Some Catholics become alienated from the Church at times in their lives. This separation can occur for various reasons. As children, most go along with what parents teach, but with maturity begin thinking for themselves, and some people are unable to accept some of the teachings of the Church.
This process of questioning can actually be healthy.
One should not force oneself to adhere to a particular faith if there are unresolved doubts lingering in one’s mind. That said, a rejection of one of the Church’s teachings is not to be done lightly. One must continue to research and pray about the issue so that one’s judgment can be as informed and mature as possible. The Church is a formidable force, with centuries of scholarship and philosophy on its side.
Some might even say that the Catholic Church has God on its side.
So, one way to renew your faith is to let your unresolved doubts come to the surface and study the issue you are questioning. One might then find that one’s doubts are illegitimate and one’s faith might in this way be renewed. Oddly enough, people who go to college, according to an online article produced by Gospel Voices, actually end up with a stronger faith. An encounter with atheism can, instead of turning one away from the faith, actually bring one closer to it by making one aware of the weaknesses in atheism.
But, some people are not so driven by ideas.
They grow cold in their faith because of the attraction of sin. About thirty to sixty percent of married individuals in America will commit adultery, and the number is probably higher because some instances of adultery, for obvious reasons, never come to light. Half of all marriages end in divorce. Of course, the Catholic Church forbids divorce. If one is caught up in sin, it becomes very hard to continue to go to Church. One will experience a cognitive dissonance between one’s faith and one’s lifestyle, and eventually one will have to choose between the two. Cognitive dissonance is a term psychologists use to describe feelings of discomfort when one holds two conflicting beliefs. How is one to make sure that one chooses the Church instead of sin?
The horrible power of sin lies in the fact that it offers pleasure at first, but in the end, it can ruin one’s life. In order to avoid being overpowered by the pleasure sin provides, you need to maintain perspective. You can never let yourself be ruled by your appetites, but must always be guided by your judgment.
When you drink alcohol, for instance, you need to refrain from drinking too much, in spite of the pleasure involved in drinking, and this discipline stems from one’s judgment. It is a sad part of the human condition that what you crave often harms you, whereas what is good for you – discipline, hard work and duty – often is unpleasant. This problem is known as concupiscence. This word refers to a strong desire or appetite and it often carries the suggestion that these desires are for that which is harmful.
The task of self-discipline necessary to overcome concupiscence may seem daunting, and that is because no human being can win this battle. What is needed is God’s power, and one can invoke this power through prayer. With prayer, the attraction of sin will lessen, and displeasure associated with work and fulfilling one’s obligations will lessen. One’s conscience will become more sensitive. God’s grace will resuscitate the faculties of one’s soul through prayer, and one will begin to see clearly the evil in sin and not be as deceived by the pleasure sin provides.