I was raised in a sound Catholic home and educated all my life by religious sisters in our Catholic education system. I was very devout and unquestioning until my teens when I began to wonder about many things related to religion. That period of questioning and difficulties (I was still prayerful and attending Mass and The Sacraments) I think of as a positive stage in my spiritual development rather than a negative stage. Prior to that stage, I was more of an unreflective slave stunted in spiritual growth (Jump! How high please? attitude) than a reflecting and maturing spiritually member of The Church.
My college years, when my questioning stage began, was a time when the Dominican nun who taught me had seeded a love of Scripture and Catholic Theology, which has never left me for one second.
KNowing of my difficulties at the time, that same nun said to me “A thousand difficulties cannot make one doubt”.
What ended that difficulties stage? I had read about a pagan historian during the time of Jesus and what he had written about Jesus and suddenly questioning ceased and light entered the dark hole I seemed to be in at that time. I entered a new stage in my journey. The Holy Spirit is not a snob, nor can He be pinned down to this or that alone, boundaries established for Him. He has endless means at His Disposal.
I still can have difficulties and question. But I no longer feel there is an endless dark abyss lurking threateningly around me as before in my teens. I think it can be quite healthy to have difficulties and question. I think it of not much use at all to deny that one has difficulties and questions and just be slave like to an authority.
Anthony de Mello wrote something about authority which caused me to burst out laughing. And yes, I know The Church’s position on de Mello:
A little boy is in a picture theatre with a tall man sitting in front of him. The man turns to him and says “Can you see, sonny?” “No sir, I can’t see”
“Oh you will be fine, just laugh whenever I laugh and you will be ok”.
Warning re Anthony de Mello (Indian Jesuit priest)
Catholic Answers re Anthony de Mello (3 mins)
Vatican website - Doctrine of The Faith - Warning re de Mello