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 Post subject: Finally, after ten years of goofing around, started RCIA
PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 12:50 pm 
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Citizen
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Religion: No longer an agnostic! Now a bare-bones Christian
Hello,

I have been a member of this forum for more than 10 years! I have been going back and forth between atheism, agnosticism, mild Christian universalism, Catholicism, and back to atheism. I really struggle with this stuff. Anyway, I started RCIA last week and we seem to have a really good teacher. He is a philosophy major so he is my kind of guy.

Anyway, going to try and stick to it this time. It is hard to describe how my "beliefs" sort of shift over time. But they do. I really have a hard time holding any "center" for a long period of time. Hopefully the RCIA will help me solidify my beliefs.

Although my wife is Protestant, we put our little girl in the local Catholic school (with much nudging from yours truly) and that, weirdly, has helped me get serious too.

Anyway, I guess I should ask a question. Those of you who have times of doubt, what do you do to get yourself back on track?

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 Post subject: Re: Finally, after ten years of goofing around, started RCIA
PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:17 pm 
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Handmaids of the Lord
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Hiya, Greg!

First off, don't beat yourself up about spending 10 years equivocating. I put conversion off for 25 years before I got the hint (applied with a sledgehammer) and got into RCIA. Long story and I've told it a couple of times before, but if you want to know, tell me and I'll send you a link. :fyi:

Secondly, don't get into a panic about what you call "belief shift." It even happens to the saints. St. Teresa of Avila (not just a saint, but a Doctor of the Church) wrote of her struggle during a 20-year long "period of dryness" (her words) in her faith. In fact, you might want to look into having her as your confirmation saint if you don't already have someone in mind. No urgency there, though, because you have plenty of time yet to make that decision.

Spiritual dryness is not easy to go through, and I certainly don't enjoy it when it happens to me. I don't know about anyone else, but I have to "stubborn" my way through it. I have to recognize it for what it is--a spiritual attack--and make a conscious decision not to let it affect me. It does, though. Prayer gets harder to do. Temptations get harder to resist. Doing what I know I should (prayer, rosary, Bible study and devotionals, Confession, yes, even attending Mass) gets harder for me. I just have to tell myself "Too bad, I'm doing [whatever it is I should be doing] anyway" because I know that this feeling will eventually pass. It does that every time.

I will also say that it's amazing what a difference the Sacrament of Reconciliation makes. It's still one of the most difficult things for me to do. I'm naturally an introvert and some very unpleasant life experiences have taught me to keep my true feelings and thoughts buried very deep. It's hard to go before someone for whom I have great respect and reveal my screw-ups. But you know what? The feeling of joy and freedom I have when I leave is indescribable and more than makes up for any trepidation I had going into the confessional.

If you haven't gone to confession before, again, don't worry. Father won't hold that against you. On the contrary, he'll very kindly lead you through the process and will rejoice at your desire for reconciliation. I will say, though, that if you think you need more than a few minutes, your fellow parishoners will be very appreciative if you call the office and make an appointment rather than just getting in the line. Chances are, though, that the actual Sacrament will be done in less time than you think. God is amazing that way. :cloud9:

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 Post subject: Re: Finally, after ten years of goofing around, started RCIA
PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:23 pm 
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Hey Greg!

I guess I am where you have been, although I've never doubted the existence of God, mostly because I've lived very close to nature all my life and see God so clearly in all the design and complexity of Creation. The heavens (and earth) declare the glory of God. Haven't yet enrolled in RCIA, but am considering becoming Catholic for reasons spoken of in my introductory post.

Greg Bell wrote:
Those of you who have times of doubt, what do you do to get yourself back on track?


Christian music often helps 'grab' me, and of course, prayer, bible studies, being with other believers. I suffer depression at times due to certain personal circumstances, which, in a sense can be a time of doubt, and sometimes, honestly, I withdraw and need a bit of space and what I call "time alone with God." Sometimes, for me, solitude allows God's voice to be heard more clearly.

I've been met with a lot of confusion concerning Christianity over the past several years, and hope to find more solidarity, guidance, and fullness of the 'faith-handed-down-through-the-ages' in the Catholic Church. Much to learn, and I've only just begun.

I do think it's great your little girl has inspired you to dig deeper; God works that way sometimes.Image

~Dwyn

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 Post subject: Re: Finally, after ten years of goofing around, started RCIA
PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 3:04 pm 
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Handmaids of the Lord
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What Future Mrs. Timmy said. :D

I struggle with doubt sometimes, as well--and I think most of us do at some point. First, it helps to remember that since love is a choice, I can choose to love (and obey) even when my intellect and will are at odds with each other, and/or when I don't "feel like it."

I think it does help to have some resources that explain/defend Church teachings about those topics that give me the most difficulty--and which topics those are may change over the years. I often start by looking up topics in the Catechism. I assume the Church has a good explanation for her teaching on the subject, and I generally seek it out.

But, for me at least, it's usually more about waiting out the negative thoughts and emotions (or a lack of "warm and fuzzies") and being persistent about doing what I know I should be doing. And prayer--especially in Adoration--usually helps, too.

"I do believe. Help my unbelief." (Mark 9:24)

Will pray for you. :pray:

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 Post subject: Re: Finally, after ten years of goofing around, started RCIA
PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:41 pm 
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Thanks for the thoughtful replies! I like the idea of St. Teresa being my confirmation Saint.

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My hero: Howard Bell 1935-2005


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 Post subject: Re: Finally, after ten years of goofing around, started RCIA
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:17 pm 
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You didn't play runningback for Notre Dame, did you ?

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 Post subject: Re: Finally, after ten years of goofing around, started RCIA
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:56 pm 
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Religion: No longer an agnostic! Now a bare-bones Christian
Nope!

Day two of RCIA. We had a Deacon today. Never understood what a Catholic Deacon's role was until tonight. "Marry em and bury em!"


Lively discussion tonight. Some ladies peppered the poor dude with some "how come no female priests/deacons?" He was pretty solid on the priest being male but admitted he had no great reason why they couldn't be deacons.

Fun class. Lots of distinguishing Catholics vs. Protestants. Great explanation of why Catholics aren't hardcore fundamentalist/biblical literalists.

Good times!

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 Post subject: Re: Finally, after ten years of goofing around, started RCIA
PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:11 am 
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Catholics do take the Bible literally. What Protestants mean by literal is the exact meaning of the words. What Catholics mean is that the words mean what the author intended them to mean.

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