Sometimes being Catholic is so very hard…

Why do I write? Because I have to. There was never a time in my life where I wasn’t compulsively writing or keeping some type of journal. Cleaning out my closet last year I realized I have kept a written log of my life since I was 7 years old. It’s impossible to believe I had so much to say, and that there continues to be even more yet to be said. Will I ever shut up? My mentor is high school warned that I would spend my entire life talking myself out of situations my mouth got me into. Prophetic.

But why specifically a Catholic blog when I could write about anything – parenting, politics, dinners I burn, and plants I kill. I am a Catholic blogger because it keeps Catholicism near to me. Admittedly, there are days when the most pious thing I accomplish is this blog. I fight daily to keep my faith fresh and not fall into complacency. Yes, it is a daily struggle. A determined act of will. While being Catholic feels as natural to me as breathing it’s that same naturalness that endangers me to take it all for granted.

Gone is the Convert High, the years of being deeply entrenched in theological study, and spending my evenings talking about the Church with fellow converts. My days are not spent at adoration and daily mass. I am not an expert or a theologian and I don’t want to misrepresent myself as some kind of professional Papist. I am just a lay person trying very very very hard to keep Catholicism as close to me as humanly possible when my everyday life seems so very far the Church. So I write about Catholicism. I read about Catholicism. And I write some more. Because as long as I write Catholicism will never be far from me.

They never talked about this struggle when I was converting. I just believed my faith would become an effortless part of my daily life, like brushing my teeth. No, that doesn’t sound right. That makes it sound like a chore. But to say that some days being Catholic feels like a major chore wouldn’t be an exaggeration either.

Some times it’s actually a major pain in the ass. Like when I want to do something really bad and know I shouldn’t. Then I sit there and think how what I want to do would sound coming out of my mouth and into the ears of my confessor. How once I make up my mind to do a very bad thing I separate myself from God and I think “Damn, if I wasn’t Catholic this wouldn’t even be an issue”.

So instead of being bad I write.

Then there are times when I forget to pray or my prayer sounds as flat as mud splattering on pavement. Some days I have as much enthusiasm for prayer and devotion as I have for doing yard work, which is to say absolutely none. Forget ora et labora when most days are so crazy I forget to eat.

So instead of forgetting or not praying I write.

And yes, sometimes I even have to force myself to do that much. When I feel like a nominal Catholic I write. When I feel like a tired Catholic I write. When I feel like a lazy Catholic I write. Even when God feels so very far away I write.

This blog, my writing, is one great tremendous effort to stay as humanly and spiritually close to God and my faith as possible. Some days I accomplish that better than others. Some days the words flow as effortlessly as reciting the rosary. Whatever it is, it is most certainly a determined act of will.

Alfred Stevens, The Letter

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • Lovedsinner

    Love that picture!

  • Sherry

    Me too!

  • lethargic

    Aw, Kat … hugs to you … I feel so very like what you’re saying.  Some days, only Pascal keeps me choosing to believe, but that gets me through to the next day.  The alternative would be so very much worse.  Some days it’s a lot better.  Christ promised us trouble in this world … thanks so much Lord … but keep on truckin’.  Love your sense of humor.

  • Lisa Graas

    Take it from me, a parent, political pundit, dinner burner and plant killer, you’re doing fine. Don’t beat up on yourself. God makes all kinds of Catholics and you’re doing the Catholicism thing pretty well. I know this stuff ‘cuz I’m also a professional Papist. ;-)

    • Lisa Graas

       Was that a helpful thing to say? Let me know, if not. I have other things. I talk a lot, too. Are you sure you’re not me?

    • gigi4747

      “God makes all kinds of Catholics”

      Right? Someone said re: the Catholic Church: “Here comes everybody.” : )

  • Michael

    On my bad days I remember that “God didn’t promise you a rose garden, but Gethsemane is available.” Then this une starts playing in my head:

    • Linda J

      oooooohhhhh, thanks SO MUCH for putting that song in my head :D

  • Kathy Brents

    And we are so much the luckier that you share it all with us, Kat!  Hang in there, girl!

