Belief in God, but not love


#1

I’ve had a bit of a time with my friends lately. I really like their faith and relationship with God…I guess that’s what you call it.

I grew up with the idea that a loving God is something for those silly little protestants who don’t have the Pope and confession and the Eucharist. Catholics didn’t need love becuase we had the sacraments.

My friend is all about God’s love and he’s Catholic. And so are a couple other of my friends. I don’t get it. I really don’t. So much so that I declared last night that I know there is a God but I don’t believe in God’s love.

I don’t want to hurt my friend. I supposed if someone I cared about was being talked about rudely I’d be really hurt. I know and believe God exists. I believe in Heaven and Hell and sin. I believe in the Catholic Church’s teaching. Yet I can’t find it in me to love God or care if He does or not.

Maybe I’m stupid or stubborn or just an all over bad person. But to me God is happy when we follow rules, Mass, Adoration, etc. Which I do. I don’t see why love has to do with anything as long as I’m sincerely pursuing all the stuff I’m supposed to.


#2

And Jesus answered… To love the Lord your God with all your mind, with all you heart and with all your strength is the greatest commandment and the second is this, that you love your neighbor as yourself. (paraphrased from memory)

However, 1Cor 13— the entire thing should be read. It ends, “So faith, hope love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

In fact, read the entire new testament and the entire message is about love.

No one is a bad person for trying to be faithful to the rules. But it is inevitable that one who follows the rules with the intent to grow in holiness will be lead, one way or another, to love.


#3

I am Catholic and I can actually FEEL love from Jesus Christ…I have been Catholic for 15 years now and before that I really had no religion…But…recently, His Holy Spirit touched me, it’s very hard to describe but I actually love Jesus and I feel his love, I think it has to do with that I started praying recently, before, I never prayed, I became Catholic but didn’t pray…I put His picture up in my house and I see Him watching me all day…It’s a great feeling to be in His care…
Pray , really pray…look at Him and pour your heart out to Him…His spirit will touch you…:slight_smile:


#4

hasn’t happened yet and i’ve been a deeply practicing catholic for atleast ten years. Tried that whole pour out your heart junk. Does nothing for me.


#5

Maybe your not opening yourself to Him. I didn’t feel His love for about 14 years until I changed my attitude…I had a very closed, poor attitude to Him, when I started reading the Bible, my heart was opened to Him…:slight_smile:


#6

All these posts so I thought I better clarify that for me, love has nothing to do with feelings at all.


#7

purplesunshine,
I know exactly what you’re talking about; I was raised with a similar view of God. ‘Love’ meant obedience and duty, nothing more, and the idea that anyone could sense God’s loving presence was totally foreign to my particular '50’s Catholic upbringing. It only happened to saints, not regular people. All I can tell you is that God actually woos us. Several times in the Old Testament, God says, “I will draw them with human bands of love.” Maybe it hasn’t happened to you because you’re not open to it or wouldn’t trust it if it did happen. God won’t force Himself on us; He works within the framework of our individual faith, our fears and desires and ideosyncracies. If you’re comfortable where you are, He’ll work with that. If you want more, ask. Have a good heart-to-heart talk, tell Him what you’re thinking about all this. If you want to be more open, ask for that. He knows already, but just the act of talking intimately with God as you would to a friend or father helps to sensitize you to His presence. That’s how it started for me, anyway. I started coming home every day from work, plopping down on the couch and talking to Jesus as though He were sitting right there. About anything, including my doubts, my annoyances, my joys.


#8

You’re absolutely right – love is an action, not a feeling. All those things you mentioned that you do, going to Mass or Adoration, even following the rules, are ways you show your love for God. All the things he does for you are the way he shows his love for you. But I think you have to consider your attitude when you do these things too. Is it out of a sense of duty? a fear of retribution? because it’s expected? or because you really want to?

You said

I know there is a God but I don’t believe in God’s love

That’s an oxymoron. You can’t believe in one without the other because God Is Love. He doesn’t just love us, he is the act of love itself.

