Are You A Lukewarm Catholic? You Better Read This!


“I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Rv 3:15-16)

For the majority of my life, I was a lukewarm Catholic. I went to Mass each Sunday, received Holy Communion and even went to Confession a few times each year. What’s interesting is that I thought I was being a good Catholic. My attitude at the time – “Hey, I go to Mass each week…what more do you want?”

My problem was that I…

1. Only prayed when I needed something.
2. Repeatedly committed many serious sins even though I knew they were wrong.
3. Didn’t care about serving others, just myself.
4. Did not read the Bible or any spiritual books.
5. Didn’t feel the need to learn about my Catholic Faith.
6. Never spoke about my Faith to anyone…(c’mon, Catholics don’t evangelize!)
7. Looked down on other Catholics who didn’t attend Mass.

But most of all, my most pathetic quality as a Catholic was that I just didn’t care about my Faith…AT ALL!

Fortunately, I am still alive and have not yet been judged by the Lord. Furthermore, I now do care about my Faith, but I need to be careful each day that I continue to care! When I look at Our Lord’s words about the lukewarm (in the Book of Revelation), I cringe because I know that some people will not take them seriously. If you’re a lukewarm Catholic, please listen to what Jesus is saying. You do not want to hear these words on your judgment day (which could come at any time). I encourage you instead to accept His offer, which appears a few verses later. It is something you’ll never regret!

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne.” (Rv 3:20-21)

This entry was posted in Catholic Life, Catholicism, Christian Living, judgment, lukewarm. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Are You A Lukewarm Catholic? You Better Read This!

  1. Larry says:

    Oh no, are you really going to go down the “I was a lukewarm Catholic” road? I beg you not to.

    I cringe when I see articles or TV shows where someone describes himself as having been a lukewarm Catholic. It’s a warning bell that a lecture is coming about how “I used to ‘only’ do this, and this, and that…”
    As if whatever you did before… and by inference, whatever I’m doing now… is just insufficient. Oh, but you’re not judging, you say? Just wanting to warn me of… well, I’m not really sure what? Mmm-hmm. Sure.

    Curiously, these lectures never seem to come from the clergy. You know, the people that I’m really obligated to listen to. It’s only the self-appointed “lay apostolate” folks (mostly, converts to Catholicism who won’t shake off all of their Protestant habits… or grads of the new trendy Catholic colleges favored by EWTN) who pepper their speech with coded buzzwords like “I used to be lukewarm” or “I’m on fire for the Lord” or about their “conversion experience”.

    I really don’t care how “lukewarm” or “on fire” anyone is. You shouldn’t either. It’s no one’s business. For myself, I do what I can. Sometimes I do more, and sometimes I do less. With no regrets. I guess I wish I could learn more about
    the actual faith, but since the clergy continues to dwindle away, that leaves a vacuum that the “on fire” folks have swarmed into. And that just turns me off because a lot of what they have to say, does not come from an authentic Catholic mindset.

    I hope there is something useful in this rant, but I’m not sure.

    • Gary Zimak says:

      Hi Larry – Thanks for your comments, but I don’t really understand your angry tone. The Catholic Church clearly teaches that all of us (laity and clergy) are called to evangelize. As Catholics, we are called to share in Christ’s prophetic ministry. This means that we are expected to proclaim the truth about the faith. If you read my blog closely, you’ll see that it the message is coming from the Lord and not from me. I’m just calling attention to His words and saying, “don’t be as stupid as I was for most of my life”. Being lukewarm is no fun and will not lead to a healthy relationship with Christ…I KNOW! You say that you have “no regrets”, but you also say “I wish I could learn more about the actual faith”. It sounds like a regret to me. I would encourage you to take that step and learn more about the Catholic Faith, especially during this Year of Faith as declared by the Holy Father. I made that decision several years ago and it was the best move I’ve ever made. Each day I continue to learn a little bit more and will hopefully do that until I die.

