If you hang out with a lot of people, chances are there’s a very big percentage of those people who are highly skeptical about religion. Don’t be surprised if some of them are even outright hostile to religion. Either they try to sidestep it, or they try to call you out. Don’t think that these things are to be avoided. Don’t think that these things are to be brushed under the rug and simply forgotten about.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that for you to get along with people in your life, you basically have to go along. In other words, if they spout all sorts of criticism about Christianity and Catholicism, in particular, don’t feel that you should just roll over and take it. Don’t take it lying down.
This doesn’t mean that you have to confront people. This doesn’t mean that all such talk has to degenerate into some sort of debate. It doesn’t have to take that form. You just have to know how to deal with the stress and pressure on your faith.
Understand that when people are antagonistic or sending your negative signals that this is actually an opportunity for you to personally and honestly make sense of your faith.
Are you the type of person who just simply takes instructions from your parents? Are you a Catholic precisely because your parents were Catholic and their parents before them?
If that’s the case, then maybe it’s time for you to actually dig into the different articles of faith of Catholicism and see if they make sense in your life. You can use the stress and pressure applied on you in your regular life as well as among some of your secular friends as inspiration to roll up your sleeves and jump in with both feet and dig deep regarding what Catholicism really means to you.
I’m not talking about what it means to your parents or your grandparents. I’m not talking about what it means to your neighborhood or people you’re trying to impress. I’m definitely not talking about for what Catholicism means to people who go to the same parish church as you.
I’m talking about you. What does it mean? What are the many different layers involved? What are the various aspects and facets of your personality are involved? Once you start asking these fundamental questions, then you can see whether you truly believe, or you just believe in belief.
Understand that even if you don’t believe right now, or it doesn’t seem to make sense at a deep personal level, it doesn’t mean that you have to leave it there. This is actually an opportunity. Think of it as a door opening. Instead of running past that door, take the invitation. Walk in. You’d be surprised as to what you will discover.
Catholicism is very rich. It’s very deep. It resonates in many different areas of the human personality and experience. Do yourself a big favor and look at our tradition with a brand-new set of eyes. God does have a plan for you, and this involves dealing with stress and pressure on your faith.