Where is the Comfort in Catholicism?

OK - I have just about found solid ground with Catholic doctrine, and agree it seems to be “complete”.

But one final question - Where is the Comfort in Catholicism? In much of the teaching I have taken in (especially Greg Laurie whom I still really like), Bible passages are quoted that assure salvation, if you believe and try to follow Christ. A VERY comforting message.

Does the Catholic church teach something similar? Every time I finish reading Catholic info it leaves me less comforted, and it seems to focus less on God’s grace and ultimate love, more on trying to dissect the little things.

The most comforting thing I have hear on the Catholic side, is the Pope saying the church has often got tied up in little things, and needs to get back to focusing on the bigger issue of the Good News of the Gospel (saw this on a youtube, Fr. Barron on Pope Francis interview).

Well, the thing to remember is that sin is a very prevalent thing in the world and a very real thing to overcome in life. If we do not do our best to avoid sin and serve the Lord and others humbly, then we cannot really expect to attain the salvation in Heaven.

For Jesus said, “Not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father” (Matthew 7:21).

We CANNOT just rely on faith alone, because “faith without works is dead;” we must show our faith by our works and do as Jesus commands us every day.

“Whatever you did to the least of My brethren, you did to Me” (Matthew 25:40).

For the main part of your question: the comfort of Catholicism is the great trust that we have in God that we WILL be saved as long as we follow His Divine will for us and live according to the teachings of His Divine Son. Also, something that I heard Mother Angelica of EWTN say: “Don’t worry, for the Lord will take care.” And He will, He always does!

May God bless you on your quest to the One, True Faith!

Ryan

The comfort in Catholicism is in the very thing you mention - The assurance of salvation if you believe and follow Christ.

Perhaps the problem you are currently encountering (one I’ve seen too) is that you have actually gravitated toward the “dissecting” types of writing because you have been investigating Church teachings.

Now that you have come to an understanding on these matters, you can step back and look at the larger (and more fundamental) picture of actually living the faith in Love, and joy and assurance. This occurs in so many ways - participation in the mass and the Eucharist being paramount. The Sacrament of reconciliation being another. Then there are the many opportunities every day to perform corporal works of mercy and practice the virtues.

All of these things spring from the assurance we receive by trying our best to follow Christ.

Of course in doing this, we try not to loose sight of our “unworthiness”. In other words, we try not to presume on God…but to look in ourselves and try to remove the “planks” from our eyes (in my case a whole lumber yard :blush:).

Sorry for the rambling.

The short answer is that comfort comes in our daily acceptance and trust and just plain living out of our faith to the best of our ability. Then we have great hope - i.ie. assurance of our salvation.

Very comforting indeed.

Peace
James

:thumbsup:

Great answer. I’m saving this one!

Markie-

I agree that the guarantee of Eternal Salvation - once saved, always saved - sounds very comforting. Unfortunatetly, it is a false hope, because it is not true.

The “comfort” in Catholicism comes from knowing that the God of the Universe who created all things has sent His son to die for our sins and to establish a Church which is led by a shepherd here on earth whom Jesus appointed to that task.

As for the Catholic “info” that leaves you feeling less comforted, I wonder if this is because you have been focused (understandably) on trying to sort out the doctrine and to determine whether it is correct. Apologetics material is not food for the soul; it is food for the mind. The heart mulls over the truths of our faith in quieter moments.

Happily, the Church is a big “tent”, and there are many Catholics authors (and saints) who have written wonderful devotional materials which you will discover in time now that the heat of the apologetics battle has begun to subside.

Welcome home!

The Comfort in Catholicism is that God’s very nature is love and that he wills fallen humanity to be reconciled to himself and brought into his communion of love. He desires the salvation of everyone, and gives all sufficient grace to be saved, providentially ordering the world towards the salvation of souls.

Comfort can be good or bad. Comforting remarks that encourage us to maintain bad habits aren’t so good.

If I am so overweight that it threatens my health and my ability to live an active life, well-meaning people could try to comfort me by telling me I don’t look that bad, that obesity could actually be healthy, because I was healthy once that I always will be healthy, and that the writings of doctors on the health risks of being overweight are disputed, bigoted, and possibly forgeries.

If someone tells me that I need to lose weight to save my life, and so should get into the gym on a regular basis and start eating better, I can be comforted by knowing that my life will be better if I do those things, and that the person who told me that really cares about my well-being.

The same with spiritual matters.

:thumbsup:

This is such a great response. I just wanted to chime in to since I have heard Greg Laurie a lot and come from a Southern California Evangelical Baptist type background.

