Earlier this year, Beliefnet member "obvious_ron" expressed a lack of enthusiasm for his Catholic faith on the discussion boards. In a moment of "spiritual turmoil," he wrote the following note:

What Would You Do?

What do you think Beliefnet member obvious_ron should do?

Share your suggestions and advice.

"I am one who has probably hit the lowest point in his spiritual life thus far. I'm a 23-year-old, baptized, and confirmed Catholic. I've had 12.5 years of Catholic schooling. I was even a college seminarian, studying for my home diocese. I have since then slipped to a place where I now rarely attend Mass, if at all. During the most recent times that I attended Mass, I seemed to get no spiritual fulfillment whatsoever. I have questioned what I believe and whether or not Catholicism is where I should be. Also, realizing that I was born and raised a Catholic and even thought of being a priest, I wonder if any of that was a pure and true personal choice or if it was a choice due to external, parental, familial, and ecclesiological influence.

I'm seeking any advice or suggestions you might have that could help me resolve this spiritual turmoil that I'm experiencing."

--obvious_ron Members responded to Ron right away with suggestions and words of support:

"You are not alone"
"Perhaps you will feel better to know you are not alone. Perhaps your season for feeling 'spiritual' every time you are in Church is over. I've never met a person that didn't lapse (and I don't think it is always the person's fault, such as the case with you), only those that won't admit it. Maybe you are being called to something higher that you never thought of, like some type of charitable cause. I've always found that to be more inspiring than anything else I can think of. You get to serve God, help others, and get away from religious trivials for a while. Stick around."

-nowhere "Questioning is healthy"
"I believe that it is healthy and perhaps even necessary to have periods of questioning, so long as you leave yourself open to returning to the Church. I have found that after each period of questioning, my faith has matured and been deeper than before."


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Post your advice or words of encouragement

"Questioning is healthy--when many emerge from the other side they find that their faith is so much stronger and more mature. Blind faith leads to a path of fanaticism and I don't think I have to point out an example on why that is bad. The trick here is to mature your faith thru the ups and downs without getting caught in a ditch."

--jenniferlana "I am guessing that maybe this spiritual crisis you are going through is a good thing for you. Perhaps it will bring you to a more mature faith. It scares me to think that I could become too complacent with any of this and just accept it all without a doubt. It seems to me that there are more questions than there are answers, but that is not a reason to leave. The questioning and seeking, to me, is what keeps it alive."

--seattlegirl What should Ron do?
"Perhaps it would help you to find a small group of people you could have discussions with about faith and issues in the church. Or perhaps there is some important 'ministry' waiting for you, but you just haven't found it yet. God knows there are a lot of people who need help in this world. Maybe you should try to approach this less as a spiritual crisis and more as a 'pragmatic, get out there and do something real in the world that reflects gospel values.'"

--seattlegirl "Go on a retreat. Before I stepped foot back into a church, I went on retreats. The retreat center doesn't care if you attended mass or not, that's not the point. A retreat helps a person reconnect within his or her own center, the place where God would really like to talk to you. There is also spiritual direction too. Basically you find someone to walk with you on this journey. Doubt is part of the journey and it takes time to work things out."

--sharonrose "Faith is like love"
"I've come to accept, though, that my faith is like love. Whenever you first find someone, there is a lot of excitement, and the whole world is on your side. While this can last for several years, eventually the excitement and newness wears off. I think this is where many married couples decide to call it quits. What they don't understand is that the love is still there; it just feels a little different than it did at first. I think the same is true with faith. You just have to keep pressing on with this marriage like you would with a marriage to another person. It's a relationship, and all relationships need work, regardless of how you feel about them."


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