As I was rolling around on my way back to the Church, grasping at straws for a more "palatable" faith, I was struck by some pretty major differences between us Catholics and other Christians.
I dated a man for a while who considered himself quite a "spiritual" fellow. Every morning he read from a book of daily something-or-other. Affirmations? (delusions?) The book was supposedly "Christian," but was all about the theology of plenty of money and a life with no illness or pain. We took a camping trip once and he shared this morning ritual with me. I was appalled. I grilled him about it. HOW do you know that God wants you to have tons of money? HOW do you know that God is interested in providing you with good health every day? Maybe God wants you to suffer! Maybe illness or poverty would provide you with the greatest good!
I might not have made it back to the fold by then, but clearly, I was thinking like a Catholic. I don't know how one can erase that part of a soul or mind. I never managed.
The way I "feel" is not an accurate gauge of my spiritual condition. Some of my "happiest" times in life have been when I have been immersed in sin.
It is not easy to live your entire life in an effort to please God. The Ten Commandments are difficult to obey. I am not complaining, but I am stating what I think is the obvious. This is NOT the easy way. This way does not lead to everything going my way and no more unhappiness ever darkening my door.
I have to guard against shallow emotional prayer and worship. I can get goosebumps when I listen to a song from my drunken youth. That is not the kind of reverence I need to bring to my maker. I go to mass, not to feel good, but to worship God. It is not about me - it is about God.
This is the real deal. Pain, suffering, and all. And I wouldn't have it any other way.