      God Bless,

  2. It took me most of my life to learn we must be constantly mindful of God ,and mindful of what He expects of us ..too many times we are too busy with life and tend to back burner our Religion and do the minimum ,like attend mass on Sunday,go to confession once in a while my case it took great loss of family.finances,and chronic illness to re examine my life and realize how important God is and should have been ..and that Life is fleeting with all Earthly pleasures and accomplishments..all that really matters is God and the next Life which is Eternal

    • Gary Zimak says:

      Great point, Belita. In my case, it was an illness that finally caused me to take my Catholic Faith seriously. The Lord always knows how to hit us “where it hurts” when He wants to get our attention!

      God Bless,

  3. Larry says:

    You have missed my point.

    If I am “angry” (I’m really not) about anything, it’s your basic premise. I see it time and again on the internet and from lay people who aspire to higher levels of teaching responsiblity in the church:

    “I was a lukewarm Catholic. I went to Mass each Sunday, received Holy Communion and even went to Confession a few times each year. What?s interesting is that I thought I was being a good Catholic.”

    I disagree with your self-assessment. What it says (“I was a lukewarm Catholic”) and what it doesn’t say (“if you are doing what I used to do, then you are a lukewarm Catholic too and you should heed my warning”).

    Everyone has a role to play. For most, their role is attending church on Sunday and supporting their parish. You say you used to “Look down on other Catholics who didn?t attend Mass.”… now you’ve moved on to a higher level of looking down on those who do in fact attend Mass. What purpose does that serve?

    • Gary Zimak says:

      Larry – I do understand your point, but unfortunately, it’s not in line with Catholic teaching. You refer to the message of those who evangelize as not coming from a “Catholic mindset”, but it’s actually YOUR position that is not a Catholic of a Catholic mindset. Here are some quotes direct from approved Vatican documents about the duty of the laity to spread the “Good News”:

      Since, like all the faithful, lay Christians are entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, they have the right and duty, individually or grouped in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth. This duty is the more pressing when it is only through them that men can hear the Gospel and know Christ. Their activity in ecclesial communities is so necessary that, for the most part, the apostolate of the pastors cannot be fully effective without it. (Lumen Gentium, 33)

      Lay people also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, “that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life.” For lay people, “this evangelization . . . acquires a specific property and peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world.” This witness of life, however, is not the sole element in the apostolate; the true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 905)

      Now that I’ve presented not my opinion, but the official teaching of the Church on the role of the laity, I invite you to offer official Church documents that back up your position. Unfortunately, you’ll be unable to do so because the Catholic Church does not agree with your belief that we should not be sharing the true teachings of the Church with others.

      You’ve also the fact (as I pointed out in the previous comment) that I was simply calling attention to the words of Christ (about lukewarmness) and urging people to take them seriously. You’re so focusing on the notion that lay people shouldn’t be preaching that you’re overlooking Christ’s words (which I find to be VERY scary!) Finally, I’d ask you to kindly refrain from judging my motives. I’ve given my full life to spreading the Gospel message and your insinuations are not only un-Christian, but they’re wrong. I do what do because I care about the salvation of ALL of my brothers and sisters in Christ and not because I’m “looking down on those who in fact attend Mass”. As for your question of what purpose does that serve…

      it just may keep someone’s butt out of hell which is a VERY important purpose!


  4. Larry says:

    You’re not focusing on my main point, which is your desire to identify your former self as lukewarm. When “all” you did was go to mass on Sunday, you looked down on those who didn’t (your words). Now that you’re aspiring to do more, you back at your old self (and by inference, others who are currently at that same level of involvement) as lukewarm, unworthy, etc. It’s judgmental and it’s inappropriate.

    I’ve made this point three different ways so I’ll not reply further.

