Does God honor obedience out of obligation?


#1

This is something I’ve been struggling with for years. Whether due to some undiagnosed mental illness or just a personality quirk, my positive feelings have never been especially strong and I have a tendency toward feelings of entitlement and unreasonable anger, which lands me in confession quite a bit. While I do have weeks, especially around Holy Week and Easter, where I have an almost ecstatic devotion, most of the time it’s more like “I desire to do the things I’m supposed to as a Catholic.” I’ve never had a particularly strong devotion to the Blessed Mother, but I made a commitment to pray the rosary daily a few months back on the theory that it may eventually grow into a devotion and am even attempting the First Saturday devotion to that end. Most of my behavior to others is seen through a lens of obligation rather than love because the feelings are either not there or actively contrary to what I should be doing. My question is whether God honors that kind of devotion or whether it’s defective and what I am supposed to do? I grew up in a church that was very focused on one’s interior motivation and emotional love of God, and it’s left me a little neurotic.


#2

You know, Jesus Himself was none too thrilled about the whole “getting crucified to save people’s souls” thing. He was so not into the idea that the emotional turmoil caused Him to sweat blood, and beg God not to make Him do it. Nobody holds it against Him, though: if anything, His lack of enthusiasm made His sacrifice all the more profound.

You don’t grow in holiness by doing what comes naturally. That you persevere in spite of emotional dryness is itself an indicator of great virtue - wish I had that strength. You only truly fail when you stop trying.


#3

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