Thursday, February 9

Why I'm Afraid I'll Make a Bad Catholic

I'm finding that I'm struggling over a few things that, could I master them, would definitely make me a "good Catholic."


I'm horrid with memorization. That's why I was bad in 11th Grade English, and why foreign languages are so hard for me. I still don't have the Apostle's Creed memorized. Heck, there are still parts of Mass that I cheat and look at my Magnificat to get the words. (The "Gloria" comes to mind.) I have this growing collection of prayer cards that I use to remember some of the most basic prayers. I want to go to Sacred Heart this weekend and get a handful of them and set them on my nightstand. For me, having the Holy Cards are comforting because that means that I don't have to memorize, I can just read. Plus I like the pictures.


I'm finding that the more involved I get in church, the more politics are involved. I've heard some quite interesting information about a few things going on "behind the scenes" at the churches I go to. On the one hand, I really like to feel like I'm in the loop, but on the other hand, I would kind of like to pretend that everything is super perfect for just a while longer before the curtain gets pulled back.


I've been trying to really get a grasp of this concept all week. I can understand offering some things to the Lord, but it's hard for me to grasp the Opus Dei type mentality, "I'm offering up this scooping the litter box for you, Lord, in recognition of your suffering on the cross. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this smelly and annoying task!" I'm trying, I really am. I need to pray and think about it more, I think.


I keep forgetting to bless my food before I eat it. If nothing else, I need to get a Holy Card with the "after food" prayer so I can learn that one, so at least I give thanks even if I forget to do it until after I've eaten.


This is kind of along the same lines as the problem above. I try to say the Angelus at Noon and take a pause in my day at 3p to do a decade of Divine Mercy prayers (For the sake of His sorrowful passion, etc). Except I never remember until 12:40p, after lunch, or 3:45p. I want to do these things, they keep me grounded during the day and make me remember to keep Christ in my thoughts.

I don't know. I'm sure I'll get it all eventually. Maybe I'll retire to bed early this evening and say a nice, long personal prayer and just lay it all out for God. Maybe I just need to practice praying personal prayer tonight. That should help.


At 5:36 AM, Blogger EHa said...

Dear Cynthia,
please don't worry about being a good Catholic! I think you already know more than many average "cradle Catholics". I was baptized when I was one month old, and I consider myself a believing Catholic. Still, I sometimes forget to pray before lunch, I do not always pray the Angelus (and actually never heard of the Divine Mercy Prayers until now). St. Theresa of Avila said "God alone is enough". There is no obligation to do every prayer; though it is highly recommendable. But please do not feel bad because you are not perfect. I tell you something: even the Pope isn't!

At 7:51 AM, Blogger Julie D. said...

Hopefully this was written tongue in cheek and you know that none of those things are needed to make you a "good Catholic."

Certainly I wasn't aware of the need for a single one when I converted. I just knew I had that ache in my chest when people went for communion and knew I had to "get me some of that." (If we'll all pardon me quoting from Regarding Henry when speaking of the Eucharist. :-D)

Don't worry about a bit of it ... none is necessary. Just c'mon home. :-)

At 8:18 AM, Blogger C S said...

If having a solid memory were a requirement for being Catholic, there would be many fewer cannonized saints. Why do you think most Churches have missalettes with the days' readings as well as the creed and the prayers? Because a)people never bother learning them and b) people often forget them.

I also think it's important that God isn't sitting up there with a watch, timing your prayers. It's perfectly fine if you don't get to the Angelus until 12:40 or even 2:05, the same with the Divine Mercy. It's the intent behind the loving action that counts rather than the punctuality of it.

God has called you Home to the Catholic Church. He will shower down all the necessary graces you need. You're not perfect, but then again, only God is.

At 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fortunately, there is no time in heaven! 3:45 is the same as 3:00 to God. God hears our hearts and never looks at his watch. :o) If not, this cradle Catholic would be in so much trouble!

Offer it up: We are offering up, or sacrificing, the comfort we lack when we do these yucky things, not the actually yucky thing itself.

Linda (celticcherokee)

At 3:47 PM, Anonymous "omis" said...

Don't worry about memorization. Buy a missal, and read all the prayers if you need to.

As for blessing food, I've never got that either, and I was raised Catholic. I try to remember instead to pray for those without food, and for God's blessing on those who produced the food I'm eating.

While the Hours are good, most Catholics don't do them, well, "religiously." Some not at all. If you find them enriching for your spirit, continue to develop the discipline to say these "prayers said at a certain time."

Have you ever seen "Sacred Space?" It's a daily online prayer produced by the Jesuits in Ireland. Many people who can't get into the practice of praying other standard prayers have found this nourishing.


At 6:04 PM, Blogger Sean said...


Is good to the extent it allows you to say some formulaic prayers when you don't have access to your prayer book. Remember, though, that prayer is just a conversation with God. Prayer has to be genuine, not fancy. As for the Apostle's Creed, that will come. It is a summary of the Catholic faith.

Oh, and watch some priests during Mass, many of them have to at least refer to the Missal during the Apostle's Creed, so don't feel bad.


Unfortunately the Church consists of human beings with all their faults and limitations. Try to remember that Christ promised that not even the gates of hell would prevail against His Church.

"Giving it up"

Think of it this way: do every task before you, even the most menial, to the absolute best of your ability, without griping or complaining, and do it that way because you want to honor God. That's "giving it up". You don't have to say, aloud or mentally, "I'm giving this task up for you Lord, for your Glory", just do it that way. If you have to remind yourself why you're doing it that way, remind yourself. Another way to look at it: when you do something for your husband just because you love him, you don't grumble because the task is dirty, smelly, not fun, or extremely difficult - because you don't care, you're doing just for love.

Blessing Food

Don't bless the food. Just give thanks to God for providing it. I know, He didn't serve it, but it is through His grace that you have it. You won't always remember to thank God for the gifts He provides, and that's okay.

Prayers at a Certain Time

I agree with the comments above, don't sweat this. So you're a little off in your timing. No big deal.

Just try do everything with love in your heart for God. And try not to beat yourself up for not being perfect. If you were, you wouldn't need Christ.

At 3:15 PM, Blogger Jeremy said...

I'm going through and reading your blog from the beginning and thought I would comment on this post.

A suggestion if you really would like to say prayers at a certain time. If you work at a computer with Windows, you can set a task to run some kind of reminder at the specified time. A good way for the Divine Mercy Chaplet is to set it up to open Virtual Rosary at 3:00 every weekday.


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