I grew up in a traditionally Catholic country. The weird thing though was that my parents weren’t religious. So I grew up with, on the one hand, Catholic guilt installed deep in my guts and pelvis, while intellectually I wasn’t a believer. God for me wasn’t a given, nor was Mary.
I recently found out that my mom decided that my sister and I were going to go to church because she was rebelling against the socialist regime that for years has been squelching the freedom to go to church. My mom observed her grandma, a devout Catholic who suffered from this regime, and she wanted to honor the tradition that her grandma so loved. While for years, I lamented my fate of having had the Catholic dogma instilled within me at an early age, when I found this out I was like: Go Mom!
I admire my mom’s rebellious side. This is, obviously, something we share. She rebelled by saying YES to the Church for her kids, while I rebelled by saying NO!
It took me decades to heal my relationship with the Catholic religion enough to even enter a church. It is not my path to become a Catholic, but I cannot deny its seeds within me (for better or worse). The more I let go of what bothered me for so long, the more I feel Mary’s love and grace through the Catholic religion as well. And, to me, this is the biggest GIFT!
How To Know if This is for You
I am aware that there are others who have a similar challenge either ahead, behind, or are in the middle of it. While challenging, all of it really is an amazing opportunity to grow towards more love in one’s heart and life. So, for all of you in this or a similar boat, I want to share some of what I’ve learned through my journey.
This may be useful to anyone, but it can be particularly useful if:
- you’ve grown up Catholic (to whichever degree)
- feel bothered by the Catholic dogma (to whichever degree) AND
- want to do something about it.
If you are sort of at the beginning of this journey, you may feel repulsed by the Catholic religion, not wanting to do anything with it. That is completely normal and fine. Or you may feel drawn to Mary, God, Jesus, Angels but feel torn between what feels right to you and what the Catholic dogma is telling you to believe. You want to please Mary and God and a part of you feels you do this by following the dogma and that you don’t please them when you don’t follow the dogma.
10 Things You Can Do about Your Catholic Guilt
1. Have compassion for yourself
This is a practice so here are some tips on how you can nurture compassion for yourself:
- spend time with yourself (e.g. journaling, touching your body, breathing gently)
- treat yourself the way you treat a loved one
- practice seeing yourself through the eyes of a compassionate observer
- practice cheering yourself and giving yourself praise
2. Know that you didn’t do anything wrong
Catholic guilt, the original sin, etc. are not your guilt or your sin. They are a part of the dogma.
3. Educate yourself about how the dogma came into being
We don’t know exactly what happened 2000 years ago! What we “know” is what has been written long after Jesus’s and Mary’s lives on Earth. In addition, these writings that today are considered Gospels and are part of the Canon Law have been translated, interpreted, changed, things have been omitted, lost, and what has been written has been written by men (who would have a different perspective on some things than women).
4. Know that you are loved unconditionally by God, Mary, Jesus, Angels
No matter what you choose to do and regardless how you feel towards the Catholic religion (or any religion) they love YOU! Think: Given the Love of the Christ, what makes more sense: An All Loving God or a God that judges and punishes you? Isn’t the latter much more like a human who hasn’t learned to love yet and whose patriarchal power has been made into a superpower than like God? What use would God have in punishing you? God isn’t vindictive, God is loving.
5. If you can, work towards seeing the good Catholic religion brings to many people
We often focus on the bad that it makes very hard to see the good. And there is good there for sure; many people have derived much good from religious practices of the Catholic religion. Mary and Jesus’ energies do come through many churches and sacred objects and we can feel their presence, their love, and their grace through them. Many people do feel this and it has been a saving grace for them. As you work towards seeing the good others derive from it, eventually, if you so wish, you will be able to see the good it brought you too.
6. If you feel drawn to Mary, Jesus, Angels let yourself be drawn
Feel the sweet longing for them and enjoy this! Also, know that you can take that which feels good to you from the Catholic (or any) religion and let go of the rest. Mary and God don’t judge you, they want to help you. You are free to have your own relationship with them in a way that nurtures and supports YOU!
7. Feel your love for Mary in your heart
If you feel longing, feel longing. It is a way deeper into your heart, deeper into feeling Her love. It isn’t easy to feel, but it is worth it.
Let into the sweetness of your love for Mary. It is there! And Mary is there guiding you Home.
8. Ask Mary to help you
Ask Mary to help you feel Her love. Talk to Her like She is right there with you because She is. Tell Her what bothers you, ask for Her help. Know She loves you unconditionally and beyond the human mind’s comprehension. Cry if you feel the need, let go, let into Her love, Her embrace…
9. Observe your feelings and sensations
How do you feel when you see Mary’s picture/sculpture? When you hear a song devoted to Her? When you think of a rosary? When you think of the Hail Mary prayer?
Observe and journal about it. See if you can let yourself be all right just the way you are right now.
Feel into what bothers you exactly? Feeling unworthy, like a lower form, like a sinner? Your sexuality? Your desire for pleasure and joy in life? Feeling things in opposition to what the dogma is telling you is the truth?
10. Consider working with someone to let go of what no longer serves you
Do this for you. So you can feel FREE. Free to be WHO YOU ARE. Free to feel Mary’s love. FREE to enjoy life, your body, your everything…
If you so choose you can on work on all of this with Mary through me and with me as me. Look through my website and what I offer, join an event, subscribe to receive Mother Mary’s messages, updates and offers directly to your email, and – and I highly recommend this for this particular issue – schedule your free chat with me to see how I may best serve you on your path!
With Love and Respect,