Could hardness of heart be given to one by God?

I have always felt no love for God my entire life. I was raised Catholic but left the Church at the age of 14 only to revert to it at age 31. I believe in everything the Catholic church teaches and that Jesus Christ is God almighty but my belief is only at an intellectual level it has yet to penetrate the brick wall that surrounds my heart.

Is it possible that God is testing me by giving me a hardness of heart in order to see whether I will remain faithful to him in the cold darkness of my cold hearted faith? Why would God not want me to be able to love Him and shout to the whole world that I love Him only for the reality to set in that I don’t love Him as I should.

The only experience I have had with the Lord speaking to my heart was when I was standing before a crucifix of Our Lord praying my morning prayers when I understood interiorly the Lord saying to me in words I could not hear… it was more an interior understanding that He was saying to me “I long for you” and after that I had a strong inspiration to go to Adoration (and I did). But other than this experience its been nothing but my feeling cold towards God and dry prayers that I feel are a bunch of babbling words.

I try praying the LOTH in order to have some form of a prayer life but its hard when I don’t feel love behind the words I speak to God in my prayers.

Does anyone else feel this way or have any spiritual advice to offer me? I’d appreciate any helpful replies. Thanks and have a blessed Sunday.

God bless

There are a number of saints who advised praying the stations of the cross. To do this you could go to church where there are 14 stations. However if your time dosen’t permit, you could get a pamphlet of the 14 stations, and just pray them from the pamphlet at home or somewhere else in private.

There is something very special about thinking on the sufferings of Jesus that moves the heart and makes one appreciate and love him.

You could also try reading from the New Testament the Last Supper, Garden, Trial, Crucifixion, for about 10 minutes at a time. But read these passages slowly and let your mind wonder over the words so that they touch you.

The sorrowful mysteries of the rosary are also good if prayed with some thought.

Sometimes just looking at a crucifix or picture in silence for a while will help to bring us closer.

May God bless and keep you. May God’s face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you peace.

It could be that your mind has been formed in strong opinion to keep you firm but you now realise that faith is nothing without love. To achieve this you must circumcise your heart.
King James Bible
And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
Pray for this, it will be given to you.

The Bible does speak of God hardening the heart of Pharaoh, but it was only after Pharaoh had refused to obey God, so Pharaoh’s heart was already hardened by his own stubbornness.

Romans chapter 1 (especially verse 24) indicates that people refused to obey God, so God let them follow their own desires.

So it seems that God does not initialize a hardening of the heart, but it begins with people refusing to obey God.

From what you have said, this DOES NOT seem to be the case with you. You seem to have a heart that believes and follows after God. Just because you don’t feel this on an emotional level, doesn’t mean your heart is hard towards God: I would say it’s just the opposite.

You had an interior experience and God spoke to you. Wow! That shows how much God loves you, and you have continued pursuing Him. This shows your love for Him.

If you need to experience more on an emotional level, ask God to give these emotions to you. But remember, that you are already showing your love and faithfulness to him. Keep going. I will pray for you.

See, here’s the thing: you DO love God. You wouldn’t be going to Adoration, praying, etc. if you didn’t. If you only had an intellectual acceptance of God, you would be a deist, not a Catholic. Keep praying, and one day that love that you already have will be made obvious to you.

hi,

here is a poem…
source: ewtn.com/library/HUMANITY/HNDHVN.HTM
THE HOUND OF HEAVEN
Francis Thompson

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat—and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet—
‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me’. end quote

i am silly-but what about when i sit and pray? in church-i get up and walk away, returning a few minutes later to the same seat-then on a good day-when the imagination is sane and the same event is as if the moment of appreciation, to enjoy, like the moment of that same morning’s rising sun-so to i remember me sitting there-as if a time travler returning to meet himself-i tell him, me: 'treat yourself as a child of whom you love…'then unravels time’s quandry-a ‘deliberate speed…’ stopping like a moment-to be caught by some thought and feeling and action-how divine love flows-unselfishly-i am happy in the sun shine…maybe that is a small moment of melting the hardness of heart, a pause to be caught by God’s Holy Spirit! tell God-incarnate—who has ears , listen-and thanks…i love Thee!

Feelings come and go, but faithfulness must be a constant in our love for God. Love of God is a choice we make by way of God’s grace and gift of faith. Read the story of Mother Theresa of Calcutta. She had many, many years of spiritual dryness, but remained faithful. Tell the Father what a great son He has and how grateful you are for the sacrificial gift offered by Jesus on our behalf. Tell the Father how you long to grow closer to His son. Ask the Lord to send the Holy Spirit to open the doors and windows of your entire being to the divine light that leads us home. You will be answered by spiritual growth and greater love for God.

God bless

Some people do experience God naturally in a way oriented toward the intellect and the will, but not so much the emotions. For example, the great Anglican writer Dorothy Sayers. She talks about that somewhere, but I’m afraid I can’t find it at the moment.