I completely understand where you come from. In that world, it is all about the comfort of salvation and driven home that once you say the magic prayer you are good to go. Nothing you can do can change your destiny. It is a powerful message and very comforting.

Unfortunately it’s false, it’s not Biblical or Historically accurate. It also doesn’t make much sense when taken to its full conclusion (Why live a godly life if it’s true).

One thing I greatly appreciate about Catholicism is it’s acknowledgement of sins and their consequence. It’s ugly and painful and not fun, but it’s reality and we don’t hide from sin, we confront it and we acknowledge it and we seek forgiveness and do penance for it. In a word we CONFORM our hearts to God Everyday by doing so.

I find tremendous comfort in that. It was always deep down concerning about how sin was hidden under the rug in Baptist circles. It is refreshing to bring it out and confront it.

On top of that we have a TRUE assurance that God died for our sins, forgave us, and promises us heaven as long as we seek Him and put True Faith that is visible in our lives in him.

Hope this helps, and I pray for your conversion process!

It’s comforting to know that I belong to the One Church founded by Jesus Christ, over 2,000 years ago, guided by the Holy Spirit ever since and has all Seven Sacraments to guide my on my Journey to my Heavenly Home. Belonging to the Catholic Church is a lifetime learning process and I love it. Jesus I trust in YOU. God Bless, Memaw

divinemercy.com/faustina/

Well, this is how that whole Reformation thing got started, at least in part. . . . . But I believe that it was a 500-year detour, with a lot of good insights but based on one fundamental false assumption: that the answer to the legalism and guilt-mongering you’re talking about is an account of salvation that will give a person rock-solid assurance that they are saved. In my opinion this is a mistake because it leads to one of two results:

  1. Antinomianism: that is to say, the belief that there is some formula that will assure salvation so that faithful obedience doesn’t matter. This is not the historic Protestant view, but Luther said a lot of things that could be taken in that direction (and others that showed that he was trying to guard against the danger). It keeps popping up, and seems particularly common among contemporary American evangelicals, especially in the South.

  2. The same set of fears and worries that plague Catholics, except that they’re on a whole new level. Here’s what I mean: the only way to avoid antinomianism is to say that good works are evidence of one’s having received God’s grace. But that brings “good works for salvation” back in by the back door, as the antinomians point out. And in a sense it’s worse, because in Catholicism you’re concerned with whether you are now in a state of grace. If you aren’t, you go to confession. Problem taken care of. But in evangelicalism, if you once start to worry that you are a “fake believer,” then your entire Christian life is in question. If you believe in eternal security, you’re in particularly bad shape, because if you aren’t a true believer now, then you never were one. And even if you repent and believe now, how do you know that it’s any more genuine than the first time?

In other words, for any morally serious person the mechanisms Protestantism puts in place to assure salvation wind up coming round to bite you. The harder you try to provide for absolute assurance, the more devastating the consequences if you once start to doubt.

From your summary of Pastor Laurie’s position, it sounds as if he isn’t that far from Catholicism. If he says that “trying to follow Jesus” is a condition of salvation, then he essentially believes in “salvation by works” in the same way Catholics do–at least that’s what stricter Protestants would say. The major difference remaining would be that Catholics are (reasonably) suspicious of the human capacity for self-deception. That’s why there are objective, “external” mechanisms in place (instead of subjective, experiential ones as in evangelical Protestantism). These specific actions are grave sins, and if you do them you should get yourself to a priest even if you feel that your relationship with God is fine.

The problem comes when Catholics start worrying about whether they are doing what the Church teaches “properly” and start seeking for some kind of assurance of their salvation. In other words, the basic problem is the same for both–Protestantism tries harder to deal with it, but the efforts wind up backfiring in my opinion.

The solution is not to have some kind of formula that guarantees that you are “really saved,” but just to look to Jesus and let Him worry about your salvation. That is the message at the core of Luther’s teaching, which is why I think Luther is a great pastoral theologian in spite of his unorthodoxies and his belligerent arrogance. This is the message you are rightly hearing from Pope Francis. Other Catholics who clearly proclaim it would be Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa (preacher to the papal household under the last three popes), Fr. Robert Barron, and the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus. (Not that these are the only ones, just that these are some of the best examples of Catholic priests who clearly teach and proclaim the free grace of God.)

