in apologetics work.

Secondly, don’t start out trying your apologetics skills on fundamentalists, or baptists. I suggest you start out by simply talking to your parents. Have a conversation with them about an aspect of the faith, and try explaining it to them. This way, if you don’t know something, you are not the spot and feeling like an idiot.

Finally, if you ever are asked something that you don’t know, then tell the person that you don’t know. Be honest, and they will have much more respect for what you are trying to tell them. Then, look up the answer when you get the chance, and go back and explain it to them later.

I remember after I started learning about the faith more in depth, I tried explaining the Catholic belief on Mary to one of my non-Catholic friends, and it went horribly. I shouldn’t have even discussed Mary with them because it was clear that there were much more basic issues of Catholicism that they did not understand, thus leading to a pointless argument on Mary and random other things. Neither of us got anything positive out of it.

The most important thing though, is to remember that all conversions come from God’s grace. You are just in the business of proclaiming the Truth. You yourself will not convert, or reveal the truth to anyone. Any revelation or conversion that is granted is done only by God’s grace working through you. This is why prayer and frequent reception of the sacraments is vital.

First of all – don’t stop reading. You can never know too much about any one subject that you can’t learn more. ESPECIALLY become familiar and comfortable with the Bible, it’s contents and arrangements. A Catholic apologist who can’t find Paul’s Letter to the Romans without digging around loses before he even opens his mouth.

Also, listen OFTEN to good apologists and Bible teachers. Note how they answer questions and build a case. It’s bound to rub off eventually.

Having taught Bible studies and apologetics classes for several years, I 've found the best way to respond is to take your time. We always feel like we have to give a snappy answer to pointed questions, but that isn’t always necessary, or even desirable.

First of all, I don’t feel obligated to answer every flip and sarcastic comment about the Faith that comes up. Pearls before swine, and all that. If someone else is around that could be scandalized by my silence, I will at least say to the original commenter, “Sorry, but you are wrong.” If they choose to pursue it, I’ll take it from there, but if not, at least I addressed the comment.

When asked a tough, but sincere question, I immediately slow it down. First I say. “That’s a good question: why do you ask?” or “Well, tell me first what you know about it so I can fill in the gaps or let you know if you’ve got it right.” This has the double effect of giving you a chance to think, and saving you the trouble of wasting time explaining things they already know.

Also important is to not let your questioner jump around and get off subject when things get tough for them. JW’s are famous for this, as are many people who come ito these forums. Before they change the subject or decline to continue the conversation, try to make sure they understood what you said, even if they don’t agree with it. And always offer to give or send them follow-up material.

One thing that must be stressed is you must pray, pray pray.

Pray before you talk.

Since you are Catholic you will always be heard and if you are open to it you will have the proper response. It might not seem like the proper response to you but if you are open to God working through you it will result eventually in good.

Also keep practicing as it takes a while to get used to having conversations about the faith and doing it naturally. We are brought up in this society to not talk about faith and to accept every opinion as valid so we are conditioned against truth. So are most the people you talk to so, be patient.

Listen to encounters between people on the faith and learn the ways people avoid truth, and be charitable as even though some people are being dishonest they don’t realize it.

In Christ

Now you can download this Mp3 to listen to, the audio is not the best, but it can show what you are up against.

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