My point is that although many devotions aim at exciting the emotions as a way of getting the intellect and the will moving in the right direction, and that’s not wrong, it’s also not the only way to go. Sometimes the intellect and the will are more perceptive than the emotions are, and a sense of Jesus’ wonderful order and planning and poetry is stronger than feelings of being sad about His Passion. That’s not something to beat yourself up about; it’s not wrong. It’s just different.

I encourage you to keep your eyes open and poke around Church history. You will find every sort of person becoming a saint, and people having all different sorts of approaches to life – and God approaches different people differently. He made us and He knows us best. The way He calls you is the way He calls you, and He has His reasons for doing it that way.

If the things you understand with your intellect and the things you really do with your will are firmly tied to the reality of God, you’re not in danger of getting over-intellectual about belief.

I thank you all for your insightful replies. May God bless each and every one of you for your help.

My problem is not that I want an overly emotional relationship with God and am just seeking feelings and consolations from Him. When I speak to God in my prayers I feel like there is no love on my part towards God and it causes me to have a yo yo lapsed Catholic tendencies to the point that I start reading about other faiths and their practices and stop going to church and partaking of the Sacraments. I can sometimes go months without stepping foot in a Catholic church.

The dryness gets that bad because I feel I have a hypocritical dead faith and I just can’t get over this spiritual hump to stay on course in the Catholic faith. Then I start thinking about what is lacking in these other faith traditions and come back to the Catholic church. I have been in this back and forth cycle for about 3 or 4 years and it is very frustrating spiritually.

I have tried devotions like the Stations of the Cross and the Divine Mercy chaplet to help me draw nearer to Our Lord or I try to mentally visualize the gospels as I am reading them (Lectio Divina) but it doesn’t help.

Right now I am in a long lapsed phase where I am attending a non-denominational Church but still pray the rosary and Divine Mercy chaplet and read the lives of the Saints. I have absolutely no zeal for the Catholic faith and it is killing me inside.

Sorry for ranting and babbling but I am in a pretty rough spot in terms of living the faith.

God bless

If anyone else can advise me on how to grow in love for the Lord and have more of a zeal for the Catholic faith I would really appreciate it. Right now I am thinking about going to confession this Saturday and see where the Lord takes me from there!

Please keep me in your prayers.

God bless

Definitely go to Confession, and get your Penance done as soon as possible. I’d also try praying a Rosary on a regular basis and maybe watching Catholic-oriented T.V. shows like those on EWTN (don’t know what channel it is in your area but it’s normally on basic cable).
Praying for you as well.:signofcross:

Definitely go to confession. To be in a loving relationship requires commitment over time. So you must practice communicating with your Creator. God actually wants to have a loving relationship with you, but you have to be available for that relationship. That means purity of heart and mind.This relationship could be described as a conversation or a journey.It will develop and deepen as you go along.
At the moment you have a realisation of where the relationship falls short, that’s a good start.
Then start a prayer regime,there are many formulas you can adopt but daily Divine Office is a well worn path.(you can go online)
divineoffice.org/
The next thing is perseverance, it’s quite a hike the assent of Mt Carmel, so head down and keep on climbing.

Keep asking God to give you these things and over time you will grow and it will happen for you. '‘How much more will God give the Holy Spirit to those who ask.’ Keep pursuing Jesus.

All the other suggestions are good too. I’m praying for you.

This is interesting, but to sort things out it would get too personal.
Some things that I am left wondering:
For whom or what do you feel the love that you expect to feel in your relationship with God?
How is it that you know clearly that something is missing?
Is there some reason you had to protect your heart by building a wall around it?
Are you actually serving your neighbour? What we do to the least of our brothers and sisters, we do to Him.
If you do not attend mass, how is it that you would expect your love to grow? If there are issues, absence usually does not make the heart grow fonder. It sounds like God may be calling you back.
Because of their personal nature, these things may be better sorted within oneself through prayer, study and help from a spiritual advisor. But then maybe you need to get out there more. I don’t know.
People are praying for you; pray for us too.

To Jesus through Mary. She will take you to Her Son.

-Tim-

I have posted this from:nytimes.com/2014/01/28/opinion/brooks-alone-yet-not-alone.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

If you are a secular person curious about how believers experience their faith, you might start with Augustine’s famous passage “What do I love when I love my God,” and especially the way his experience is in the world but then mysteriously surpasses the world:

“It is not physical beauty nor temporal glory nor the brightness of light dear to earthly eyes, nor the sweet melodies of all kinds of songs, nor the gentle odor of flowers, and ointments and perfumes, nor manna or honey, nor limbs welcoming the embraces of the flesh; it is not these I love when I love my God. Yet there is a light I love, and a food, and a kind of embrace when I love my God — a light, voice, odor, food, embrace of my innerness, where my soul is floodlit by light which space cannot contain, where there is sound that time cannot seize, where there is a perfume which no breeze disperses, where there is a taste for food no amount of eating can lessen, and where there is a bond of union that no satiety can part. That is what I love when I love my God.”
Is that helpful?

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