The Church lays out “rules” to check our tendency for self-deception and to give us a road map to follow as we try to become more like Jesus. But treating these “rules” as if they were formulas that will still our fears and ensure that we are saved is a terrible mistake, just as tearing down the whole system and substituting some form of “faith alone” was a terrible mistake. The answer is both more conservative and more radical: accept that God loves you more than you love yourself and that, in the wonderful words of Luther, “God is not standing behind you with a club.” This doesn’t depend on going through mental gymnastics called “saving faith.” God’s grace is the ground and source of both our faith and our good works, just as St. Augustine taught and as the Church has consistently taught throughout the centuries.

Edwin

Edwin

In my experience with coming to the Catholic Faith the lack of comfort was not because of the Church but rather because of myself. I had to be honest with myself and admit that the sense of comfort I had received from my old spiritual practices were a result of me being able to have my cake and eat it too, so to speak. My old practices presented God in general ways which allowed me the ease of never really having to change. I would always proclaim “The truth will set you free”, without acknowledging the other characteristic of truth and that is “the truth hurts.”

Yet was this hurt a bad hurt? The answer was, no. This pain would be a transformative pain, a death to the old man and the putting on of the new man; Christ Jesus. The lack of comfort was the result of an encounter with a Personal God. A Personal God requires me to change myself. An obscure God only coined in general terms as love and peace allowed me to stay complacent. No death, no cross, and no sacrifice. Yet now in the Catholic Church, I am presented with a God that is Personal! A God that has likes and dislikes. A God who is not fine with letting me be complacent but who urges me to carry my cross and come to Him and to commune with Him not only spiritually but corporally in the Eucharist. A God who asks me to give my entire self to Him and who likewise does the same through His Sacraments to me.

This has helped me realize that discomfort is not always as sign that something is wrong. It most often than not is a call to real change and as the old adage goes “no pain, no gain.”

“Therefore, receiving an immoveable kingdom, we have grace; whereby let us serve, pleasing God, with fear and reverence. For our God is a consuming fire.” - Hebrews 12:28-29.

There are many christians who take comfort taking Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour into their heart. That really is something nice and especially conforting. I would have to say that that is a good beginning, to love Jesus and believe he is their life and light. What could be more comforting than to possess someone who gave everything for you?

The catholic christians take comfort in taking Jesus as their personal brother and saviour into their heart daily if they so wish. For Jesus said, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him” (Jn 6,58), and “I no longer live but Christ lives in me.” (Paul)

He actually lives in us and we in him according to Jesus’ own words. We not only possess him in the heart, but he lives in us and we in him. What could be more comforting than to possess someone who loves us that much to be living in us by his own divine life, and feeding us with his own precious body and blood.

May God bless and keep you. May God’s face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you peace.

ASSURANCE!

“You are the Christ, Son of the Living God!”
The man to whom the “…Father in Heaven” made that revelation and his friends walked, talked, ate, joked, cried, ate and lived with God on Earth!

That man became the first Pope of a church spoken into existence by The Christ!

GOD’S GIFTS:
Nowhere else are God’s gifts adhered to with a profound reality - whether it be the big things or the most minute of details.

Scriptures (The written Word of God) - compiled and set forth as God Speak to humanity.

Eucharist - the PHYSICAL connection between God and His people nourishes both spirit and body.

Mass - the solemn moment of being in the Throne Room of Heaven where along with ALL the Angels and saints, Heaven and Earth. in UNION conduct ourselves accordingly in REMEMBERANCE of what Christ did - not a euphoric entertainment ritual to invoke happiness / feel-good emotions.

PREEDOM:
True freedom is KNOWING where the boundaries are!
A life without boundaries is loveless and anarchy.

TRUST:
Knowing which ‘church’ Christ commenced - among the many now available - the question remains true now as when first asked by that first Pope;
" Where else would we go, Lord?!"

Once that question is answered within/by the individual, His answer becomes a given;
’ he who hears you (The Church) hears Me! (The Christ) ’

Although we persevere and labour in the same way all souls do where ever their situation or circumstance exist, we do so WITHIN the premise revealed by God Himself!

ABSOLUTION:
Nowhere else do these words have the TOTAL ASSURANCE that it’s true!
“I absolve you in the Name of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit”!!

Yet it doesn’t make us believe for a second that we can ‘sin heartily or mightily’ and rely on God’s Mercy just because He IS! - contrary to what ‘comedians’ of theology assert.

COMFORT??
Mind - The mind is informed
Body - The body to conform
Soul - The soul in uniform

ASSURANCE!

