I vary quite a bit in my faith. Waver is perhaps the better word. I waver over a period of years, and I waver over a period of hours. Yes, I’m a Catholic, but what does that really mean? Is it all worth it? Is it the one true religion? Yes, I have my weak times, where the stream of my faith slows to a trickle. No, I’ve never gave it up; I always have been a Catholic. But there was a time when I positively resented going to Mass on a weekly basis. Even during Confirmation preparation, I wasn’t quite sure, but how could I explain that to my parents? So I felt obligated to go right through, anyway.
Then there was the time I wanted to become a nun. I was quite sure; I had always felt joyful whenever I saw nuns in movies and in real life. I took this as a sign of my calling, and started researching convents. But now I realize I was only truly considering being a nun for another reason. It wasn’t pure faith that drove me, it was my stubborness. You see, my dad’s not exactly the most faithful person. He has his dry times too, I know. I thought it would drive him crazy if I entered a convent, because it wasn’t on his list of things for me to do in my life. To tell you the truth, it isn’t on my mom’s list, either.
Now, I think I’ve moderated. We’re human; we can’t maintian a certain level indefinitely, whether it be our weight or our faith. I know I could improve my knowledge of my faith. But no longer do I settle for agnosticism or zealotism. I’m content to be single, and if I do find that one man in my life, I’d be glad to marry him, work at our marriage, and have children. (I could write while being a stay-at-home mom!) That’s the kind of life I’d like to have.
What I’ve noticed though, when I climbed up from my less-than-stellar faith levels, the Devil seemed particularly strong. He attacked as I tried to be more open to God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. And when I started conquering my sins, he attacked me in my sleep, in my dreams. First it was a general feeling of unease, then he preyed on my insecurities…which I’m ashamed to say is…sex. But I began to overcome this, with the help of Heaven. These dreams recur only occasionally now, and I’m better equipped to counteract them.
Then Satan tried different tactics, and actually preyed upon me at night. As I would wait for sleep to overcome me, ferocious battles would be waged in my head…perhaps it was just imagination, but I increasingly felt despair, until it finally occured to me like a rap on the head from my guardian angel–I could pray! I would cry and pray for forgiveness, until finally these “panic attacks” went away. I would have a visual attack in my dream. I think it’s several posts back, but I posted this dream before, where I was saved by singing “Gentle Woman, Quiet Light”. I think I had similar dreams before then, when I would wake up, shaken. But after this dream I felt deep calm and woke up calm, not panicky.
Another tactic the devil likes to use is despair and a morass of self-pity. I mean, we’re all sinners right? God takes pity on us and saves us, and I firmly believe this is because He loves us. But how can we ever measure up to His standards? Wouldn’t it be easier not to try? This is the exact sort of thinking that makes Satan rejoice, for it will lead us only downward. If we don’t try to be perfect, might as well sin, because we’re all sinners, and there’s no way we can change that. Yes, we are sinners. But we do our best. And in God’s eyes, that is very good, and that’s why He forgives us…He will always forgive us, no matter how many times we sin.
I think I made a mortal sin, and this is causing me pain. I’m trying to rationalize it, that no, it’s not mortal, it’s only venial, but really, I’m not sure. I may be scrupulous, but it probably is mortal. But I’m really hoping that God will forgive me. I really hope He will. I’m sure He will, but this is the sort of self-doubt that drags us–me–down. We’re all in the same boat. Yes, sometimes we jump off, but I’m willing to help you back on if you want me to, if you’re willing to help me 🙂