Away for a long time

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Quixote

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I have been away from the church for a long time. Most of my adult life really. I am fascinated by what I have read here. I am also realizing that what I know of my church comes from a time when I was ten years old or younger. I plan on coming here more to check things out.

To be perfectly honest, I have learned more about the church in the last few stops by this site then I have in the last twenty or so years. For that, a big thank you! (that includes the folks posting on the site as well as running the site).

Now for my question or thought. I find myself disagreeing with many of the ideas here. Especially “rules” that feel like they were made up by a group of men and then are argued about by groups of men. That just “doesn’t feel” right. I have not gone to Catholic Mass in the last 15 years other then weddings and when visiting relatives. I do not pray much, other then to thank god for the life that I have been given. I have not been to confession since I was in my teens. I attend a Lutheran church with my family, sometimes regularly (if that makes any sense). Yet for me life is simple. I love my family. I treat people with respect. I am always on the lookout for excess in my life and generally try not to hurt anyone or anything. My life is beautiful, rich and full and I truly feel blessed; I honestly believe that I will go to heaven when my time comes. I suppose there are highly intelligent people here who can quote all kinds of other, even more highly intelligent people, telling me why I am wrong. But honestly, in my heart of hearts, I do not think I am wrong.

Please note that I am not ranting. Rather I am sincere and humble in my approach to this. While not big on religion I take faith very seriously. I am impressed by the quality of thought at this site and would love some ideas on this question. Is there a way to rectify my thoughts (the abbreviated version above) with the Catholic Church?

Thank you for your time.
 
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Quixote:
Now for my question or thought. I find myself disagreeing with many of the ideas here. Especially “rules” that feel like they were made up by a group of men and then are argued about by groups of men. That just “doesn’t feel” right
Many of us have a difficult time with some of the rules or teachings of the church at some point in our lives. What I have found in my journey is that anytime I’m not sure why something is the way it is, or why we do things a certain way – there is always a beautiful answer! Not only do they make perfect sense, but there are biblical and historical foundations for them. If you don’t have a new Cathechism of the Catholic Church, I would strongly suggest you get one.

I think sometimes we have problems with authority, or with other people telling us what we should do. If we think of our church as a family, however, we can all remember our parents setting down rules and guidelines that we may have thought were unfair or didn’t understand, but ultimately were for our own good. Such are the rules and teachings of Mother Church! When our Heavenly Father gave us the commandments, they were not to restrict us or keep us from having fun. To the contrary, their purpose is to protect us, keep us close to God and away from the bondage of sin. So also are the rules of the Church.

I might also caution you that if we always did what “feels right” we would be in a world of hurt. It doesn’t always “feel right” to sacrifice something for a loved one, but we do. I’m sure it didn’t “feel right” to Mary as she watched her beloved Son endure His sufferings, but she trusted God - -and we are eternally grateful she did! 😉

It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job of living your faith! Your life will become even more full and more meaningful, though, when you spend time with Jesus – in prayer, in Sacred Scripture, and (my favorite 😃 ) receiving Him in Holy Communion and sitting before His Holy Presence in Eucharistic Adoration. These are gifts only available in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church!

I pray you will find your way home – you will NEVER regret it! God bless!
 
“you shall know the truth and the truth shallmake you free” gospel of John. Thank you for your honesty and frankness. It sounds like you are looking for more. There is more. I converted to the catholic church 2 years ago. There are reasons for every doctrine and practice of the church good reasons. Another one of my favorite verses … ask and you shall recieve. mathew 7 . Pursue truth and you will find it and true freedom, but only form the source God Himself. There is nothing like freedom.
 
Can you be more specific about which “rules” that feel like they were made up by a group of men you find yourself disagreeing with?
 
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arnulf:
Can you be more specific about which “rules” that feel like they were made up by a group of men you find yourself disagreeing with?
And why you think they were made up by a ‘bunch of men’? The Church isn’t a man made institution. It doesn’t have a man for its head. It is made by God and has Christ for its head. It can only proclaim Truths of God’s revelation to provide us more insight and knowledge of God and to allow us to know Him better. ‘Rules’ are for our guidance and protection in following His will and keeping us on the straight and narrow path to Him.
 
