Monday, April 15, 2013

How to Recover Your Catholic Faith

This blogpost was inspired by a question on XT3 about how to recover one's faith.

Here is some of my advice on just how to do that.

1. Love Truth.

I think that most important thing is to Love Truth. To love Truth means to do what it takes to acquire it. Truth is what gives life meaning and what makes it authentic. Because if you don't love Truth, you won't be hungry enough for faith.  If you don't love Truth, Faith-- or what people call "faith"-- will become a distortion of itself. It will turn into pop psychology, an emotional crutch, a form of personal validation-- but it won't be what it's meant to be, which is an encounter with God. Truth is not something you make up. It exists in and of itself, outside of oneself.
It's not about looking inward to oneself, but outward to God. So you have to love Truth to find God.

2. Moral Purification

I think it could be summed up in two words: Repentance and Charity. Be sorry for one's sins, be ready to improve on one's moral failings, and commit oneself to charity, that is, for the good of others. Selflessness and humility make one ready to receive God into one's heart.

3. Pray.

Pray every day. Preferably several times a day. If you want to have a relationship with God, you have to treat him like he exists. So you must pray every day, preferably several times a day. You can start with The Our Father. But you can also utter to him, in your mind, your cares, your worries, and what you're thinking. God wants to hear it! And pray to God for faith. Because faith is ultimately a gift from God.

4. Spiritual reading. 

In prayer, you talk to God. In reading, God talks to you. It's in reading that you will find the answers you are looking for.

Read the New Testament, and the writings of the saints. I liked the Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, because it enlightened my on having a relationship with Christ. Find a book by one of the great Catholic authors, one that has stood the test of time, and that is suited to your taste, and read a little of it every day. It is through the wisdom of the saints that God will communicate to you what you need to know. God speaks through holy wisdom.

If you need some ideas on what to read, I suggest browsing my Catholic Breadbox quotations website. You can browse the website by themes listed on the sidebars. Eventually you will get an idea of what authors will suit your taste.

5. Don't go at this alone.

You learn to practice your faith by watching others do it. If there's no one in your life to help you in spiritual life -- and that's often the case-- find an online Catholic community to which you can bring your questions and concerns. You don't want one with lots of toxic debates. You want to find an online community where you can receive calm and loving answers. And make sure it's loyal to the Magisterium, i.e. Church teaching!

6. Pray to Mary 

The old saying goes "Can't find Christ? Ask his Mother!" Ask the Blessed mother to pray for your faith. Jesus loves to grant his mother's requests.

7. Know your faith 

If you've been away from your faith for a while, you may have forgotten it. Or perhaps you never learned it in the first place. I recommend reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church to re-familiarize yourself with Catholic teaching. If you have questions that need answers, is an excellent place to start. You can start with the tracts and then jump around the website as needed.

Remember that faith is a gift from God. He will confer his gift on your in his own time. But persistence pays off. Prepare your heart and mind, and it will eventually happen.