Struggles

20 Apr

The dailiness has set in…the shine of being Catholic has worn off a little bit for me. It’s still as beautiful of a part of my life as ever, but it’s not new anymore. I knew deep down that this day was coming, but I really wanted to pretend that I would be permanently excited about my faith.

Thank goodness for my sponsor and her family – I would be really discouraged right now if I didn’t have them. I also found out that a guy in one of my classes is Catholic. The joy in his eyes as he asked me about my Confirmation and First Communion revived my spirits a bit. I also got the chance to talk to S’s mom about joining the Church – she’s really happy for me and had tons of questions. Actually she acted exactly the way I wish my own mother had…

I found a beautiful version of The Litany of the Saints and a couple of songs by Libera and those have been pretty encouraging. I’m trying to get through my reading list, but I haven’t picked up anything but a textbook this past week. My sponsor and I have also started doing this Bible Study by Scott Hahn.

But I’m struggling.

I am finding more and more things about being Catholic that I didn’t even know that I didn’t know. And the people who’ve pointed these things about to me haven’t been particularly gentle. I’m balking. I’m resentful. I’m confused. I have no problem obeying God and the Church, and but I’m struggling with some of Her followers who’ve taken it upon themselves to tell me that I need to buy a veil, set up an elaborate altar in my (very small four-person) apartment, and buy certain medals and other religious objects.

Those things are all really nice, and maybe at some point they’re things the Lord would ask me to do, but for right now I think He’s okay that I don’t wear a veil to Mass, especially since I always make sure that I’m dressed modestly enough not to distract anyone. And I think He understands that the little cubby in my desk that contains my Confirmation candle, crucifix, and a couple prayer books are the best I can do for an altar right now. And I definitely think He knows that I don’t have the money or the space for religious objects that I’d just end up having to get rid of when I move after graduation anyways.

I love being Catholic – but I feel like all of a sudden people are bombarding me with extra rules and traditions. And while I can see the value of those things, I just need some breathing room. This is a lot to take in. And quite honestly all the extra stuff is a bit of a stumbling block for me at this point. I’m struggling because I feel like I’m not Catholic enough, like I’m just not good enough or smart enough or patient enough to handle what everyone else seems to be able to manage like second nature.

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14 Responses to “Struggles”

  1. Lyn April 20, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    Baby steps, sis. Baby steps.

    I am new too…and God knows we can’t do it all at once. Your heart is His altar, keep it pure, keep Him there, and the rest will follow in time.

    (((((HUGS))))) and prayers.
    Lyn

    • elliejaneohara April 20, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      Thank you!!! What a beautiful thought that my heart is His altar 🙂

  2. SR April 20, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    Ellie,

    Just smile and go on when they tell you these things. I am not new to the Church and to date I have a Crucifix on my wall, one on my altar (which is the top of a small dresser) with two white candles by it. I have worn the Mary medallion given to me as a gift when I was confirmed and that is all I have ever had. I do not wear a veil or have a hundred statues/pictures and the like in my home. I keep it simple, as what God cares most about is what is in my heart.

    Some Catholics like a “bunch” of symbolisim around them as reminders. I am not one of them. I have the few I have and have never been the worse for it. Follow your heart on matters such as this, and you will not be confused or at a lost about it.

    I have the same Prayer Book I have used for 8 years. The Catholic Book of Prayers. I also pray the Liturgy of the Hours, same book for 5 years. We have to be comfortable in our own life with God. Truly the Church “requires” we have none of it, but suggest we have something. Find what your “something” is and be happy with it. 🙂 Hope this helps. God Bless, SR

  3. SR April 20, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    I wanted to come back as I forgot to say I do have a Rosary surrounding my Crucifix on my wall. Neither Crucifix are large in fact the one on my dresser is about 8 inches, the one on my wall about twelve. My Medallion is about as big as a dime. My candles are tapered and I buy them at Walmart. So you do not feel pressured…………… I have a friend 40 years in the Church. She has a Crucifix on her wall, a picture of Mary, and a statue of the Flight to Egypt, (which she bought at Walmart) and wears the Mary Medallion. That is it! My neighbor “cradle Catholic” has a Crucifix on her wall, a statue of Mary above her fireplace, and wears a necklace Crucifix. That is it! We will talk about what I do for Christmas when it comes around!