In reading your post it seems you are just beginning to scratch the surface of a true relationship with the Lord. The things you describe are merely an appetizer. You have all those good things with as you say with little prayer, no reconciliation etc. Can you imagine what you would have (I am not speaking of the material things) with the gifts Christ (reconciliation, Eucharist) gave us. We cannot get those graces just from living a good life, those graces (and they are powerful) are received when we share in all that Christ gave us here in the Catholic Church.
 
Just a random thought on the concept of rules. In my job as a fire inspector, I pretty much go around all day enforcing the fire code and telling (mostly businesses) what they need to do to comply with the code. Many times, people are perplexed, or downright uncomprehending, as to why a cetain requirement is in place. :confused: Then the most important part of my job kicks in. I do my best to explain the reasoning and purpose behind the requirement; how it ties in to occupant safety, integrity of the building, and fire department response considerations. If I do my job properly (and if the person is open to hearing it) I often see a complete 180 in their appreciation for a requirement that only a few moments before sounded arbitrary and ridiculous. :cool:

In my experience, the teachings of the Church are like that too. At first blush they may seem arbitrary and non-sensical, but if we apply ourselves in a prayerful and humble spirit to finding out the teaching behind the teaching, we will always find that the Church has good theological or pastoral basis for all she puts forward for our belief and practice. Listen and pray. 🙂
 
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Quixote:
Is there a way to rectify my thoughts (the abbreviated version above) with the Catholic Church?

Thank you for your time.
There is only one for sure way that I know of, begin by praying the “Hail Mary” daily

“Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God
that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ
 
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arnulf:
Can you be more specific about which “rules” that feel like they were made up by a group of men you find yourself disagreeing with?
One of the forums I was in people were discussing the method of maintaining a healthy sexual relationship with there spouse while at the same time not getting pregnant and being respectful of the churches doctrines.

So, keeping an open mind I said to myself, this makes sense if your whole goal is to follow the rules and not use birth control. However; the more I read the more it sounded like many of these people were having a difficult time with something that didn’t need to be. Its not that I don’t get the argument that sometimes the things we are supposed to do aren’t easy. (in fact there usually not). It just seems that within a married couples relationship birth control and having a normal, healthy, simple sex life is probably better for the family, and by extension, the larger Catholic family as well.
 
It isn’t an accident that you found this medium. I don’t think your story is rare. Here is my reversion story.

I was away from the Catholic Church for awhile. The main reason is that after 1st Holy Communion I learned absolutely NOTHING of significance in CCD classes. I didn’t get confirmed as a teen.

I never stopped being a Christian but became very lukewarm during my teen years when it was inconvenient to follow what was right.

After I married, I started wandering a bit, and exposing myself to other faiths. I was confirmed but the priest gave me almost no instruction to prepare except a book. I still was searching and almost got caught up in the World Wide Church of God (kind of a cult) but when I became confused and frustrated, I just sat down and prayed to God. I asked him to please show me the truth and I would trust him.

A few weeks later I ran into an aquaintance at the grocery store. She told me about the new priest and said I would just love him. He is so charasmatic and gives wonderful homilies. With 2 pre-school children (baptized but not attending church) I knew it was time to bring them up in some sort of faith in God. My husband was a non-practicing Lutheran at the time.

We began going to church and enjoyed it. I eventually became involved and realized how little I actually knew. Once I started learning I developed a thirst for the truth. Another help was challenges from our Lutheran neighbors. It forced me to examine what the Church actually teaches and why.

As I said, you are here for a reason. Continue to read and learn and ask questions. You’ll be home in no time at all.

God Bless,
Denise
 
Why Catholic? Jesus founded it, His Church in 33 A.D. Martin Luther founded his in 1517 A.D. Do you need another reason? I will not debate with Jesus on judgment day why I chose not to be in the Church He founded, His body. Will you?

See

forums.catholic-questions.org/showthread.php?t=2810&highlight=lutheran+friends

Do rules bother you? Well the Bible is full of them! The Catholic rules only apply Gods commandments to our everyday life so to speak. They are not really new rules as much as application rules? If you don’t like rules they’re are many protestant sects that have only one, believe in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and you are saved once and for all. Regardless of what you do later or the sins you commit. Of course, this one rule is NOT in Scripture either.