Many years ago I didn’t really believe in God’s love either. Eventually I realized that it was because I didn’t have a good father figure in real life, so I just couldn’t relate to God as a loving father. Not saying it’s the same for you, just throwing it out there for consideration.:slight_smile:


#9

Hi, we can’t separate God and God’s love because He is love :slight_smile:

it’s very much a Catholic concept! It was around way before Protestantism came along :smiley:

pretty much all the Saints wrote and spoke about God’s love…

I believe that God wants us to go to Mass, etc, out of love for Him, not just out of obligation. Of course, if you do it simply out of obligation, He is pleased too. But it’s more perfect when it’s out of love.

Have you ever read St Faustina’s “Divine Mercy in My Soul”?

You said that you grew up thinking that we don’t need God’s love cause we have the Sacraments… but the Sacraments are the perfect expression of His love. They come from His love. Think of what the Eucharist is… it’s Jesus giving Himself to us. It’s us coming into union with Jesus. That is love :slight_smile:

I think sometimes it’s hard for us to believe in God’s love because there’s something in us that’s blocking us from it… and I don’t mean sin, necessarily… but maybe something like distrust… St Augustine wrote that there’s a place in the human heart that only God can fill. We were made for Him. He loves us infinitely and unconditionally, and that does matter, because deep inside we all long for that sort of love.

All the Sacraments, all the Commandments, the rules, the Church teachings, they’re all based in God’s love.

Maybe you could think about why it is difficult for you to believe in His love, and perhaps pray about this too :slight_smile: sure you can be a Catholic just following the rules, but that’s like doing the minimum in a way… what sets the Saints apart is their love for God. Try to think about how much God WANTS us to know His love for us. As Mother Teresa said…

“when you look at the crucifix, you see how much Jesus loved you then. When you look at the Eucharist, you see how much He loves you now”

God bless


#10

that’s beautiful :slight_smile:

it’s true that love is a choice and not a feeling… and it’s possible (and good) to love God even when we don’t feel any love for Him at all. But when we do, that’s really encouraging and it can really bring us closer to God and encourage us …sometimes when I feel far from God, I just think of those times when I felt near to Him, and that encourages me to keep going.

God bless


#11

It’s not a matter of being stupid or stubborn-it’s a matter of understanding our faith. What would be the point of existence if love is not at the foundation of existence? What else would anyone want to live eternally for? This is the essence of Catholic teaching and of the New Covenant. God is happy when man loves.The only way we can truly satisfy God’s rules is when we love as He wants us to-as He does. This is why sin is always an act against love in some way.

**“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: " ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matt 22:36-40

Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Rom13:10

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.1 John 4:8
**


#12

Some philosophical questions to ponder:

  1. As a child of parents, is this the same way a child should feel towards them?
  2. As a parent, is this the same way one would expect a child to feel towards them or, for that matter, how a parent should feel towards their children?
  3. Is God our father and are we His children (Our Father who art in Heaven, etc…)?
  4. Are we to honor our father and mother (4th commandment)?
  5. Is “honor” simply a cold word denoting obedience or does that mean love also?
  6. When “pursuing all the stuff you’re supposed to”, are you pursuing that only from an intellectual point of view? Is maybe your heart directing your “obedience” as well?
  7. What is love? What is it not?

In Jn 14:15 Jesus says, **“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” **Are you keeping his commandments (sincerely pursuing all the stuff…), then, because you love him, or only just because…?

In Jn 14:21 Jesus says, “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

In Jn 14:23 Jesus says, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”

In Jn 15:12 Jesus says, “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.” So I ask this question: if we are told by Jesus to love one another, does that mean we are not to love God?

Finally, ask yourself again “what is love” and really ponder what that means and really ponder why you “pursue all the stuff you’re supposed to”. Perhaps you will find deep down inside that you really DO love God with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul.

The Holy Spirit will guide you to the answer if you let Him. Listen in the quiet of Adoration to the small, whispering sound (1 Kgs 19:12). Hear for the love He has for you as He responds to the love you have for Him.


#13

I believe in the Catholic Church’s teaching. Yet I can’t find it in me to love God or care if He does or not.

That is like saying you love God but you kill your brother.

