Why does my faith seem weak?

So I grew up in a Catholic household, and I still consider myself a Catholic to this day. But for a while I feel like my faith hasn’t been as strong as it once was.

I have a tendency to be skeptical and analytical about things and I feel like it’s starting to affect my faith. Whenever I’m in church and the priest asks “Do you take Jesus Christ as your lord and savior?” a part of me naturally says “Of course”. But another part of me says “Are you sure?”

It’s been quite disheartening to find myself dissecting Catholicism to understand why my faith has gotten weak. But whenever I do, I end up feeling extra faithful for a period of time before this analytical things starts again.

So let me put it this way. Let’s pretend my faith is a ball. And every time I over-analyze I’m submerging my ball under water. Eventually I let go and the ball rises back up to the surface. So what I’m asking is how do I prevent myself from submerging my “ball”?

I would suggest, just making a very conscious, willful choice to believe, and then ignore your feelings that say otherwise. Whenever they come up, just tell yourself, I have made a choice, and stick to it. Try to read some apologetics and writings of the Saints to strengthen your faith. I would also suggest going to Adoration and praying the Rosary… pray for stronger faith… and remember faith is a choice, not a feeling. God bless :slight_smile:

TonyC: If you are a cradle Catholic… take it from me… as I am one, too.

We got to go though our “cradle Catholic” phases: I am angry-Catholic, New age is awesome-Catholic, I am in college and know everything-Catholic, None of my friends are Catholic, so neither am I-Catholic, etc.

Many saints have questioned their faith and even questioned whether or not God existed!! :eek: Sometimes the weight of the world can weigh down on you. Sometimes it can make you feel like your faith is going away and make you question things.

I have learned that it is okay to question things. I think that God WANTS us to question things. He will give us the answers. We just have to make sure that we are sending our questions to God. I remember saying lots of prayers that we sort of like “God, why are you doing this? God, why are things this way? God, do you exist?, etc” That is okay. He will answer you. We just have to never give up praying and seeking God.

Have conversations with God thoughout the day. Have conversations with Mary thoughout the day. If somebody asks you “if Jesus is your Lord and savior” and you walk away from that conversation thinking “ah, I don’t know…” then talk to Mary or God about it. Say to them “God/Mary: I’m having a hard time. I don’t know if I feel like that right now. Please help me” (or whatever) and they will.

As for analyzing things… I do that as well. I do that a TON!!! And that can make your faith or your beliefs seem shaky. I have been there. I have analyzed my way out of Catholic beliefs before (see my cradle Catholic stages above), but I never really stopped asking (Mary, in particular) about why I am feeling like that. I took a little “shaky faith” trip for a few years, but she led me back here.

I’ll say prayers for you… :crossrc:

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Monica, with all due respect, I have to disagree with your premise (although your methods are superb!). What are the Theological Virtues? Faith, Hope, and Charity. Unlike the Cardinal Virtues (prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude), these virtues CANNOT be cultivated by our own efforts. They are gifts from God alone. Sometimes we must go through the fire to become stronger. Your struggles show that you have not given up hope. Trust in God, practice a solid devotion to Mary and the saints. Pray that your guardian angel, St. Michael, and whoever your patron saint is, will help you in your need.

Mother Teresa put it well:

If we pray, we will believe.
If we believe, we will love.
If we love, we will serve.

On the contrary:

if we do not pray, we will not believe.
If we do not believe, we will not love.
If we do not love, we will not serve.

Prayer is the oxygen of the soul, without oxygen the body suffocates. Without prayer, the soul cannot thrive. With a weak prayer life, our faith will i turn be weak. The only way we can love someone is if we know them. The more we love someone the more we love them—that’s the whole point of meditating on the Mystery of the Rosary, which is a prayerful meditation on the life of Jesus Christ.

Therefore, the more we pray, the more we will know God, and the ore we will love and trust in Him. Thus the Catholic Church has a treasury of prayers which fit with each person’s temperament or needs.

Here is a video meditation to get to know Christ better, and here is a short talk by Bishop Sheen on how to pray effectively.

Keep in mind that when we pray, even when we feel dry and empty and without consolation is actually when the prayer is more effective. Much like when you exercise: You only gain muscle when you push through when it gets tough; in weightlifting, the first 10 reps are easy, it is the last 5 that actually start to build muscle.:thumbsup:

This is absolutely key. I think it’s something that cradle catholics (like myself) either never fully learned, or forgot over time. Faith is a theological virtue - it comes from God.

All the suggestions are outstanding. I’ll add a couple of more, from my experience:

The first, best thing to do to increase your faith is to ASK GOD. In my experience, he always responds to this prayer. Ask for intercession from the Blessed Virgin on this as well, and any other saint you want to bring into the game. In the bible, some of Christ’s teaching is in response to the disciples asking Him to “increase our faith”

Frequent the eucharist, and pray specifically for an increase in faith as you receive your savior.

Frequent reconciliation - once a month is the guideline I use.

I go through this very same thing all the time. I’m so glad I’m not alone. Here’s what I do though and I hope it helps.

In those times I simply ask God for gentle reminders. “Hey, today I doubted if Christ is really who he said he was. Forgive me. Give me peace and help me to understand this temptation. Remember your promise and provide a way out so that I may stand up under it.”

He has never let me down. He’s reminded me also that my daily struggles are a sign I’m alive and still running the race. I honestly don’t want to stop struggling. No point to faith if it’s easy.

I grew up in the same position as you. I always questioned my faith, but I later understood that ‘questioning’ it is better than completely writing it off. By ‘questioning’ my faith my faith actually became stronger as I looked for the truth! Your faith will grow, give it time; it doesn’t happen overnight as much as we would want it to. Pray to God and ask him to strengthen your faith in him, he will not let you down.

Our Lady at Fatima asked for prayers and sacrifices for the conversion of sinners and peace in this world. I really never gave much time toward questioning the faith during my daily duties but rather I asked to be ‘plugged in’ to the Holy Spirit for this intention. May every step in my errands be for the conversion of sinners and peace in this world. May every slice of the carrot I chop be another soul saved in the blood of Christ. At the end of the day I feel like I’ve been laboring in the Lord’s vineyard. I guess the spirituality of St Therese of Lisieux, of doing acts of love by sanctifying our daily duties really keeps me busy. It never occurs to me to question if Jesus is really present in the Eucharist, or other such matters of faith. I’m not sure if it was St Therese, but another little one, who was going through the building, closing all the windows. As she offered each window she closed as a prayer for the conversion of sinners, Jesus said she went from Love to Love. Maybe this is a way for you to find your ‘connectedness’.

I think everyone deals with weak faith at times. May God bless you.

Doubts and questions do arise. The antidote is knowledge, prayer, receive the sacraments, including Reconciliation, often. Study your faith. Read the lives of the Saints, get some DVD’s of great evangelical Catholics, pray often and say the Rosary. The more you practice your faith, the stronger it will grow. Yes, faith is a gift. You received it, but you need to live it, nourish it, know it, spread it! God bless you.

This happens to me a lot, too. But I’ve come to realize that it is necessarily a bad thing to ask questions, to have that “struggle” to understand your faith. We sometimes become too complacent and do our Catholic duties on autopilot.

I think this could also be His way of reaching out to us, don’t you think? He wants us to exert more effort in getting to know Him, learning His teachings, and living according to them.

“How beautiful is the family that recites the rosary every evening.” – Blessed John Paul II

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