  • doughboy

    love this post, kat.  i think you’re doing a tremendous job being faithful and falling and getting up again and that’s what it’s about.  i don’t feel so alone when i read your blog and hear your ‘voice’ and sense your struggles because in the end, i leave knowing you’re going to be alright. and so am i. all in the family and we’re in it together, eh?

  • Mamamayerle

    Love this post! The daily struggle of being a faithful Catholic could not have been better put. I often wonder why I thought once I converted everything about faith would be easy. Thank you. It’s comforting to know we all struggle with it, but then it’s the successful struggle and complete abandonment to Grace that get us to the end of the race.

  • tj.nelson

    I like you. 

    • Katrina Fernandez

      Do you? Because judging from some of your posts it would appear you’re just having a laugh. 

  • Linda J

    “Damn, if I wasn’t Catholic this wouldn’t even be an issue.”  But it would, still….they just don’t know it!

    • kenneth

      Oh, believe me, there’s no escaping these issues in any other faith or spiritual path where you’re making a conscious effort to grapple with the ultimate (and mundane) questions of existence. One of the things I tell fellow pagans, especially converts, is that it ain’t all sweetness and light and that a spiritual journey is not about the end of your problems, but the beginning of them. I’ve often said that Goddess sometimes speaks to me with the gentleness of a mother’s whisper. Sometimes, however, Her message is as subtle as a skinhead’s steel-toed Doc Marten upside the jaw! Sometimes I too limp through the motions of rituals in an uninspired way, or fail to attend to it at all.
          One other thought gives me hope many days: In the scheme of things, we don’t do all that badly. As a species, we’re just bright enough to realize our own mortality and our true predicament, and for all that, most days we still manage to get out of bed and pull off a decent day’s work, if not always an outstanding one. Most life forms, if they knew what we know, would probably just lie down and wait for the end. 

  • Kimlcarroll

    I like you, Kat.  this post: i luv you…

  • Michael

    I don’t know that being Catholic is an effort for me; but not sinning is.  I feel just as Catholic when I sin or when I’m in full communion.  I just feel the broken communion.  I remember on several occasions being in a place or with people doing something my guardian angel would not approve of, and someone says something about the faith, and the first thing I do is defend the church.  I’m wierd, I guess…

  • robertgwirth

    Love that picture, but love your essay more!
    The paragraph I like the best is the one that starts “Some times it’s actually a mjor pain in the ass.”
    I can relate to that: just Wednesday I fell heels over head madly-in-orbit in love with a dear lady I’ve been friends with for over 50 years.  Of course it’s obvious what would be great fun but really bad.  So I warned her about me.  That will help.

  • Andy S

    Keep up the great writing. My wife and I are checking in everyday. We even read the Crappity, Crap, Crap post again because we needed our Crescat fix.

  • Gina101

    We all go through these dry spells.  Usually tragedies jar us back into a prayer life, as happened to me and my family recently.  I haven’t missed a Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet since.

    And since you love writing (and I love your writing), perhaps you should use your writing gift to pray.  Praying is just a way of talking to our Lord, so why not write out prayers to our Lord aside from posting on your blog.  Or write out the Hail Mary and Our Father slowly as you think about what the words mean.  You’d still be communicating with Him in a way sometimes better suited for you during these dry spells.

    Meanwhile, thanks for your great blog.  :)

  • 12star


  • Fuquay Steve

    Maybe it’s the poison ivy.

  • Paige

    I’m just glad you write. I like that you are up front and honest about how hard it can be. I’m no convert, but a revert, and lately I am feeling the “pain” of how hard it really can be on a day-to-day basis. I write too, but so often it just sits in a word document. I guess it’s better than sitting in my brain. Please keep it up.