The Death of Jesus Christ is the greatest proof of God’s Love and Mercy. If you cannot accept it, neither will you be satisfied with any other proof.


#14

Sounds to like you’re doing okay, PurpleSunshine. It’s your way of loving. In fact, you may be way ahead of the rest of us who need a lot of religious trinkets and other stimulation in order to FEEL like we’re loving and being loved. Your path may very well be more sublime than ours.

Hang in there.

~ Frank


#15

Love is an act of the will. Sometimes you feel the love sometimes you don’t…I can identity where you are at I was there for many years. But the more I learn about God ie studying the catechism, reading the psalms the more I want to get to know Him and the more affection and gratitude and awe I feel.


#16

Perhaps you are someone to whom much has been given, and you’ve not had opportunity yet to sacrifice. Just like the rich-man who asked Jesus, maybe you cannot yet comprehend what is being asked of you for the reward you seek.


#17

uhhh…yeah…that’s defiantly not it


#18

Well then, if you don’t believe in Gods Love, then you don’t comprehend (accept?) Christ sacrificing himself on the cross for us; and I feel very sad for you. It was he that said, '“There is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend".


#19

. . . and 1 Corinthians:

1 If I speak in human and angelic tongues 2 but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
2
And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.
3
If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.


#20

Why do you obey God if not out of love? Obedience and loyalty only get you so far, there has to be a point when something deeper takes root and makes gives you a real reason to follow God.

I know that a lot of people are responding with the theological answers about God being love and whatnot, but I know that those don’t help a person in you situation. I guess my first question is, do you want to love God? Because if you don’t, this whole thread is arbitrary–you’ll insist it’s not part of the faith, we’ll insist it is, and it’ll be over. But if you want the relationship with your Daddy that you say your friends have, if you long for rest and comfort in Jesus’ arms, I can make a few suggestions that worked for me. As a girl, it was a bit different for me (we’re a bit more sentimental about that whole “in His arms” thing), but the general concept should apply to all, I think.

1.) Acknowledge your need for God’s love. Acknowledge that the Bible makes love for Christ a stipulation of Christianity and that it is what God made you for.

2.) A basic building block in human love is trust. We may be attracted to a person at first, but it takes time to build true love. Don’t try pouring your whole heart and soul out the first time and expecting things to be all good, since you say that hasn’t worked for you previously. Just try, at least once a day, to take a struggle you are facing or something stressful in your life and offering it up as a sacrifice to God. Let Him know how you feel about it, ask Him to help you with it, and then trust that He will. Thank him in your prayers that night and grow in gratitude to God.

3.) This gratitude and trust can help you begin a conditional love of God–by no means perfect, but a start. (None of us can love God as He deserves anyway).

4.) Add into your daily prayers time to meditate on the nature of God. As you grow to understand how profound and good he is (and I mean truly understand, not just believe), you will realize that He alone is worthy of praise and worship. He alone is good, and all good comes through Him. As this grows in your heart, and unconditional love of God, based on who He is, will begin to take root in your heart.

5.) Try telling God at least once a day that you love and trust Him. It helps, I promise. Even if you aren’t sincere, but you are trying to be, I think God will understand.

6.) Each time you do something in obedience of God, try to remind yourself that you are doing it not because you have to do it to go to heaven, but because you want to, because it’s what God deserves, because he loves you and you Him. Once again, even if it’s not true yet, it will be.

7.) When you go to adoration, I’m curious as to what you do now. Anyway, in the future, quiet every thought in your head. Breathe evenly and focus on Who is with you. Gradually, picture yourself being “held” by God. You can picture this several ways…it doesn’t matter so long as it feels right. Ask God to come and actually hold you in this moment. And then listen. Allow yourself to hear Him whisper, “I love you, my child.” Hear Him and know what you are to Him–His baby, who he loves enough to create, die for, hold, guide, teach, and comfort. Tell Him what He is to you.

Ta-Da! The seven step plan for building a loving relationship with God!

I ask you to please sincerely try–if you doubt your abiity to love God, it won’t happen. But if you try, I don’t think God made anyone immune to His love. Even if it doesn’t work at first, keep the faith. God knows you’re trying.**


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