I've struggled with anxiety for most of my life & the process of converting to Catholicism seems to be shaking me up a bit. I'm realizing that if Catholicism doesn't affect your heart, you aren't "doing" it right. If it doesn't challenge you daily to your core, you're missing something. And its not Catholicism itself that rends one little by little from the weight of the flesh, but the Spirit behind it... none other than the Spirit of Christ. Catholic Christianity is something experienced, not just through physical actions, but internal ones as well. It changes one from the inside out, much like medication can. We take pills internally to manage our headaches or to regulate some bodily operation. We see the external effects through our ability to function pain free. Like medication, Christianity is most effective when taken internally.
That said, I must confess that I've been spending a lot of time being worried about whether or not I have enough information to "pass" as a Catholic. Will I say the right things? Will I do the actions correctly? I've admittedly avoided doing certain actions (in public) out of fear. And then I came across a quote in Magnificat Magazine:
"Truly humble people are centers of peace because they fear neither their own failure nor other's success. Let us pray for wisdom to judge as God judges: to look at our own & other's achievements from God's perspective."
Magnificat, February 2012, Vol. 13, No.12 Pg 121
What this says to me is that my fear is unimportant if I'm really seeking God. What will God see if I succeed or fail? Doesn't scripture say He looks at the heart? Why am I so worried about the judgement of those around me? Its God's judgement that matters, not theirs... Its the state of my heart that needs to change, not my actions. When my heart is changed, my actions will naturally follow. It seems that perhaps my fear (in this case) is better equated to an illness of pride that only an internal dose of humility can vanquish.