  • Smaghsoodloo

    I thought the baptists made me feel guilty, which is how I was raised. But I’ve discovered it was that still, small voice trying to keep me from sinning. Catholicism study helped explain, I too want very much to be good, live a morally righteous life, and or but it is a huge struggle. Day by day and sometimes by the hour, we struggle. But think of the day we see Jesus! I too think of having to tell my confessor about something I did and that makes me reconsider as well. Most of all, I don’t want to live a life of regrets any longer. I love God much, I do it for him.

  • Jeromeleo

    A wonderful post, so honest, thanks! Jesus told St. Daustina that we are judged on our efforts, not results. And your efforts sound just fine! God bless you and your strong will to be Catholic.

  • Jeromeleo

    Typo, make that St. Faustina

  • Ahmad53238

    I can relate to a lot of this as a Muslim. So much of it is a matter of degree, not direction.

  • Lizzy Hunt

    I have been pondering writing a blog for some time now, about being a middle-aged Catholic, full-time student, mom, grandma, wife, etc.  I love that you are so honest.  Being a faithful Catholic is not easy.  Back in 2000 I went on a journey that took me about as far from my faith as one can get.  I came back home six years ago.  Guess what…I keep fallin’ off the wagon!  You would think that I would find my renewed faith easy to maintain, but I don’t.  Thanks for the honesty, I will follow your blog with great relish!


  • Thomas4656

    Being raised in brooklyn in a very irish catholic family it was certainly a struggle as i got older to stay the course. At the age of 55 and 30 yrs in law enforcement where i did become a ” bit cynical ” i am slowly working my way back. Thank you for writing this , it gives me faith that all is not lost.

  • Jessica

    This is exactly what I’ve been feeling lately, and it’s immensely helpful to know I’m not alone. I’ve been reading and drawing closer to the Catholic Church for a year, and lately just felt burnt out. (At EASTER…. really?!) It made me think maybe I wasn’t cut out for the Church, but now I realize I just need to stay the course even if it’s not as exciting as it was.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  • Stephen M Tefft

    At the risk of being perceived as a sneaky self-promoter, I wrote a bit on this myself and I offer anyone interested a song here:

    Hankg in there. You’re never alone…

  • Clinkshrink

    A month ago I went to the chapel at my son’s Catholic highschool to attend Eucharistic Adoration. The presence of God was so strong, I wanted to prostrate myself before the Blessed Sacrament, as tears came to my eyes.

    Last night I attended Eucharistic Adoration at my parish. God didn’t seem to be there at all, and  I could just as well have been farting or belching at my local bar,  after knocking down a cold one.

    Here’s the point: When I don’t feel He’s there, He’s there. I’m the one who’s not there.

    Never, never, never give up, even when you feel like it. He’s there.

  • Brbr_kent

    I prayed for you after reading this…. Not in the “Oh do YOU need the prayers of a holy person like me!” kind of way, but the “Lord I know what she means, help her, and help me” kind of way. 

    Take care.

  • Les

    There were many, many times i was a lukewarm Catholic, after having converted from being no religion at all. After several years of struggling to be better at what i am called to do by the Church, attendance, Confession, Eucharist, the usual suspects… eventually i came to realize that Obedience, far from making yourself a mindless drone, is liberating in some hidden way. When i quit “kicking against the goads” , i came to realize that Christ wasn’t really looking forward to all the pain He had to endure, but He was Obedient  because He loved us more than He feared what was going to happen to His body. “thy Will be done” is relevent in the small things as much as the big things, and it only took me 36 years as a Catholic to finally “get it” in that respect. since then, it has been a much more spiritual journey, and a more loving journey. In some ways, i am finally prepared to do what He intends me to do, and rather being an old Catholic with a lot of time invested, i am now a new Catholic reborn in the Spirit… does that make sense?

  • Laura

    It shouldn’t be so hard… I’m going through a major faith crisis, Church hasn’t been able to give me any confort, every priest says a different thing, including some very insensitive things. I feel completely alone and without any guidance