    • Gary Zimak says:

      I understand your point, Larry, but it’s an erroneous one and certainly not rooted in Catholic teaching. Unfortunately, you’re not willing to provide any examples of official Catholic teaching to substantiate your opinion. Without that authoritative teaching, my friend, your personal opinion on Catholicism is just that…your opinion.

      As for being judgmental, your comments against Catholic Evangelists were severely judgmental (“Oh, but you?re not judging, you say? Just wanting to warn me of? well, I?m not really sure what? Mmm-hmm. Sure.”). My brother, how do you know what is in my mind or anyone else’s mind? On the other hand, nowhere did I ever accuse you of being lukewarm. Someone (I don’t know who, nor do I care) is going to read my post, come to the conclusion that he could do better and make changes in his life. That’s why I wrote this and why I do what I do in service of the Lord and His Church.

      I agree that further replies are unnecessary, but I do thank you for the debate. I’ll keep you in my prayers and ask that you’d pray for me as well.


  5. Thomas says:

    Gary, I must agree with you. Coming from someone who was not catholic at all growing up, I was raised Presbyterian and entered into the post modern beliefs, i.e. Atheism. Which I was atheist for a large portion of my life and essentially you could say an evangelist for atheism.

    My mind was changed after realizing the notion of an argument from a very goo friend and priest, father Jonas shell at at. Peters parish in Steubenville, OH. Jonas and I were fellow high school graduates, and when we both entered college we took separate paths. He entered into foreign language studies and eventually went into the seminary and I entered into philosophy and existential studies.

    The point I am trying to make is that all the arguing with anyone I had over the years and especially about the lukewarm argument is that, life is a series of cold and hot, even luke warm. How we begin to understand truth is by carrying up our crosses with Christ. It is not in the argument, but in the love that is resonated from the argument.

    And like Gary was saying to Larry, Gary does not wish this upon Larry, if you a strong belief in god, you must realize that your conformity to his truth is what sets you free of any argument. Or like chesterton would say, and I’ll paraphrase, “the reason why I hate arguments is because it ruins the conversation.” Is true, god did not intend anyone to argue over his teachings, but we are freely allowed to do so, and it is us who are consumed with our own ideas on right and wrong, that we dessert Christ for our own intentions, and Larry, we are all guilty of this . That is what Luke warm is. And yes, I am a catholic convert from zealous atheism. May god bless you and please, both of you. I will pray for both of you.

    Peace in Christ,

  6. Michelle says:

    I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this Gary.

    It is something I needed to hear and has given me hope that I might one day find a way out of my own state of lukewarmness. I believe I may also be suffering from spiritual dryness and the combination has recently been the cause of much anxiety.

    Your prayers and any practical advice you can offer will always be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you again.

  7. Greg says:

    Great article! Does being lukewarm include going to Sunday Mass and holiday Masses out of habit and out of routine? You follow along, sit on the pew, but you do not really know why you are REALLY at Mass? The Mass is not meaningful. It is simply a habit of routine. I think lukewarm includes this phenomenon too. I wonder how many parishioners who attend confessions and Sunday Mass and holiday Masses just go out of routine habit in a careless lifeless manner and out of obligation, but never worship meaningfully and with fervent desire to go? Being a true Catholic should be meaningful in that you WANT to go to Sunday Masses and confession. Not because you have to go to score points of approval.

  8. Charles says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post and the comments. Even though I’m a recent convert to Catholicism, from Protestantism, I can relate to every one the points you made. For years I was a lukewarm Christian, and it feels so good to be in a relationship with Christ and the church that He founded.
    God Bless

  9. Diana says:

    Thank you Gary for this post. I was a cradle Catholic that grew up in the church and only went because of habit and never integrated Jesus in my everyday life. He was just a fixture that barely existed on the periphery on my brain, until by the grace of God, the Lord really woke me up to the reality that Jesus must be at the center of everything, the forefront of everything we do. I love Jesus and His one, Holy, and Apostolic Catholic Church.

    Thank you! God Bless!!

Comments are closed.