Christ my God, set Ivan’s heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame he may love You with all his heart, with all his mind, and with all his soul and with all his strength, and his neighbor as himself, so that by keeping Your commandments he may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.
Rose did it
Pray for your relationship with Christ, for its deepening, to him to show you what you can change in your spiritual life.
Assuming that you already follow a “basic spiritual life” with mass, cofession if necessary, pryer (daily ;)) and perhapy some spiritual reading, but I think you post hints that you do at leat some of these things already
Sometimes, a period of spiritual dryness is ours to have - to grow in the faith and remain faithful even in times of trouble.
Ivan, although our intentions may be good, we often lack the discipline to follow through with them. It might be helpful to make your own daily Rule of Life that you determine to follow - a Rule that you will adjust as your fidelity grows. Something along the lines of:
7 AM - wake up and a brief prayer of offering your whole day to God.
Noon - A Hail Mary and Our Father in honor of the Incarnation of the Lord.
7 PM - 15 minutes of Scripture reading, slowly and meditatively, asking the Holy Spirit’s guidance to comprehend a personal lesson for you.
10 PM - a brief prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of your day, and a brief examination of conscience to see in what way you may have failed in charity or personal virtue during the day.
Weekly Mass - at least - and monthly confession should be included in your personal Rule. Do not begin by taking on too much - especially as you have your classes and studies to do - but do make a serious effort to be faithful to what you set out for yourself. Also, when faced with the various temptations that will come your way, say a brief prayer, such as “Jesus, help me” or “Holy Spirit, guide me”. The main thing is not to give up prayer; a daily dose will do wonders.
I have a very simple suggestion. When you have a moments throughout your day start thinking about Jesus. Think about if were alive when he was here on earth and you were his friend, what would it have been like to walk with him?
Think about his mother. Think about his father Joseph. Think about how all these people swarmed to him and how he healed them, preached to them, loved them, and fed them.
Think then about how it must’ve felt to watch him be nailed to the cross. NAILED to the cross. How horrible it was to watch his mother watch him die.
Jesus could go through all that. You my friend can make it for more than one hour without sin.
Scripture really helps, many times the only thing that kept me from atheism was Christ, I know that seems redundant, but the beauty of Christ in Scripture and such made the idea of making that final turn from Christianity unbeariable.
I realise that’s a poor reasone, but I think Peter Kreeft once said “The God who loves stoops to conquour”
I’m starting Pope John Paul II’s Doctoral Disertation “Faith According to St. John of the Cross” and try to read the Bible more often
My name is not Ivan, that’s just a character from my favoriate book, “The Brothers Karamozov”, Ican was an atheist, who seemed to long to beleive in God, but coulden’t for existentalist(I suppose) doubts.
Something that I have found most helpful is Divine Mercy Devotion. I pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet (almost daily) with the first intention of “antonement for my miserable sinfulness.” This has led me to a greater understanding of God’s Mercy. I have also read the Diary of St. Faustina. Anyway, I am learning more about what mercy is, and I ask Our Lord to make me merciful like He is… Check out the Marian Fathers website and go to Divine Mercy for more info.
Ivan say the Jesus Prayer. It’s a simple Eastern Christian prayer that helps me when I’m stressed out.
It’s pretty simple and goes like this
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
It’s said many times by monks in monasteries to bring them closer to Christ. I have my own personal variation of it in my sig.
You could also learn the Liturgy of the Hours and the mysteries of the Rosary. Even just meditating on the mysteries is a great way to meditate on Our Lord. The Hours is also a good devotion, and it’s said everyday by Catholic and Orthodox priests.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you the grace you need. I find reading God’s word, the Bible, especially the New Testament, to help me feel close to Him
. Do you go to confession often? There is much grace given in the sacrament of Penance.
the classic advice, because it works, is frequent reception of the Sacraments, regular Mass participation, daily prayer, daily examination of conscience, and obedience to the commandments (all of them) and living in accord with the beatitudes, and performing corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
a very simple way to ramp up your prayer life: just talk to Christ, God, Holy Spirit, address him in whatever way you wish, at different points during the day. Give thanks for meals of course, and for other good things that happen during the day, in nature, or to you personally, or that you witness on TV, say. When something bad happens say a prayer, for the other person or yourself. Ask God for help before events and actions of the day–
Lord, this test is critical for passing this course, please Holy Spirit guide me with your knowledge.