Christianity is nothing but rules by God. Or better yet, think of them as Gods love for you. The more God loves you the more He tells you to keep you out of trouble.

I ‘reconciled’ myself after 27 years in the truth-less-ness and mostly rule-less protestant lifestyle. I thought it would be difficult to handle the rules as you say. Do you know what I found out when I came home? I was wrong! The rules weren’t hard to follow at all. Do you know why? The rules brought me closer to God then I ever imagined and it was like being liberated after being oppressed and mislead for so much of my life. The rules didn’t constrict or bind me, they freed me! They’ll free you too when you follow them and understand were they came from. I thought I’d hate confession too. Turns out I can’t wait to go! It liberates your soul when you hear the words from a human saying, “You’re forgiven”. Something I never heard as a protestant.

There are good Christians inside the Church and outside. If you come home, you will be more prized as a returning prodigal son and your light will add to ours and shine brighter then ever. If you stay Lutheran, just keep shining your light.

Knell down and pray about it. Go to a Catholic church outside of mass and knell down and pray about it with just you and God there to converse with. Praying inside His house helps. And take your Bible and read from it while there too. He speaks to me often now that I’m home. I never heard Him before coming home though I tried to converse with Him before. He’ll speak to you, just listen.

Christ loves all His children. He loves you and so do I, regardless of your choice.
 
Quixote,

It sounds like you live a good Christian life, and you’re wondering what it might have been like if you have practiced the Catholic faith of your childhood. At this point, maybe some things intrigue you (the mystery, the devotions, the sacraments) and some things repel you (the “rules,” the scandals). I would encourage you to really think about what you were taught (before First Communion after which CCD stopped providing you with any “meat” --I’ll bet a lot of us experienced the same thing in that regard) about the Eucharist. If you believe that it is truly the Body and Blood of our Lord, you will find a way to come back and all the other objections and intellectual difficulties will resolve themselves. You will find Catholicism irresistible. If you do not believe in the Real Presence , you won’t feel nearly the pull. No matter how well educated you are, it isn’t really a matter of reasoning it out though it is lovely to read spiritual works. It is a matter of faith. Great suggestion from the other poster to pray in front of the tabernacle or at Eucharistic Adoration or maybe, just attend a proper Mass (ask someone you trust about this) a few times. Sometimes the obstacles that seem the most insurmountable (the fact that your spouse belongs to a different Church, the prohibition on birth control, etc) just fall away when you consider what you’re gaining. You might like to read Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn. I’m praying you find your way back.
 
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Quixote:
One of the forums I was in people were discussing the method of maintaining a healthy sexual relationship with there spouse while at the same time not getting pregnant and being respectful of the churches doctrines.

So, keeping an open mind I said to myself, this makes sense if your whole goal is to follow the rules and not use birth control. However; the more I read the more it sounded like many of these people were having a difficult time with something that didn’t need to be. Its not that I don’t get the argument that sometimes the things we are supposed to do aren’t easy. (in fact there usually not). It just seems that within a married couples relationship birth control and having a normal, healthy, simple sex life is probably better for the family, and by extension, the larger Catholic family as well.
Please read Humanae Vitae, this is straight from the horses mouth and may shed some light on some of these difficult questions you have with sex and marriage.
newadvent.org/docs/pa06hv.htm

God Bless you
 
Quixote,

While I have always been deeply rooted in my catholic faith, I sometimes trusted my own judgements over those of the church. It took me awhile to discover how wrong I was. Searching for truth by the grace of God brought me to my knees.

I finally came to the realization that Jesus Christ’s body, the church, was everything Jesus set it up to be. Scripture went a long way in bringing me to the truth. Total surrender to Christ and His church will bring you, as it did me, to confession. Once I gave in and raised the white flag, my views changed dramatically.

You may be at the point in your life where God is calling you back to the bride of Christ. Read all you can, pray always, and simply love God with your whole strength, heart, mind and spirit. Search for the truth no matter how uncomfortable it may be. The more you learn about the church, its teachings, and scripture the more you will see the beauty of this great work of Christ that has survived every storm for two thousand years.
 
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