Angry? Scared? Unsure? Too busy? Spiritual but not religious? There are many reasons we turn from our Catholic faith, but if you’re thinking about coming back, and I hope you do, here are a few things that helped me return to Christ’s path.
Have you ever put off going to the doctor because you knew they’d tell you something bad? Have you gone anyway, received a relatively clean bill of health and thought, why did I put that off for so long? Confession, for me, is similar. The gift of the sacrament of confession is in the feeling it gives you. Think about the secret(s) you keep or the memory of a bad decision, or maybe its just the run of the mill negative thoughts we tell ourselves everyday; now imagine you can tell someone and be absolved. You can walk out of the church, ten minutes after you enter, with a clean slate, with hope, and with the opportunity to start a new life. Don’t be afraid, this is not about a priest’s judgement, it is God giving you another chance to love him, and a chance for him to show he’s loved you all along.
2. Catholic Bookstore
Henry is the owner and operator of The Merciful Saviour gift shop near me. It’s a small store, filled to the ceiling with books, statues, jewelry, artwork, and more. Recently, I purchased a small prayer book titled: Daily Companion for Men. The cover is sturdy, the passages are brief, and a little ribbon acts as a book mark. I start every day reading the next day’s entry and it brings me solace and focus. Reading not your thing? Buy a cross necklace, get a little light catcher to put in your window or hang a crucifix on your wall. Find a small way to put something in your home as a reminder of God’s love for you, or, even better, buy a gift for someone else. You never know what impact you can have on yourself or others.
3. Empty Church
I’m not sure if it’s common knowledge, but most churches are unlocked twenty-four hours a day. If you’ve never had the chance to sit in a quiet church and pray or just talk to God, I strongly recommend it, it can be a powerful intimate experience. If you’re not sure what to do, just sit and look at the stained glass or say a quick Our Father. I’ve found the silence is where I hear God speak to me the most.
Rosaries, prayers for any conceivable need you may have, history, comdey, music, theology, explanation of mass and a multitude of podcasts are within thumb-reach on your phone. Have a question but too embarrassed to ask? Watch a video on it. It may sound strange, but I found some videos on Catholic exorcists that blew my mind. They helped me get back to my faith becasue those stories made me realize there is an actual war between good and evil. I admit it’s a weird way to get back to church, but what can I say? YouTube has a lot of weird interesting stuff to discover.
5. Meditation on your Identity
I constantly ask myself who I am. It’s the greatest mystery to me. Is it my job? Is it my body? is it my strengths and weaknesses that define me? I don’t know, but every Sunday I sit with my family in church, sing-a-long badly to the music and sit amongst members of my community. We listen to stories about forgiveness and being good and how to be a servant to our fellow man. We learn how to be children and followers of Christ’s example. To me, that is the only identity I should strive for.