The Precepts of the Lord Give Joy to the Heart


Sometimes I find that a hard statement to believe.

Not all of God’s precepts give me joy. That shouldn’t be surprising as I am not a person who is prone to joy in the first place. I have my moments, like at the top of a roller coaster, or the sight of an alligator, or the moment I leave the city limits of Bismarck, but in general I am not a joyous person to begin with.

But there are some precepts that I am just not fond of, even though I understand why they exist. It’s not really that I don’t like the precepts, but that obedience to them, if I even can claim obedience to them, requires a lot of additional suffering on my part. I like sitting in my own suffering as much as the next person, but I wouldn’t say that I find joy in it. Mother Theresa found joy in her suffering. I find prideful self-victimization in mine.

Anyway, I had a difficult time praying this antiphon during the responsorial psalm at Mass this morning. In fact I’ve been having a hard time praying anything at anytime. Period. I see my faith really being tested. I find myself questioning everything. I can’t help but to wonder if I converted from Protestantism to Catholicism too quickly. I can’t help but wonder if I even invited Jesus into my heart too hurriedly back in 2007. I wonder if it is even possible to know so specifically the details of true religion. I wonder if the world might know just as much about reality as any religion claims. I wonder if I give up the Catholic definition of holiness for the pleasures of the world if I really will end up being punished. I wonder if I might make it to the end and God will be pleased with my sacrifice but tell me that I could have ventured out further without the fear of falling into sin.

Right now I doubt. I’m waiting for my “put your finger in my side” moment. I am waiting to see if I exit this period of doubt as a Catholic, or if I slowly just drift into modernism. I am looking for someone or something to just give me that perfect answer that expels all doubt. But I know that faith will never be that easy. I fear that I will doubt for the rest of my life.

If the precepts of the Lord give to joy to the heart, why am I the way I am?