    To each his own Ellie. “To each his own.” 😉 God Bless, SR

    • elliejaneohara April 20, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

      Thanks, friend! Even now I feel some of the pressure easing off. As a Protestant I felt like I did a pretty good job of standing my ground and following God’s direction about what sorts of practices/symbols He wanted me to partake in, and what sort of things He knew weren’t for me. I definitely see areas where I’ve let go of that tendency as a Catholic because it’s just all so new!

      • SR April 20, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

        I am doing a post right now regarding these matters for converts. It will probably go up tonight or tomorrow and should help you. What you need it “TIME” which some or getting in a bit of a hurry. Statues, medallions, etc.. are one thing. They can help us. Personally I do not think we need 100 of them to do so. 🙂 As I always tell you, “TAKE YOUR TIME!” Love ya and God Bless, SR

  4. theoress April 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    Aww don’t worry. All good thoughts. A home alter and medals aren’t necessary. Neither is a veil; I’ve never worn one. Faith, sacraments, moral living–those matter. Let no one distract you from that.

  5. cinemacatechesis April 21, 2013 at 1:58 am #

    One beauty of Catholicism are the NUMEROUS customs, traditions, devotions, etc. However, no one can do it all and you have to decide what works for you and let it evolve over time.
    Working for my church people are always thinking thinking that their way or devotion is best and want everyone to follow it; sometimes charitably, sometimes not.
    I am a cradle Catholic. I grew up with certain traditions. I’ve taken on some others and felt drawn to different things over the years. Let the Holy Spirit guide you and pray.
    I grew up with a crucifix in every room and a few Holy pictures around. But again, they weren’t all purchased at once. Some were wedding gifts. Some for baptisms, first Communions, etc. as long as you have the basics (a Catholic Bible, rosary and crucifix), you’ve got what you need, and with today’s technology, you ALMOST don’t need those, because there are so many FREE sources for those. 😉

    • elliejaneohara April 21, 2013 at 6:52 am #

      It’s true, there is so much out there! I could spend days on end just finding new things without getting the chance to go deeper into the things I’ve already found and enjoy.

  6. geloruma April 22, 2013 at 6:04 am #

    Hi Ellie,
    I know just how you feel; I replied to SR on this very topic. In any denomination you get religious bullies; I know that will sound very unkind but its true. I have one in my Church, a lady who is always trying to foist things on others; she leads prayers for Divine Mercy once a month, and I helped her set it up. One by one she chased people away with her over -bearing attitude;, and then put down their absence to their having little faith…
    (If only we could see ourselves as God sees us..!.) I now think its God’s way of bringing them to our attention because they are in need prayer; they just can’t see what harm they are doing. just say a prayer for them – but don’t loose heart, the one place/person we should stay closest to is Jesus in the tabernacle.
    I am afraid that the people in the Catholic church aren’t perfect; (which is quite a relief & comfort when we think of our own imperfections); but God still loves us! 🙂

    • SR April 22, 2013 at 7:59 am #

      Geloruma, you said it well. God Bless, SR

    • elliejaneohara April 22, 2013 at 8:08 am #

      I’m glad to know I’m not the only person dealing with pressure from others to participate in certain “extra” practices! Thanks for all of your lovely comments, I really enjoyed reading them this morning 🙂

  7. geloruma April 22, 2013 at 6:08 am #

    P.S…even Catholics have to grow into their Catholicism – even though I started out Catholic, it has taken me a good 40 years to mature into it!

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