I wrote the following in response to a “What would you say?” question from Sherry Weddell, who shared in a private forum the comments she’d received from a discouraged-but-faithful Catholic. The details hardly matter. We all know the territory. Here’s my answer, and couple follow-on comments come after.
Dear Friend in the Field,
You’re absolutely right. Catholics are horrible and evangelization can drive you mad. It’s pretty common for people who are serious about the faith to go through periods of discouragement, and what you’re seeing is what a lot of us are seeing. You’re not alone.
The fact that you care is a very, very good sign. Take a deep breath, go pray before the Blessed Sacrament, and ask our Lord to give you one thing to do today that is His will for your life.
When things are crappy, and they often are, sometimes the best you can do is just turn up and do the will of God. That’s what our Lord did, and it was sometimes a pretty nasty experience. It’s okay though, because the miserable part isn’t the end of the story, is it?
Meanwhile, hold onto this thought: The Church is not a safe place. The Church is literally the front lines in the battle between eternal good and absolute evil. It’s going to look, feel, sound, and reek like a battlefield. If everything is always quiet on the front, you probably aren’t on the front.
The war isn’t just for those souls “out there” but for the souls right next to you in the pews. Anything at all the enemy can do to weaken the troops, sow chaos, or capture the valiant, the enemy is going to do. So do what you can to protect, aid, and rescue your fellow soldiers in Christ when you see them falling into the enemy’s traps.
Thank you so much for being willing to fight the good fight. You aren’t in this alone, you don’t have to do it all of your own power, and you’re on the winning side. Stick it out.
With gratitude for your sacrifices,
Your Fellow Worker.
The two thoughts I’d like to add:
- You can’t give up hope even when it is you yourself who are having a turn being the horrible Catholic.
- It doesn’t matter what any survey says. Whether our culture 99.9% Catholic or .00009%, our mission is utterly unchanged.
Preach the good news, make disciples. When you die you can rest for a bit.
Artwork: Andrea Mantegna [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons