What To Do When You’re Struggling With Catholicism

What To Do When You’re Struggling With Catholicism June 16, 2015

Pete Socks, the Catholic Book Blogger, is running a giveaway for my book, Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers that Even I Can Offer, and I’ve stopped by chez lui to answer some questions about the book and my prayer life.  Here’s a preview:

PETE: For those struggling with the Catholic faith what advice can you offer as a convert?

LEAH LIBRESCO:  It depends a little on the nature of the struggle.  If you’re making your mind up about the Catholic faith, I can give you the advice that Eve Tushnet (author of the splendid Gay and Catholic) gave to me: try to seek out both the things that really attract you and the bits that really repel you – that’s where you have the most to learn.

I’d add that, while you’re in a period of decision making/discernment, don’t be afraid to go slowly on actually making up your mind.  Cultivate that Tushnet brio, engaging deeply with whatever confuses you, but feel free to give yourself time to come to a conclusion.  Decisions should be made from a place of consolation, and don’t be shy about doing what you need to get there (taking a retreat, sleeping on a more reasonable schedule, asking friends to think things through with you, etc).

If you already are Catholic and pretty settled that way, but you’re having trouble being Catholic/praying/etc on a day to day basis, I’d say: don’t be embarrassed about making things easy on yourself!  It’s more important to find a baby step you can take than to wait around until you can do a big, more impressive thing.

I was really intimidated by lectio divina, the prayerful reading of the Bible, and I kept not doing it because I didn’t want to be bad at it, so, naturally, I didn’t get any better.  I wound up just setting a 20 minute timer, promising myself I could stop after that, no matter what, and it gave me a little more courage to begin, since I wouldn’t need to worry about being stuck doing something hard indefinitely or constantly interrupting myself, wondering if I’d done enough.

You can check out the rest of our conversation on Pete’s blog.

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