“Catholicism is hardly a “religion of feeling”. It concerns itself with questions of the truth, also with matters of life and the heart… When I look back…always in the foreground is the miserable inner state in which I found this unspeakable confusion… It was just a crisis long in coming. At the time it was for me like one who has a fear of drowning, but for a long time is sitting in a bright, warm room quite safe…only suddenly to have the image of the dark, cold, watery grave flash before her eyes. How could one not then feel a shiver and an eternal thankfulness for the strong arm that seized her and carried her along to a safe place?”
– St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
“Of course, everyone has doubts at times! Doubts which touch the faith, in a positive way, are a sign that we want to know better and more fully God, Jesus, and the mystery of his love for us.”
– Pope Francis
If you’ve ever had doubts about your Catholic faith, you’re not alone. Many of the saints had doubts and uncertainties at times, and yet none of them let those doubts destroy their faith. So how do you deal with doubts when they arise and how do you listen to them without letting them control you? Here are five steps for dealing with doubts, as featured in our book Online With Saints.
1. Have faith!
First, have faith! Or better put: trust that your doubts will eventually lead you somewhere. Even great saints like Edith Stein passed through a dark period of doubts in her life.
2. Ignore doubts when you’re down.
Second, check whether you are sad, depressed, or agitated. If so, wait a while until you are at peace again, and only then take your doubts seriously.
3. Read good Catholic authors.
Third, read and study the theme by reading good Catholic authors. Do not only focus on online forums where people may hold very bold and equally unfounded opinions.
4. Find a spiritual director.
Fourth, find a spiritual director who takes your doubts seriously and who can help you see beyond yourself. If there are obstacles between you and God, confess your sins.
5. Don’t stop praying.
Five, do not stop praying. Tell God about your doubts. Ask him to help you. If you wish, you can formulate your prayer thus: ‘If you are real….’ Also, ask others including the saints to pray for you.
This blog is extracted from Online With Saints, which offers a virtual encounter with hundreds of saints from all around the world and all paths of life, linking their inspirational stories to real-life modern questions and providing answers.
Find more helpful advice from the lives of the saints by ordering your copy of Online With Saints today.