:cool:

Comfort in Catholicism stems from the Sacraments, which Christ Himself initiated as channels of God’s grace for our salvation. This is why we receive the sacraments of reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist frequently. Once you are Catholic, you need only religiously attend and actively participate in the mass out of pure love of Christ, confess your sins and receive absolution as necessary, then receive Communion. There is nothing left to worry about.

But, here is a “secret” comfort in Catholicism: going to your local parish and spending time in the presence of Greatness - our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Yes, it takes the grace of great faith to look upon the appearance of bread and know that it is no longer a “thing”, but rather a Person - Jesus Christ. But, once you ask God for that grace (and thereby receive it), you will be changed.

Just as you read in scripture, miracles occur in His presence. But, I issue this warning to you now: spending time with Christ will become habit-forming. You will begin to structure your day around Him. You will look forward to seeing Him. You will enter the chapel exhausted and leave refreshed. And that is the evidence of your love for Him.

The peace which surpasses all human understanding. There for the asking.

Now that you have come to an understanding on these matters, you can step back and look at the larger (and more fundamental) picture of actually living the faith in Love, and joy and assurance. This occurs in so many ways - participation in the mass and the Eucharist being paramount. The Sacrament of reconciliation being another. Then there are the many opportunities every day to perform corporal works of mercy and practice the virtues.

The short answer is that comfort comes in our daily acceptance and trust and just plain living out of our faith to the best of our ability. Then we have great hope - i.ie. assurance of our salvation.

Very comforting indeed.

Peace
James

Thank you, James. I am so comforted in my daily living of my Catholic faith. God knows us so perfectly that He knows exactly what we need. The Sacraments truly are there to bring us into the Infinite Love that exists in the Trinity. In the incarnation God becomes one of us…our very brother…to walk with us each day. Even through the darkness of the death of my family members, Jesus was right there with me. He understood grief. I can’t thank God enough for being God and giving us the Church!

Markie Boy #1
Bible passages are quoted that assure salvation, if you believe and try to follow Christ. A VERY comforting message.
Does the Catholic church teach something similar?

After all the only reason you and I have the Bible is because the Catholic Church has infallibly proclaimed which books of Scripture are the authentic Word of God and can thus be part of the Bible. Because Protestants have left out certain books from the true Bible, they do not know that Purgatory exists to prepare us for heaven and that we can pray for the souls therein – those not in hell.

So the Catholic Church teaches the fullness of truth because She is the Bride of Christ:
This is the mandate of Jesus, the Son of God, in installing St Peter as His Supreme Vicar:
All four promises to Peter alone:
“You are Peter and on this rock I will build My Church.” (Mt 16:18)
“The gates of hell will not prevail against it.”(Mt 16:18)
“I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven." ( Mt 16:19)
“Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.” (Mt 16:19) [Later also to the Twelve]

Sole authority:
“Strengthen your brethren.” (Lk 22:32)
“Feed My sheep.”(Jn 21:17).

There is no assurance of salvation unless one tries to do what is right and follow the Church’s teaching when it is known. None other than St Paul emphasised clearly:
“Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling.”
(Phil 2:12).

“Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours." (2 Thess 2:15).

“Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me, with faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.” (2 Tim 1:13-14). Again St Paul writes: “And what you heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will have the ability to teach others as well.” (2 Tim 2:2).

In Colossians 2: 4-23, St Paul calls on his flock to follow Christ “as you were taught” and warns against merely “human precepts and teachings.”

1 Cor 1:10: I urge you brothers, in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.

We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1Jn 4:6).

“For there will come a time when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but having itching ears, will heap up to themselves teachers according to their lusts. And they will turn away their hearing from the truth and turn aside rather to fables.” (2 Tim 4:3).

When I first entered a Catholic Church, with fear and trepidation at the tender age of 45, I did not know what to expect. What I was struck with was a peace that I had never experienced in the Evangelical movement. I got the impression that I had finally come home. I was almost in tears, and no one around me would understand why.

Much as I love Greg Laurie, and his message, when I sat down in the Catholic Church for the first time, I wanted immediately to be on my knees before God, in awe and thanks of His saving graces.

Yes, Evangelical can deliver powerful messages, but I found that the Catholic Church did not even need to speak a word, it just exists as it always has since Jesus instigated it.

I’ve had that same experience!!

So powerful. My first time stumbling into the Catholic Church I was moved to tests and truly felt humbled before God like we should. It was all about God, not the pastor and that gave me an experience that I never saw in even the most passionate evangelical worship service.

I recommend this video first:
youtube.com/watch?v=MZ5tEzXxSvs
With the Bible supporting the Catholic Church, there’s some comfort there.

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.