Lord, those kids look so unhappy, please help them find You.
Lord, this is going to be a difficult meeting with my advisor, please be with me.
Lord, I really need this job, please help me in this interview.
Lord, I would really like to get to know this girl better, please be with me as our relationship grows.
Bring Him into all the actions, minor and major, of the day.
there are penitents who forsake sin, yet without forsaking their sinful affections; that is to say, they intend to sin no more, but it goes sorely against them to abstain from the pleasures of sin;—they formally renounce and forsake sinful acts, but they turn back many a fond lingering look to what they have left, like Lot’s wife as she fled from Sodom.
They are like a sick man who abstains from eating melon when the doctor says it would kill him, but who all the while longs for 21 it, talks about it, bargains when he may have it, would at least like just to sniff the perfume, and thinks those who are free to eat of it very fortunate. And so these weak cowardly penitents abstain awhile from sin, but reluctantly;—they would fain be able to sin without incurring damnation;—they talk with a lingering taste of their sinful deeds, and envy those who are yet indulging in the like.
Be sure, my daughter, that if you seek to lead a devout life, you must not merely forsake sin; but you must further cleanse your heart from all affections pertaining to sin; for, to say nothing 22 of the danger of a relapse, these wretched affections will perpetually enfeeble your mind, and clog it, so that you will be unable to be diligent, ready and frequent in good works, wherein nevertheless lies the very essence of all true devotion.
Does this make sense?
I, too, can identify with you-- I have had trouble with the question of the existence of God and with living a moral life. Know this: as long as you halfheartedly try to avoid sin and really wish you could have it and its pleasure, you will make little or no progress. (And, I’m a college sophomore now.)
It is good to be aware of one’s sins. This is the first step. The next step is to actively try to avoid the sin and the occasion of sin. Pray as if it all depended on God. If you can’t, right now, genuinely spurn your attachment to the sins which problem you, start wanting to be able to do so, and pray for God’s grace. Next, act as if everything depended on you. Avoid the sin and the occasion of sin.
Don’t be anxious or disheartened by falls. Jesus tells us never to be anxious. When you fall, pick yourself back up by confession and start again. Habits take much time to break, but they do break!
Oh and, no half measures. At first, one must always strive to avoid mortal sin-- we all must have priorities. But make the drive of your spiritual life to be like God, not to avoid mortal sin. Ground your life around prayer-- start small and build up to more.
If you want to know anything more specific, just ask me. I’d be happy to help. God bless.
I hope it helps. It helped me alot. I find that if I don’t incorporate conscious thoughts about Jesus / God into my daily life it becomes completely separate from my daily life. In other words I go to Church and set out to be a good Catholic. However when church is over I’ve sort of paid my dues and I stop thinking about it. Then it wouldn’t occur to me until after i had sinned that it was a sin at all. So here is what I did and it turned my life around.
Whenever I was driving and I would see a church I forced myself to say an Our Father out loud.
After about a week I felt like that wasn’t enough so I would then turn the radio off, pray the Our father and think about Jesus.
At this point I had myself trained to think about things and pray whenever I saw a Church. It became habit.
After that I started just keeping the radio off and thinking about Jesus in the car. Or saints or the church. So then the car became this place where I automatically thought about God. (Pavlovs response)
Then I started reading as you are doing. And I would contemplate those readings in the car and I found myself getting more and more fascinated and interested in the subjects where I wouldn’t have to struggle thinkign about them.
I started to catch myself sinning and becoming more aware because these subjects were on my mind all the time. At this point if I was to watch TV I tried to turn on EWTN or whatever.
After about a year my life had changed. It’s amazing really now that I look back on it. I just had to re-program myself.
One side note though. I am pretty sure the evil one didn’t appreciate what I was doing so I have been through some attacks. For instance I would be trying to think about God and horrible thoughts would jump into my head out of nowhere about sex and what not. When this happened I would say outloud or to myself depending on the circumstances “I choose Jesus.” and the temptations would go away. It has taken much time but the attacks have become farther and fewer between.
Anwyay I hope this helps you. Its hard to live on earth and be a good Catholic.