God and I have had some issues over the years. We’ve had a bit of a falling out, because of certain events in my life. But I was raised Catholic. Not a strict Catholic, but Catholic all the same.
I attended Catholic School from kindergarten to 8th grade. I wore a uniform every day, was not allowed to wear makeup or to paint my nails, and we were fed some interesting information about birth control. We went to church every single Friday at the beginning of the day and were shamed if we did not also attend on Sunday. Despite this, I appreciate the education that Catholic school gave me, because I learned how to study and to apply myself before getting into high school and college. I learned how to think critically at a young age and how to hold myself accountable for the information I was expected to know and remember.
The only part of graduating from 8th grade that I did not enjoy was confirmation.
Confirmation, in the Catholic church, involves the study of the religion, the careful study of a particular saint, and then a ceremony where you have a sponsor and other family members present. It is when you go up to God and say that you choose to be Catholic and say that this religion is the one that you want. You also choose a saint and attach that saint’s name to your own name for the ceremony. I chose Adelaide because it was my grandmother’s name but honestly, I could not tell you what she did that earned her sainthood.
The thing is, I am not so sure that I was correctly informed or given enough choices in this matter. I was 13-years-old and it was expected of everyone in the class to be confirmed before their graduation. I am sure that there were ways that people could avoid this or get out of it or whatever, but I did not hear about those options nor did I seek them out. But now that I am a 21-year-old woman who understands more about the world and its negative aspects, I think that Catholic School was not completely truthful with me.
They did not provide me with the resources that I would need for my future, save for attending weekly mass. I was not taught how I should attempt to come back to God if I fall away from Him. I was not taught how to truly deal with hardship in ways other than just praying for it to go away or just trying to accept that “God works in mysterious ways.” They did not tell me that real life would be hard and that God would seem farther and farther away from me, every year that I continued my education after 8th grade.
So now, I think I consider myself a lapsed Catholic. Lapsed literally means “no longer valid, or expired,” which I believe is completely accurate for my situation. The Catholic faith could not explain to me why God gave my father a horrible mental disease that ended up pulling my family apart, but I went through school and tried to understand. It is when I was in high school that God and I took another turn. Why did God let twenty first graders be killed right down the road from my high school?
By this point, I was disappointed with God, but I still trusted Him. It was in college, when God took my father away from me, that I really couldn’t take it anymore. Why are You doing this? Catholic school gave me no true resources for my personal life in order to deal with my own problems and the issues that continuously came up in my life.
My question is that, because I am a confirmed Catholic, is it even possible for me to become lapsed? I went in front of God and my neighbors and stated that yes, I choose to be Catholic for the rest of my life. This was a ritual that I was expected to complete, but I didn’t exactly protest against it at the time.
But what happens when God leaves you to your own devices and seems like He’s not there anymore? What am I supposed to do, as a confirmed Catholic, about my lapsed faith?